1 Day in London

A friend is coming to London this Monday and I am trying to come up with an interesting 1 day programme. She is into arts and seems to have been to every museum in London, so I had to pass on my initial idea of visiting the Tate Modern and V&A. It’s also freezing in London at the moment, so Street Art Trail in Shoreditch had to go too, although it would be something cool to do in summer.

We might do this exhibition at the National Gallery, looks interesting.

The problem with a Monday is that not much is on. I even checked meetups – nada. My Plan B is to pitch to my friend a trip around cool cinemas (or this link) and see Amour at Curzon Mayfair, Cloud Atlas at The Lounge or The Sessions at the Electric. Should be all good movies. Could be a cinematic day 🙂

I also have a Plan C which is to find some cool workshops in London (eg crafts or similar). This way we actually learn something while having fun and meeting people. No idea where to look for them, let me see…

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Friday Late: The Secret Life of Furniture @ V&A Museum

I must confess I’ve never been to Victoria & Albert Museum, although I’ve always wanted to (since they had that Russian Tzars Costumes exhibition). Forthcoming Friday Late: The Secret Life of Furniture (February 22) sounds too good to miss. ‘An evening of furniture design, making and memory’ starts @ V&A @ 6.30pm and most of the events are free (first come, first served). Makeshift Moderns (your own packing material furniture) and The Made in Brunel Pop up House (broken furniture recycling) workshops sound particularly interesting. Of course, there is much more, full details here

 

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To All Rebels Out There – Aaron Swartz’s Manifesto @ ICA

I kind of did not get news about Aaron Swartz and had no idea who he was, when he got on the news lately, and only recently had time to catch up on what it was all about (thanks, wikipedia). Very inspiring and very sad. Him and his cause reminded me of Julian Assange, of Occupy movements all over the world, of our generation’s fight to make things right, to change the status quo, to create a new order of things in line with our beliefs.

What Aaron did was no doubt controversial, but don’t we need people like this to restore the balance, to remind what’s important, to fight for our rights? He is the new generation’s voice of freedom, the new hero, the new rebel, and kudos to him for that. It’s sad and unfortunate that he was put under so much pressure by all the profit making institutions and watchdogs protecting their interests that he felt he had no choice but take his own life. Do they realise they created a martyr?

There will be a talk dedicated to Aaron’s 2008 Guerilla Open Access Manifesto in ICA, and it’s a must for all the rebels and activists and people with new way of thinking. ICA is walking distance from Charing Cross Station and so easy to get to, tickets are £5 ppn. See you there!

http://www.ica.org.uk/36476/Talks/ICA-Quickfire-Guerilla-Open-Access-Manifesto.html

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Afternoon Tea On The Cheap(ish)

I love afternoon tea. It’s nothing special – sandwiches, cakes and tea – yet somehow this British tradition is just so cool. I’ve tried a few places – Ritz must be my favourite for service and ambience, though it’s also one of the most expensive (£55 ppn!!) and let’s admit it, a bit obvious. Net-a-portea at Berkeley’s was fun, though also not cheap. And somehow there is never any availability at Dorchester’s, although I hear their tea is very good.

Having decided I no longer want to pay extortionate amounts for what is essentially cucumber sandwiches and scones, I have finally been tempted into booking afternoon tea offer on Travelzoo – afternoon tea at Waldorf for two for under £40.

Waldorf Hotel looks beautiful and classy, and we had Gok Wan sip tea at the table next to ours, however none of this could compensate for the poor service. Oh, Ritz! My expectations must have been too high.

Travelzoo were really great though – they checked how it all went and issued me with a discount voucher. With lower expectations and still not willing to pay a fortune for sandwiches and scones, I have booked another experience on Travelzoo, this time at Vertigo 42 http://www.travelzoo.com/uk/local-deals/London/Other/40876

Sounds good and if all goes bad, at least there is a view (pray for sun! :))

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Near Death Experiences and Exploring Death on St Valentine’s @ Wellcome Collection

Wellcome Collection is doing this great exhibition on death until end of February.

The event on February 7th looks very good. Here is a short info.

Neuropsychiatrist Dr Peter Fenwick will be giving a free tour of the Death exhibition next Thursday 7 February at 5pm. Dr Fenwick is an expert on Near Death Experiences and End of Life Experiences, and has published two books, ‘The Art of Dying: A journey to elsewhere’ and ‘The Truth in the Light’ an investigation of over 300 Near Death Experiences. There is no need to book (though spaces are limited). Just meet your guide beside the Information Desk on the ground floor.

Common, this is too good to miss. Another event – on February 14th, yes, St Valentine’s day, sounds more mysterious, yet very timely – what a better way to celebrate! Here is a snapshot of what’s coming.

Expert on the geographies of death in the tourism industry, Tony Johnston, will be giving a free tour of the Death exhibition Thursday, 14 February at 7pm. Tony is a lecturer at the University of Derby and has published on the consumption of death in the travel literature of Mark Twain and the more recent commodification of death in the countries of the former Yugoslavia. There is no need to book (though spaces are limited). Just meet your guide beside the Information Desk on the ground floor.

What is ‘geographies of death’ and ‘consumption of death’ exactly? There is only one way to find out… See you there!

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Hotels of London

I said it before. I’ll say it again. I love hotels. Other than the obvious cleanliness without effort and decent food at press of a button, hand lotions in the marble decorated toilets and swanky bars filled with mad men like looking people, there are also spacious, busy lobbies, live music when you are lucky, well mannered personnel and noise, the inimitable buzz, this unique and unforgettable feeling of happening, of adventure… Hotels are like portals to a parallel universe. 

I was at the Reunion Bar at Grosvenor today, nice place. We joked with the bar man about Hibiki which turned out to be a £18.50 a double shot whiskey from Japan. They let me try some, I had Chivas instead. But of course it’s the company that makes the place. It was a lot of fun because of that more than anything.

I haven’t been to many hotels in London, and I have no doubt there are many nice ones. My other favourite is the Mayfair hotel – their bar is other worldly, reminds me of Alice in Wonderland. Ritz is glitzy but a bit predictable. Langley is posh. They serve nice cocktails at the Trafalgar Square hotel and they are supposed to have a nice roof bar but I always somehow get there during winter. 

I of course judge by bars only. 

A tour around hotel bars is a must, especially in a city like London with so many historic, luxurious and cool hotels. So here you go, just like that, another 3 hour alternative experience for you, and fun at that.

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Celebrating End of The World @ The Last Supperclub

There is a more exciting party reason this year than traditional Xmas or New Year (like we need a reason to party 😉 ). It’s of course the End of the World Party on December 21st when Mayans predicted the world would end, or to be more precise, when they run out of what to write on, or just got bored. Whatever it was and whatever it will be, this has to be celebrated! You never know, there may be a sneaky asteroid en route to Earth… Gastronomy is of course our answer, and so this little gem, located in Shoreditch (where else), is our saviour. Chicken of Mass Destruction – I just have to taste it!! And just in case you need tips on surviving the end of the world, here are some. While at it, Seeking A Friend for the End of the World is a very good movie. Now you are all set.

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