Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London



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30 April 2015

Listen to Jonathan Meades at the V&A

As grumpy old men go, your author is rather a fan of author, broadcaster, architecture critic and possessor of opinions Jonathan Meades, and so it is with some regret that it will be impossible to attend this evening's evening talk at the Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre at the V&A.

Meades will be speaking for an hour from 6.30pm, and the listing on the V&A website suggests he might touch on both his most recent work - a documentary on Brutalism - and on his forthcoming series on Mussolini’s architecture.

For more, see http://www.vam.ac.uk/whatson/event/4885/jonathan-meades-278859539/

^Picture © Laurence Sterne Trust staff used under a Creative Commons license^

29 April 2015

Go late at the Science Museum

Another chance to see the Science Museum without a million children shouting and pressing buttons this evening, as they host a special event exploring wearable technology.

The event offers the chance to explore Virtual Reality via a mobile virtual reality headset, experience a science game show and make a badge that doubles as a torch, as well as a host of other workshops and talks, and a silent disco.

For more, http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/plan_your_visit/lates.aspx

^Picture © Walter Lim used under a Creative Commons license^

28 April 2015

Buy books at Travelling Through...

It always takes your author much longer and others to get to new openings, and yesterday an opportunity finally arose for a browse at Travelling Through..., the new travel bookshop and café on Lower Marsh near Waterloo which opened in October 2014. Inside the tiny little shop sit shelves packed full of interesting books arranged by place, walls adorned with art and a pleasant little café and terrace downstairs.

It's a homely little place, run by the friendly former cultural heritage conservationist Emma Carmichael, and all readers are encouraged to visit on the first available opportunity (or at least their next pre-6pm commute through Waterloo). For anyone who needs to invent a reason to pop into such a beautiful bookshop, the downstairs gallery is now hosting a new free exhibition of photographs of prefab housing, taken by Elisabeth Blanchet (formerly of the late Prefab Museum in Catford). Go armed with pocket money and an empty book bag...

For more, see http://www.travellingthrough.co.uk/

27 April 2015

Find "The City Wing"

Your author generally tries to avoid the worst sorts of 'public art' installed as part of multi-million pound office block extensions, but it was a particularly fine evening last week when he stumbled across "The City Wing" in Threadneedle Walk, within the City of London, and the light was such to make it seem rather beautiful and well executed.

The ten-metre-tall bronze by Christopher Le Brun, was cast by Morris Singer Art Founders - who cast the four bronze lions in Trafalgar Square - and installed where Threadneedle Walk meets Old Broad Street in 2013.

For more, see http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMK658_The_City_Wing_Threadneedle_Walk_London_UK

26 April 2015

Watch the London Marathon

The 35th London Marathon cuts its way though the capital today, with nearly 40,000 people making their way along the 26.2 mile course from Blackheath to The Mall,

As usual, Tower Hill and St James' Park offer probably the best spectator opportunities, in what is - geographically at least - London's largest sporting event.

For more, see https://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/

25 April 2015

See HMS Defender in Greenwich

Though tickets for a free tour are now sold out (and thanks to Ian your author has one already), one of the Royal Navy's state-of-the-art Type 45 destroyers is in Greenwich for the week, and still looks pretty impressive from the shore. HMS Defender returned from her first deployment to the Middle East at the end of last year, and is in spending a weekend in the capital as part of a Navy PR offensive which also sees Royal Navy sailors in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College to meet the public.

Meanwhile, HMS Middleton will be moored off Royal Naval Reserve Unit HMS President near Blackfriars. The above picture is of a similar trip by HMS Illustrious in 2009.

For more, see http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2015/april/20/150420-hms-defender-and-hms-middleton-sail-into-london-and-open-to-visitors

24 April 2015

Go late at the Natural History Museum

Unbelievably, it's already the last Friday in April, which means a special late opening this evening at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Visitors can enjoy after hours access to the galleries after hours, with special evening discussions, the chance to talk to scientists in the North Hall Marine ‘Science Bar’, and food and drink in the Hintze Hall.

There's also obviously a chance to go to the special exhibitions, which currently include the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, one on butterflies and another on coral reefs.

For more, see http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/whats-on/programs/nhm/lates.html?date=24.04.2015

23 April 2015

Attend the London Original Print Fair

London's longest-running art fair kicks off today at the Royal Academy of Arts. Now in its its 29th year, the fair was started by Gordon Cooke in 1985 and is held each year in late April.

Tickets are a very reasonable £12, including catalogue, and Friends of the Royal Academy are free. The fair continues until Sunday, promising a chance for "budding collectors and seasoned print enthusiasts to engage with dealers and artists".

For more, see http://www.londonprintfair.com/

22 April 2015

Talk to Strangers at The Globe

Once a month, your author joins with London best socialisers Thinking Bob and others who he has never met before for an evening of conversation above a central London pub. Thought provoking questions are written in the preceding days and new conversations are fostered every half hour or so so things don't get too dull.

