Friday, 26 August 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different...

It’s Friday afternoon, and I’m counting down the minutes until I can make a run for it. The good news is, I am up to date with all my work. The bad news is, that means I am utterly bored – always dangerous territory when you have the internet at your fingertips. I have already bought a random magnetic window cleaning gadget off eBay and am struggling to resist the temptation of a new dress – with 10% off. Luckily I have recently discovered that I can access Twitter at work, but even that has its limitations – especially when your boss is sat behind you. There’s only so many times you can argue that you are doing “research” when in fact you are tweeting about your most recent purchase.
One of my favourite pastimes when my to-do list has shrunk to a minimum is to browse the Time Out website for a bit of inspiration. It’s my bible to London living, with listings for theatre and the arts through to eating, drinking and beyond. Him Indoors and I had agreed to go out last weekend so this time last week I caught up with what was happening around town. I was not disappointed. On the South Bank there was free theatre, exhibitions and a farmer’s market. At Tate Britain they were showcasing the work of photojournalist Don McCullin and the recently deceased Lucien Freud. And, if we fancied a bit of shopping mixed in with our culture, there was always Covent Garden and the nearby “Gallery of Relationships” exhibiting relics from past partnerships. In the end we settled for my old favourite the National Portrait Gallery. We saw “Glamour of the Gods” – an exhibition of portraits from the Golden Age of cinema – and the BP Portrait Award, which never fails to amaze me. Okay, so not all the styles float my boat, but the ability of some artists to capture an individual’s essence on a flat piece of canvas is incredible. We rounded off the afternoon with a visit to Ed’s Diner on Old Compton Street – tasty burgers all round washed down with a peanut butter and banana malt – heaven.
That’s what I love about London – there is plenty to choose from, and an awful lot of it is free. Okay, so it might be a little bit grubby around the edges but it has something for everyone, come rain or shine. I mean, where else can you check out our Kate’s wedding dress down at Buckingham Palace?
The diversity within London’s entertainment options spreads to the evenings too. So, can’t decide between a night at the pub or a bit of theatre? Last week I killed two birds with one stone with a spot of opera at the King’s Head in Angel. La Boheme had been brought bang up to date with references to chavs, Dalston and illegal immigration, and, not only did the theatre at the back of the pub make for an intimate operatic experience, part of the opera was actually performed around the bar. At one point I was stood right next to one of the sopranos as she chastised her hapless Tenor partner, pint of cider in hand. You can’t get much closer to the action than that.
This weekend I’m afraid I am going for quite a conventional Bank Holiday – namely a barbeque, or, if the weather doesn’t improve, an indoor picnic. But I know what once all my guests have left come Monday there is plenty to keep me entertained. Not only do I have the leftovers from last weekend, but there are still so many museums and galleries that I haven’t got round to seeing yet. Not to mention restaurants, bars, shows, tourist attractions, wildlife parks, shops...
So, my challenge to you all – if you are in London this Bank Holiday go out there and do something different. No matter what your interests I can guarantee there will be something in the capital that you have never seen or done before that tickles your fancy. You just need to look for it.
Go on. You know you want to...

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