Now that your local convenience stores have finally sold out of the small army’s-worth of explosives they stocked up with for bonfire night; and now that the local teenagers are no longer setting them off at the stroke of midnight every day SINCE bonfire night; and now that you’ve already missed the opportunity to “Oooh” and “Ahhh” and “You’re telling me we came all the way into central London for that? What a waste of time! It wasn’t MY idea, it was YOUR idea! I wanted to stay in and watch the footie. Why would I ever want to come into central London at night when I already work here during the day” at BOTH the Regent’s Street and Oxford Street Xmas lights being turned on, you’ll be looking for some free entertainment of the ‘more subdued and during the day, if possible’ variety.
Well, super scrawny hero, Free London, is back and, using dictionary.com’s ‘Word of the Day’ as inspiration, he has donned an ‘agrestic’ hero costume. Head-to-toe in rustic tweed and covered in a good few layers of cow shit, Free London wipes the rural yawn of winter dew from his wirey beard, then gleefully does his duty – piddles his pants until the flashing blue lights turn up. Oddly enough, he’s based himself on a Razorlight song this week. No, not in America. He’s In The City.
This week: Sax, clubs, and Crockatt Powell.
In 2005, the highly-intellectual readers of Time Out magazine voted the BBC Radio London Jazz Festival as London’s Best Music Festival of the year. Clearly, they were all too Doo-Dee-Da-Doo-Dop‘d to remember the Live8 concert, the Wireless Festival and the hugely popular Greek-Cypriot Christian Orthodox Rockadelic Walthamstow 2005 Meltdown. This year they might just be right though.
The event kicks off on Friday (10th) and although Free London is barred from the majority of these paying events, he will have the opportunity to heckle various other acts without first purchasing a ticket. The most jazz-jam-packed of these is at The Vortex Jazz Club during the launch party of Dalston’s new Gillett Square, the best [square] a man can get.
The aptly-named Andy Sheppard’s Dalston Saxophone Massive perform at 6pm along with soloists Tony Kofi and James Morton. The celebrations go on throughout the day and include poetry, dancing, a fanfare and a speech from some bald bloke called Ken. All followed by……NOOOOOOO, MORE ruddy fireworks!!
Question: what’s been going for 679 years, is 3 miles long and involves 6,000 participants? No, not the queue at your local Post Office, but the Lord Mayor’s Show.
If the brief talk in Dalston by the Dark Lord Livingstone isn’t quite enough Lordly behaviour to quench your thirst, then you will jump for joy at the prospect of big David Brewer, the current City of London Lord Mayor (whose interests are listed as music, golf, chocolate and paronomasia – the art of punary) showing off his lengthy parade on Saturday (11th).
Starting at 11am with a deafening 2-minute Armistice Day silence, followed noisly by a deafening aircraft flypast, the procession includes Hong Kong acrobats, 66 floats, fleets of customised Morris Minors and Rolls Royces and various all-singing, all-dancing, all-Ferris Buellering marching bands. There will also be free guided walking tours available in the St Paul’s area (setting off at 3pm from Number 1, Poultry, near Bank).
And, as if that wasn’t enough to spill your giblets, at 5pm, between the National Theatre and the Tate Modern you’ll be able to witness the finale with…..wait for it…..yes, MORE fricking fireworks!!! If the show can endure both The Black Death AND the Blitz, it must be worth watching.
If you fancy a bit of London short story action then head to the Crockatt & Powell near Waterloo at 7pm on Monday (13th) where Shaun Levin, Mark Piggott and editor Lane Ashfeldt read from the new, Borough-of-Islington-focused collection of tales entitled Down the Angel and Up Holloway. It is adviseable to suppress all urges to shout things like, “It’s no wonder they’re SHORT stories, just look at the subject matter”.
Once all this excitement boils up in the swelling pot of acidic pain known as your innards and you’ve consequently done a ‘Free London’ by vomitting at the side of a major thouroughfare followed by 3 days of shivering and erratic claims that it was all down to the ‘egg salad at Berlin Airport’ and not the excessive amount of German Weibebier you swilled down, then, and only then, will it be time for the comforting arm of Health & Happiness. Conveniently, that’s what you’ll find at The Social in Little Portland Street on Tuesday (14th). This monthly free event mixes good moonshine measures of bluegrass, blues and folk-pop.
As well as record-spinning and film-showing, there is a live line-up which includes: yet another young Dylan, Jason McNiff; seductive songstresses, The Bronsteins; and the somewhere-in-the-region-between-acoustic-Arcade-Fire-and-Broken-Social-Scene-yet-unfortunately-obsessed-with-the-non-agrestic-pro-maritime-names-of-Ocean-Colour-Scene-and-the-Lightouse-Family, Pacific Ocean Fire.