The result is almost always a great night out, where all are tested to talk about new things in a safe environment, and everyone is there for the same reason. That reason is that it is good to talk to new people for its own sake, as having conversations can help us learn how the world works. If you fancy it, do come along tonight from 7pm at The Globe, near Baker Street station.

For more, see http://www.meetup.com/talkingtostrangers/

21 April 2015

Visit London's smallest nature reserve

Barnsbury Wood in Islington is London's smallest nature reserve, covering less than an acre of land in what was once the garden of the Vicarage of nearby St Andrew's Church, which belonged to George Thornhill who was responsible for the building of the surrounding houses in the 1840s. The garden later became overgrown and was acquired for development by Islington Council in 1974, but this never happened and it was declared a nature reserve in the 1990s.

Fittingly for such a tiny nature reserve, Barnsbury Wood also has tiny opening hours, and if you want to see it you'll have to visit on Tuesdays between 2 and 4pm, or on Saturdays between July and September from 2 to 4pm. At other times it's reserved for tiny people, hosting activities for school children. If you find the time to venture inside today, you may have the chance to see long tailed tits, lesser stag beetles, common toads and sixteen spot ladybirds.

For more, see http://www.islington.gov.uk/services/parks-environment/parks/islington_nature_reserves/Pages/barnsbury.aspx

^Picture © Dudley Miles used under a Creative Commons license^

20 April 2015

Wander across the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground

A welcome 3,500 sq metres of open space within the Chelsea College of Art and Design on Millbank, the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground is situated right beside the Tate Britain and was reopened following a revamp in July 2008 by Anish Kapoor.

What was initially billed as a 'gallery without walls' now mainly seems to offer the chance to sit among the buildings of what was once the Royal Army Medical Corps, who used the area as their parade ground well before the Art College types got their hands on it.

For more, see http://www.arts.ac.uk/media/arts/colleges/chelsea/images/chelsea---business--innovation/chelsea---venue-hire/Rootstein-Hopkins-Parade-Ground-Chelsea-College-of-Arts.pdf

19 April 2015

Mark the centenary of Christ Church Erith Tower

Thanks to Ian, who informs us or a special tower open day at Christ Church Erith, to celebrate 100 years of the tower and a Heritage Lottery Funded Sharing Heritage project which sees volunteers and local bellringers explore the history of the tower, clock and bells.

The tower itself is an important local landmark, and was added in 1915 to a church consecrated 40 years earlier in 1874, thanks to the vicar at the time, Canon AW Boulden.

For more, see http://www.christchurcherith.org.uk/clerkofworks

^Picture © Stephen Craven used under a Creative Commons license^

18 April 2015

Sing Verdi's Requiem

Ever fancied being in a choir but don't have time to put in months of rehearsals to see if you like it? Well there's good news, as today the Dulwich Choral Society are inviting you to go through the whole process from first rehearsal to concert in just one day.

From 10.15am, Director Aidan Oliver will take you through all the necessary steps to prepare you for an early evening concert beginning at 5pm, in front of members of the public. You'll be joined by a pianist and professional soloists, with breaks for tea and coffee and enough time to seek out your own lunch when the time comes.

For more, see http://dulwichchoralsociety.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/DCS-Come-and-Sing-Verdi-Requiem.pdf

^Picture © Stephen Richards used under a Creative Commons license^

17 April 2015

Hear the Southbank Sinfonia at the London Handel Festival

The London Handel Festival is well under way, and last night your author attended an excellent Baroque concert with the Southbank Sinfonia at St John's Waterloo, warming up for tonight's performance at St George's, Hanover Square, as part of the Festival.

Attendees will hear Handel's Overture ‘Giustino’ Rebel's Les Caractères de la Dance Telemann's Concerto in G major for two flutes and bassoon, Rebel's Orchestral Suite No.3 and Pergolesi's Missa Romana within the very church that Handel attended.

For more, see http://www.london-handel-festival.com/

^Picture © Leon Benjamin used under a Creative Commons license^

16 April 2015

Learn about Thames swimming at the Prospect of Whitby

This evening, as part of the Footprints of London River Walks Festival author Caitlin Davies will talk about the history of Thames swimming to promote her new book "Downstream: a history and celebration of swimming the River Thames".

The river stretches more than 100 miles from your author's homeland in Gloucestershire to London, and out into the North Sea beyond, and upstream it is even still safe for a dip in places, whilst down in London it may seem unlikely today, but in days of less health and safety, there were beaches beside the Tower of London, and at Greenwich and Grays. Tickets are £12 inluding a glass of wine.

For more, see https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/downstream-a-history-and-celebration-of-swimming-the-river-thames-tickets-15641852201

^Picture © Paul Hudson used under a Creative Commons license^