*My London based gal-pal Roisin gives the low down on what’s happening in London every month!*
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”-Samuel Johnson.
I’m sure many of you have paid a visit to London before. If not, what the…?! Get on that, seriously. Anyway, if you have been you will mostly likely know the usual spots to visit but I’m here to give you a semi-insider track. This will be a monthly post so I get to explore for 30 days and cherry pick the best for your consideration!
Gigs: The gigs I would kill to go to this month are The Serpentine Sessions. Heading up the three separate gigs this year are Grizzly Bear on June 28th, Patti Smith on the 29th and Laura Marling on the 1st of July. Laura Marling is someone I’ve only discovered in the past few months but I am a confirmed addict of her music. Some might say she’s playing at being Joni Mitchell but I’ve got to say I think the girl has poetry at the core of her soul. If you haven’t already, check out ‘I Speak Because I Can’. For gigs that are slightly off the tourist radar, check out Timeout. There’s usually a good list of offerings from all over the city on here – too many for me to list, unfortunately!
Free: The Elephant Parade: The elephants are coming to town! If you’re in London over the next few weeks, you might notice some unusual inhabitants. 250 life-size elephants have popped up all over Central London, each painted by a different artist or celeb, each with their own little personalities, each one for sale. The campaign aims to highlight the plight of the Asian elephant and is run by www.elephantfamily.org.
The Scoop: The Scoop is a sunken amphitheater that hosts free outdoor events during the summer months. This month, you can catch London Fringe Festival, including a unique take on Macbeth as provided by The Pantaloons (2nd-6th June) and Choirs Week, during which the Gospel Singology, The Norton Rose Choir and the London Gay Men’s Chorus strut their vocal stuff.
Pub of the month: One of my favourite bars at the moment is Casa Blue, at the Bethnal Green end of Brick Lane. It’s full of what I can only describe as crap-think old clocks, faded postcards, frayed rugs, odd little lamps. Despite this, it all seems to gel together to create an eccentric-living-room-meets-London-trendy-bar vibe. But in a good way! Be warned – they only serve cocktails here but they’re reasonably priced (around the £5/6 range) and also come in large, fishbowl-type pitchers for sharing. Chill out here and watch Brick Lane life go past.
Art: Check out The Whitechapel Gallery for some more off the wall (pun alert!) art. Disclaimer – I am no art expert. The last time I was here was for the wrap party of The East End Film Festival, which I worked at, and one of the installations consisted of bales of hay. When pressed, the attendant (who was pretty cute by the way) said that while it couldn’t be denied that it was art, that didn’t necessarily mean it was any good. We established that we had both played with that particular brand of “art” as children. Some people eh? Artistic heretics! Anyway, on display in June is Rachel Harrison’s Conquest of the Useless. The exhibition combines a range of mediums including painting, sculpture, video and photography to create a spectacle loaded with cultural context, visual humour and the odd nod to Werner Herzog (it’s all in the name, apparently).
Noms: If, like me, you’re a little bit thrifty but still a dedicated foodie then a trip to Borough Market is an absolute must. It’s got the best artisan food London has to offer. I recommend the very tasty fish curry which I think I got from Furness Fish but I can’t remember, unfortunately. Have a wander around the myriad of stalls, lose yourself to the olfactory sense and follow your nose to the food of your dreams. And when you’ve found it and demolished it grab a cappuccino from Monmouth Coffee (just outside the market gates) and head for the grounds of Southwark Cathedral to soak up the rays and catch some crazy buskers doing their thang.