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The Time Out London blog

Your up-to-the-minute guide to London life, news, culture, pop-ups, openings and LOLs

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20 things Londoners say vs what they REALLY mean

We’ve all done it: said one thing out loud, while meaning something completely different. After all, if us Londoners went round being 100 percent honest all the time, Oxford Street would be a permanent gauntlet of fisticuffs. Here’s just a few of our favourite things that we say versus what we actually mean. If it helps, you can tell everyone that you’ve never used any of them. (Translation: ‘MY SECRET SHAME HAS BEEN UNVEILED!’) Duncan Dargie" data-width-class="" /> 1. Londoners say: ‘The bus takes longer but it’s a nice chance to relax.’ They actually mean: ‘I don’t have a Travelcard and I’m too broke for the tube.’ 2. Londoners say: ‘Oh, can’t complain really. You?’ Londoners mean: ‘I am two-to-three large glasses of wine away from complaining at enormous length about everything.’ 3. Londoners say: ‘Ah, sorry: it’s actually no standing on the left on escalators.’  Londoners mean: ‘GET OUT OF MY CITY, TOURIST SCUM.’ 4. Londoners say: ‘Yeah, it’s really nice.’ Londoners mean: ‘WHAT THE FUCK HAVE YOU DONE TO MY FRINGE?’   Jacques Lebleu" data-width-class="" />Jacques Lebleu" data-width-class="" type="image/jpeg" total="107074" loaded="107074" src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102797102/image.jpg" class="photo lazy inline"> © Jacques Lebleu         5. Londoners say: ‘I’m popping out

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Forget the Hogwarts Express! There's now a Harry Potter tube map

Harry Potter. Harry, frickin', Potter. That floppy-haired chap gets around, doesn't he?! You might have thought you'd seen the last of the Boy Who Lived back in 2011 when the last movie was released and you stayed seated in the cinema weeping through the credits and begging for more. But good old Potts still wafts in the air around us. In the past couple of months JK Rowling has announced both a new Potter stage play and a spin-off movie. She's even been looking for cast members with open auditions at the Excel Centre. And, even if you weren't the girl (aged between eight and 12) they were looking for, you can now still feel totally immersed in the Wizarding World of London, thanks to this new tube map made by Mashable.   The map features landmarks from the magical books rather than actual London stations – except Paddington and King's Cross because, as you know, Platform 9 3/4 is both an LDN hotspot and an essential Harry Potter tourist attraction. On the map, the Piccadilly line runs past the Ministry of Magic to Shell Cottage. Essex has been replaced by Azkaban on the Central line (we're not saying anything) and Diagon Alley is on the Victoria. And we don't know why Harry was always in such a rush to catch the Hogwarts Express every year – it turns out he could have got the Northern line from Privet Drive straight to Hogwarts. Find out more about all the Harry Potter malarky happening in London

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Unlock the secrets of the tube with these 3D maps

London genius Ian Visits has (once again!) got his hands on a cache of TfL documents to make a thrill run up the leg of any tube geek. It's no fewer than 120 three-dimensional diagrams of every sub-surface Underground station. And they're just sort of lovely. Above, for example, is Piccadilly Circus. Here's the labyrinthine reality of Bank: And here's a visual guide to London's favourite tube station, Westminster: The copyright of the images remains with TfL, but we dare say they'd make a pleasantly technical alternative to all that tube map merch. Just think of the nerdy wallpaper they could flog. See all the maps at ianvisits.co.uk or for a pocket-sized guide, try the StationMaster app.

