Free London is in an awful funk this week. Not only did his toasty blanket covering of London Lite newspapers blow away during the night but the park bench where he’s sleeping has recently been invaded by Bulgarian migrant squirrels hellbent on nut-primed mischief. It certainly didn’t help that he found-then-downed an unlabelled bottle of mystery liquid last night either.
This annoying combination of events has put Free London in a terribly mood. It is no surprise, therefore, that even though the weather is now colder than a conman collecting for an orphanage, the warming dose of London-based activities you expect him to deliver on a weekly basis are unfortunately all located OUTDOORS. Bastard!
If you’re lucky enough to be under 10 years of age you’re not only way ahead of your peers by reading 020.com but also fully entitled to grin your little gnashers at the gates of Battersea Park on Saturday night and expect free entry to the fireworks display. However, if you’re childhood is a long-distant memory then you’ll either need to PAY a fiver to get in with your 10-year old kids OR start practicing your fence-jumping technique. For those of you with no inclination towards either, Free London, using great big crayons, draws your attention to the following:
Clapham Common – home to Durex-littered undergrowth and the ghost of BBQ-past – will be showing off its crackers and bangers at 7.30pm on Friday with, hopefully, the same firework expertise it had last year.
If Sowf Landan is a bit above your league, then East London is crying out for visitors (no thanks to Channel 4). On Sunday (5th) Victoria Park will be hosting a production of The Emperor & The Tiger between 7.30pm and 9pm. The park, which was laughably once thought to be the Regent’s Park of the east and even had its own Speaker’s Corner, will be showcasing a theatrical tale of Moghul Emperors, Wise Men and Tigers with pyrotechnical displays, dancers and drummers. Followed by, the bit that you’ve all been waiting for, fireworks! Huhu-hu-hu-hu, fire, huhu-hu-hu.
If you are actually interested in causing a few sparks or literally want to set the cat amongst the pigeons (must bring own cat), then get down to Trafalgar Square on Saturday (4th) for I Count, a demonstration organised by the Stop Climate Chaos campaign.
Comedians Rob Newman and Simon Amstell, actress Miranda Richardson, and general Scottish witchlike overlord, KT Tunstall, will be joining a load of people you’ve never heard of to speak out about climate change, global poverty and wildlife. Entertainment, films and music will also be provided, most likely, by the aforementioned artists.
Cockles warming yet?
Eager to step out of the shadow cast by its winner-of-everything-at-sports-day little brother, the Tate Modern, Tate Britain will try keeping the numbers-through-the-turnstiles from dwindling by thrusting the doors open longer this Friday. The cleverly-titled Late at Tate, a Thames-swelling festival of talks, exhibits and performances based around our lovely capital, includes London Calling: Iain Sinclair and Will Self in Conversation. This is obviously an opportunity for Iain Sinclair and Will Self to impart their opinions on the general public (for a change) whilst conveniently signing copies of a new book. Subterranean London, taking place from 7-8pm, is a chance for leading tube buff, Christian Wolmar, to get all excited about how amazing the underground system is and how unbelieveable it is that it was ever constructed in the first place. Ironically, seating is limited so it is quite possible you may have to stand. Tickets for both events are only available from the Rotunda Information Desk on the night from 6pm.
If, like Free London, you roared with laughter and rolled around with glee as poor Cameron kicked his dad’s Ferrari over a cliff in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off then the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run might well be just up your alley, so to speak. Destined to be filled with shivering faces, flat tires and engine failures, the idea is for over 500 Royal Automobile Club enthusiasts from around the globe to display equal parts stupidity and bravery by choosing this weekend as the weekend to travel between London and Brighton in an open-top car built before 1905 (rules stipulation).
This, the 110th anniversary of the ‘Locomotives on the Highway Act’, celebrates a time when the speed limit was more-than trippled to a Richard Hammond-wincing 14mph. This AND doing away with the perculiar requirement for vehicles to be preceded by a man on foot carrying a red flag.
On Saturday (4th) the traffic on Regent Street will be only slightly slower than normal when 100 of the cars involved in the Run will be demonstrating their grit between 11am to 3pm. The Run itself starts at a pre-Match of the Day Sunday time of 7.07am in Hyde Park when the 20mph-max vehicles speed off toward Brighton’s Madeira Drive, hoping to arrive some time before New Years Eve, 2007.
Getting cosy now?
Musically, and thankfully indoors, this week Free London will be headbanging to Airhammer – the Reverends of Horror Rock – as they don undertaker uniforms and give Tilt: Horror (at BAC) a right good tongue-lashing. En route Free London will also be stopping off at Queen Elizabeth Hall’s Front Room for some Commuter Jazz. From 5:15pm trombonist Michael Mwenso and his Quartet will be performing the jazz-funk-gospel-blues, or jafungosblu for short, that received them rave reviews at this year’s Cheltenham Jazz Festival.