Last week it was that momentarily, and uncharacteristically, took its finger off the pulse so that it could share a conversation-enhancing info nugget with you, the loving public. The factoid: London is 5th in the Champions League of Europe’s most expensive cities to live in.’s source for this information was a grotty old tramp clutching a can of warm Stella (a posh tramp, then) and ranting about the weather, the state of the nation and a lot of fekking numbers. You might know him by his more familiar name, the internet. Scabby old beast.

London was 5th. 5th in Europe. Got that? Well, it seems a lot can happen in week because clearly the foiled terrorist threat of exploding planes and Madonna adding yet ANOTHER London date to her enormous Confessions tour have contributed to this great city’s huge leap up into 1st place. 1st place in THE ENTIRE WORLD, allegedly!

Bankers, aside from being a humourous word to say whilst stretching the sides of your mouth (when you were a child), not only bank (tee-hee), they also study. UBS Bank have recently released a study of the costliest places to live in the world, and we came top. Hoorah, it’s finally happened, we’re the best at something! According to the study it is our rising rent costs that have sent us into the silly-money stratosphere. Yet oddly, we’re only the sixth highest city in terms of earnings (34th most hard working, unsurprisingly). We pay the most, we earn the 6th highest. You do the maths, if you can afford to buy a calculator.

What this study proves conclusively is that:
a) Londoners don’t have piles to cash to burn when it comes to trying to entertain themselves
b) Either UBS Bank is based on lies and fabrications, something that might seem unlikely considering they are in the business of numbers and cold hard facts, OR the original study we sourced was incorrect and you should never believe a single thing you read on the net.

With this in mind, now pay close attention because will now impart upon you some highly important and totally not made up information.

You think of England in the summer and you think of what? Ok, forgetting the obvious jokes about inconsistent weather, pale English skin and Morris Dancers, most people think of English summers as nothing but a constant deluge of festivals covering just about every aspect of our island-dwelling lives. Which are even better when they don’t cost anything.

This coming week you’ll be able to save your pennies for rent and Oyster card payments by watching aerial dancers accompanied by Palestinian jazz, hard-hitting ladies thwacking balls for fun and the fairly-new Glastonbury movie being shown where else but in….a tent. And all for FREE!!

From Thursday through to Sunday the heart of the city will be playing host to dancing, singing, theatre and art performances in the Trafalgar Square Festival. The festival continues on the aforementioned days until the 20th of August and in order to find out what is happening on which particular days see the link below.

If the sunshine is a summer event you’d rather miss then head for the Portobello Film Festival being shown at various locations around the area. Sunday showcases an entire day devoted to Sketches from Spain, short films concerning life in Espana. During the week the Halloween Society will be presenting short films about Pete Docherty, UNKLE and UK Grime, plus you’ll get opportunity to see the animated trailer for Bolex Brothers’ Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. With a title like, who can resist?! The festival continues on until August 22nd and is being held at the following venues: Westbourne Studios, Inn On The Green, Paradise By Way Of Kensal Green, Westbourne Grove Church and the Electric Cinema, Portobello Green Cinema Circus Tent.

On Sunday 13th a super-sized 30 acres of Gunnersbury Park (nearest tube – Acton Town and South Ealing) in West London will be home to the London Mela, a celebration of Asian culture. Mela, meaning ‘meet’ in Sanskrit, attracted over 50,000 people last year and will easily surpass that again in 2006. Its 10 zones will offer tabla player/DJ collaborations, Bhangra MCs, traditional and classical performances, a kids funfair, Pakistani pop idol Atif Aslam in concert, British Asian urban music presentation by Bobby and Nihal from Radio 1, stalls selling food and handicrafts, photography exhibitions and a dance troupe performing Bollywood Steps, a homage to Mumbai’s film industry.

Across town on the same day Finsbury Park will be singing out with the sounds of the Inner City Shakedown, on behalf of YESS – the Youth Entertainment Sound System. From 1pm until 8pm you will be able to witness some of the best unsigned youth acts and the “Sennheiser Sixty Second Spit-off Open Mic Challenge”. Intriguing, is it not?

For those who want to just amble rather than scramble, there’s an interesting event this week that could be just up your gully. England’s women take on the Indian ladies in a one-day international at Lord’s Cricket Ground, just a quick walk from St John’s Wood tube station (the only station on the tube map not to contain any of the letters from the word ‘mackerel’). The match begins on Monday at 11.30am promptly.

Enjoy your free week London.