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19 things to do in Clerkenwell before the world ends

When the world ends in fire and brimstone, not even the smart architects and design firms of Clerkenwell will be able to build you a way out. Good news: the design-laden region's piled high with some of the city's best food and drink spots, so it's a good place to be if you're still completing this list as the world ends. Ding ding.   1) Buy all the stationery at Present and Correct    Clip party. #tbt A photo posted by Present & Correct (@presentandcorrect) on Jul 16, 2015 at 1:31am PDT Take a break from tapping your keyboard and rekindle your love of stationery. Luckily the tiny and beautiful Present and Correct make this easy peasy. You'll find all the stationery you could ever need, and find yourself inventing excuses to take home everything else. The store also has an excellent Instagram feed.     2) Get a Brill-iant coffee   #fujifilm #xt1 #xf23mm | #brillcoffee in #exmouthmarket, #london | Does this guy pop in to buy a #cd? A photo posted by James Glover (@jrtg.uk) on Jan 22, 2015 at 6:23pm PST Head to Brill for coffee, music and bagels. Part music shop, part coffee shop, grab a coffee and soak up some folk sounds.     3) Clerkenwell Kitchen   #delicious #breakfast from #clerkenwellkitchen A photo posted by Anthony Trollope (@anthonytrollope) on Jul 25, 2014 at 3:16am PDT The super-eco, super-smug café for all your lunch needs.     4) Find the birdhouses   The bird hotel #birdhouse #stjamesclerkenwell #cl

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In pictures: Hoxton Hall reopens after £2 million revamp

Step aside Wilton's, there's a cool new music hall in east London. Okay, so it isn't actually new at all, it's 152 years old and has only been closed for two years, but Hoxton Hall has just had a £2 million lottery botox cash injection, which has paid for a gentle facelift, and now it's looking lovelier than ever.    <img id="f90dbab6-42b8-2e6e-199f-89187f5c073f" data-caption="" data-credit="© Rob Greig" data-width-class="100" type="image/jpeg" total="165704" loaded="165704" src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102798298/image.jpg" class="photo lazy inline"> © Rob Greig The small but beautiful saloon-style hall opened as a variety performance space in 1863 and was taken over by a Quaker charity when it lost its music hall licence in 1871. Most recently, the Grade II-listed venue functioned as a community space and centre for youth arts, hosting the occasional concert. It celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2013, before closing for a serious revamp.   <img id="88b00b35-7461-8ac3-11ce-20b176f4ddd6" data-caption="" data-credit="© Rob Greig" data-width-class="100" type="image/jpeg" total="202041" loaded="202041" src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102798322/image.jpg" class="photo lazy inline"> © Rob Greig The previously unusable balconies are now fully open (although avoid the top one if heights make you wobble), original details including the fireplaces, skylights and seating have been restore

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Quit your job, become a... dancer

  Ben Warbis, 27, freelance teacher and dancer explains how he got into dancing How did you get into dancing? ‘I have my big sister to thank. Apparently I liked to watch her ballet class when I was three, and by the time I was eight I’d gone crazy with ballet, tap and jazz. Then when I was 18, I moved to London to study dance at London Studio Centre, where I got my degree.’ What’s your average day like? ‘At the moment I’m teaching early dance classes, so I get up at 7am and have Weetabix, fruit and tea for breakfast. I take classes in the middle of the day, and if I get an hour between teaching and dancing I might see a friend or go to a coffee shop to apply for jobs. You’ve got to expose yourself a lot as a dancer and express your willingness to learn.’ Yikes! Ever find time to let your hair down? ‘Going out is something I do, but I don’t drink a lot. There’s never been a period in my life when I’ve crashed out after a bender. I have to maintain physical fitness, which is why I take ballet classes at Pineapple Studios or Dance Works. You have to keep your body ticking over.’ Sounds exhausting. How long do you reckon you can keep that up? ‘If you’re lucky and sensible with your body - warming up, cooling down - and you don’t get injured, then dancers can continue into their late forties. But that’s rare. A common age to wind down is 35. After that, a lot of dancers do physio, or they teach and choreograph. Personally, I’d like to run a big school.’ What’s the best t

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Your shout: Patrick Dalton - 'We've got so many treasures we use them as garden ornaments'

Our new column gives Londoners the chance to tell it like it is. This week, Patrick Dalton of blog Shit London urges us to rediscover this city's glories. As a born-and-bred Londoner (not to the sound of Bow Bells but directly under the flightpath to Heathrow, so, y'know: still noisy) I feel I have a certain right to ignore a lot of the wonders this city contains. A blasé attitude towards the capital’s cultural richness is a prerequisite to being a proper Londoner.  Consider this - opposite Embankment tube station stands an Egyptian obelisk that is more than 3,500 years old. That’s 1,500 years older than London. Only boat-tour operators pay it the slightest attention. In any other city (except maybe Cairo) this obelisk would be a big deal. But not here. We’ve casually plonked it beside a busy road and let decades of acid rain gently erode it. Why? Because we are London and we have such an embarrassing wealth of treasures that we can afford to use some of them as giant garden ornaments. So much human history was forged in this city and so many notable figures have passed through it that it’s possible to walk down a Soho street and see the house where John Logie Baird first demonstrated his reasonably popular invention called 'television', then just feet away a building where Mozart once lived. These people changed the world: without Baird we would have no way of arranging our furniture, and without Mozart we would be unable to make calls to the BT Infinity helpdesk. That on

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Five ways to give back to the London

London isn't all take, take, take, y'know. Here are five ways to give back to the city. FREECYCLE Someone out there would love your old floral-pattern sofa. You might even find a person desperate to rehome your collection of Happy Meal toys (except the Teenie Beanie Babies – you’re hanging on to them). Post your items on the Freecycle website, and a sofa-poor, shit-toy-loving queue will form at your door.   PAY IT FORWARD COFFEE Black Sheep Coffee on Charlotte Street runs an excellent ‘pay it forward’ scheme. Buy an extra cup of joe at a discounted rate, and it can then be claimed by a homeless person when they come to the shop.  THE GOOD GYM Ah, running: as boring and pointless as Kanye up a crane at Glasto. But not any more! The Good Gym is a scheme where you combine your run with helping a person or project. You could transform a community garden, repaint a wall or deliver a newspaper to an elderly person. The greater sense of purpose should spur you on when the tedious old health benefits no longer cut it.   FOODCYCLE Thousands of tons of surplus food are thrown away every year. FoodCycle takes some of it and cooks meals for vulnerable people such as the elderly, low-income families, the homeless and asylum-seekers. You can help by volunteering in one of the charity’s London projects.  TIME BANK Volunteering charity Time Bank matches inspirational mentors like you with people who might benefit from your support and advice. You could find yourself helping y

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Giant snails and dwarf porn: welcome to Deptford Market

© Chris Waywell You want London's best market? Head to SE8, says Alexi Duggins. But be warned: you won't find any artisanal parmesan or vintage jumpsuits here. Other stuff? Yeah, different matter. The first time I went to Deptford Market, a white stallholder was yelling 'Sod off, Mohammed!' at a Muslim passerby. Suddenly the air was filled with shouting. People stopped to stare. The two men stepped towards each other. And, as incandescent glares met over secondhand books, for a hot, tense moment, time itself seemed to stop. Until they pissed themselves laughing. 'See you later, Dave!' 'Cheers, Mohammed!' Deptford Market doesn't play by the rules. To be honest, I'm not sure it even knows that there are rules. The bric-a-brac pitches of Douglas Way are less stalls than old stuff fly-tipped on to the pavement. At local discount shop El Cheap 'Ou (motto: 'Love you can afford'), there are packs of LED lights mixed in with the cheese ravioli. There are gigantic African land snails being sold by butchers rather than pet shops. Once I nearly bought a beautiful pair of green curtains. Until a dog started rolling around on them while the stallholder chucked him greasy sausages. But the stuff! It's the sublime and the fucked, all jumbled up then thrown to the ground and priced according to the vendor's mood. There are beautiful, azure Singer sewing-machines next to heaps of loo seats. Charming old leather suitcases propped against knackered dishwashers. Antique clocks and barome

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You can now virtually retrace your every step through Google Maps' Your Timeline

Whether your memory is a bit hazy on where exactly that bar was on Saturday night or you've dropped your Oyster card and need to retrace your steps, you can now stalk your every move through a new Google Maps feature called Your Timeline. It's both creepy and potentially kind of handy. The feature is currently being rolled out for Android users and on desktop. Android-users will find Your Timeline on the side menu in Google Maps, under 'my places'. If you're using it on desktop, click here to stalk yourself silly. If you've opted in to share your location history with Google, you'll be able to view your movements by date, month, year or your ENTIRE LIFE (at least, for as long as Google has been quietly tracking it).    If you're using Google Photos, your geotagged pics will also show up on Your Timeline to add another dimension of creepiness or harmless nostalgia, depending on your viewpoint. It also shows your 'most visited' places, so you can find out whether you really do spend more time in the pub than anywhere else. If this is all sounding bit 1984 to you, it's worth noting that Your Timeline isn't public, so only you can see it. Well, apart from the folks at Google. But then, they know everything already, don't they? Now if you'll excuse us, we're off to see where we were hanging out circa 2010. Want more handy map tools? Take a look at these: TfL has a tool that works out how long it takes to travel to anywhere in London Explore London's great outdoors with t

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The ArcelorMittal Orbit is getting turned into the world's longest helter-skelter

There have been whispers for a while that Anish Kapoor's Olympic Park sculpture, the ArcelorMittal Orbit, might be getting turned into giant slide. But now the plans have got the green light, which means London is getting the world's LONGEST helter skelter slide and we can't bloody wait.  The plan is to wrap a 178 metre slide around the existing sculpture, and if it all goes smoothly, it should be up and running by spring 2016. Each ride will last about 40 seconds, where you'll be whizzing round a whopping 12 loops at about 15mph. The price of admission hasn't been officially set yet but it's rumoured to be around £5, which, unlike the 74-metre tall slide, ain't too steep. Weeeeee! Can't wait? Check out Carsten Höller's giant slides on the South Bank and read our ultimate guide to the exhibition. Or head here for more big kid fun.

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The ten secrets that lurk under London

Think you know London's streets like the back of your hand? What about the stuff that's under them? Alexi Duggins finds out what's lurking in London's depths. Blood-sucking beasties The tube system has its own distinct species of mosquito which has spent the last 150 years evolving in puddles enriched by our discarded sandwiches and shedded skin. Sucks. Literally. Plague-ravaged bodies In the 1660s, 100,000 bodies were piled into plague pits too quickly for records to be kept, but reports suggest there are up to 36 pits under locationssuch as Soho Square, Islington Green and Aldgate tube. Tiny penises Roman-era Londoners wore bronze dongs the size of two-pence pieces as amulets. Archaeologists reckon hundreds of these good luck cocks are currently making sweet, sweet miniature love to our city’s soil. Explosive death Malfunctioning underground electricity cables, leaking gas pipes and buildups of rainwater mean that around 150 London streets have erupted into fireballs in the last four years. And it will take another decade to fix the lurking problem. Tread softly now! Erupting rivers of poo Sure, everyone knows there are sewers under the city. Duh. But what you might not know is that the overflow system runs straight into the Thames. So guess what happens when it rains? Yep. Subterranean poo fountains! A military citadel So shadowy and secretive that we should probably self-destruct after typing this, the government’s underground defence bunker, Pindar, is where

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Travel back in time with the Timelooper app

  Next time you're having a casual wander through the city, why not find out how terrifying it was walking around during, say, the Blitz? 'But that was 70-odd years ago,' you're thinking. Indeed it was, reader, indeed it was. But you can travel back in time with this new app Timelooper, which will show you a 360º virtual reality view of Trafalgar Square during WWII when the Germans were blasting our fair city to smithereens. Or you can witness the Great Fire tearing through the area around St Paul's during 1666 and pop to the Tower of London to experience the Medieval era. To get in on the action, simply download the free app and whip it out when you're in the location to discover all kinds of fascinating historical facts and sights. And should you want to leave London (heaven forbid) for any reason, then you can also utilise Timelooper in Turkey, with forthcoming plans to conquer Rome, New York City, Berlin, Paris and China. Get app happy with these other technological wonders: Wiretapper: the app that brings immersive theatre to your phone Explore London's abandoned tube stations with the Disused Tube app Eight great fashion apps

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Nine nostalgic pop-ups that will, inevitably, open in London

1) Encarta MindMaze... LIVE! Photo: Giantbomb Recreate the giddy thrill of Microsoft's encyclopaedia 'edutainment' product from 1995! Travel through a series of rooms and answer random trivia questions from jesters, handmaidens and more. Make it through and cocktails and artisan pizza await you in the Throne Room. Hampton Court, Jan 2016. £49. 2) Pop-up Market: Innovations Special   Pick up handcrafted useless inventions from London's independent producers. Always starts exactly on time due to their clocks synchronising to a global radio signal. Truman Brewery. Entry free with any copy of the Sunday Times. 3) That creepy kids' game show, you remember the one, there was like an alphabet soup? And... it's on the tip of my tongue, I swear to God.  It was on... was it CBBC? And there was like a robot guy... like a famous guy! Was that Philip Schofield or something? Come on – you know the one I mean though, right? God, this is killing me. Anyway, all that stuff you sort-of remember from it (a lift! there was definitely a bit in a lift!) will be there. In a tall building of some sort, I think? Sometime soon. 4) Pogs World Series

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A blagger's guide: how to get free stuff in London

Who says nothing comes for free anymore? Here are four things to do in London that won't cost you a penny.   HAIRCUT Too skint to have your shaggy barnet sheared? Fear not: several London salons offer free haircuts in specified slots each week (check out Hari’s, Stuart Philips, Radio Hair Salon or Windle & Moodie). Granted, you’ll be a guinea pig for a scissor-wielding young apprentice – but crap-haired beggars can’t be choosers.     BOOZE AND CANAPES Take the ‘Wedding Crashers’ model and apply it to other events – talks, conferences, gallery private views etc – and you have what is known as ‘ligging’. This very modern pastime can net you a sackful of booze and food any night of the week. Check out the day’s events on Eventbrite and away you blag.    COFFEE Payday still an agonising week away? Don’t worry, there is another way to get your caffeine hit. Pret is famous for giving out free coffee to customers of its choosing (boost your chance with subtle flirting). And you can enjoy a free espresso at any Nespresso shop: they each have a coffee bar where you can try the different pods.   FANCY FOOD Ahh, the old ‘free sample’ racket. The markets are an obvious choice, but why not rub shoulders with the elite in the food halls of Harrods and Fortnum & Mason? You don’t need to be an oligarch to feast on the delicious meat, cheese and other sumptuous samples. By Dan Frost Feeling frugal? Find more free things to do in London.

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London totally stinks and these 'smell maps' prove it

Out of all of our senses - sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, clairvoyance - which is the most under-appreciated? The answer, clearly, is smell. Now four researchers have taken it upon themselves to address this by creating an amazing 'smell map' of London. 'What the hell' is a 'smell map?' we hear you sniff. Well, let us tell you: it's a map of London's smells. Daniele Quercia, Luca Maria Aiello, Rossano Schifanella and Kate McLean compiled the map by scouring social media for smell-related words used about specific places in London. They matched each word to a colour using an 'aroma wheel' [above], then plotted the colours on to the streets of the capital. The resulting olfactory pictures beautifully map out all the odours that Londoners are smelling and talking about. Take a deep breath... Animals   <img id="c3b32b85-46fd-baaf-24b9-90dae3c62aed" class="photo lazy inline" src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102639854/image.jpg" alt="Stink map - animal emmisions" data-caption="" data-credit="" data-width-class="100" data-mce-src="http://media.timeout.com/images/102639854/image.jpg"> This map highlights all the bits of the city that smell like animals. So, obviously, London Zoo is pretty prominent up there by Regent's Park. But dots appear all over the city - maybe what they're smelling is party animals? We all get that pungent party musk. Emissions   <img id="7e8066cf-e9bf-c65a-16fa-71fe7576dc10" data-caption="" data-credit="" data-

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