There are so many difficulties to celebrating masculinity nowadays. Not seeming overly macho. Not coming off like a chauvinist. Using the word 'manhood' without sounding like you mean something rude etc. So thank Christ for Southbank Centre's brilliant 'Being A Man' festival, which manages a fun look at being a modern man via a schedule of quirky, interesting and entertaining events plus celebrity speakers. Here are five brilliant things that are definitely going to have us attending.
1. Urban music supremos
Ashley Walters and Professor Green appearing on the same line-up sounds like the kind of thing that should happen at Brixton Academy. Not so. Here Ashley Walters appears both chatting about a career spanning So Solid Crew and 'Top Boy' (Friday November 25) and in conversation with '70s proto-hip hop group The Last Poets (Saturday November 26). Meanwhile, Professor Green chats male suicide and depression off the back of his brilliant BBC3 doc, 'Suicide And Me' (Sunday November 27).
2. The dad dancing
If Ed Balls on 'Strictly' has shown us one thing, it's that dad dancing is officially cool. But in case you needed any confirmation, on Sunday November 27, a group of professional dancers will be running a family-friendly workshop dedicated to the noble art of dancing like you're attempting to embarrass your offspring at a wedding. We'll be down the front spasming around like the victim of a faulty plug socket. Because it's trendy, you understand. Not because we can't dance any other way (ahem).
3. The man shed
Not even the world's finest quantum physicists can tell us why sheds exert such a strong gravitational pull over men. But the fact remains that they do, and Being A Man has decided to honour this by erecting a special Men's Shed in which Londoners can learn new skills in a number of free workshops (which are even open to non-men). No news on whether one of these skills includes 'learning how not to be so attracted to sheds' (but we're hoping it doesn't).
4. The opportunity to join in a public group singalong
According to the blurb behind the 'Being A Man Big Sing' – a mass singalong in The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall – there's no experience necessary and no ability to read music required. All you need to do is turn up and be willing to belt out some tunes to get your own gig in a ballroom. Even better, there should be absolutely loads of other peeps attending this 'celebration of the male voice', so presumably it doesn't even matter too much if your singing voice makes cats flee in terror.
5. Roger bloody Moore!
Anyone who’s seen ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge’ will know that securing an appearance from the ex-James Bond is so exciting that it's enough to send the most seasoned presenter into a meltdown. Nonetheless, Southbank Centre has done exactly that by convincing Sir Roger to appear in conversation with biographer Gareth Owen for a chat about his seven-decade-long career. It's such a coup that we won't even be disappointed if Owen doesn't break down and start screaming: 'ROOOOGGERRRRR!'
Find out more about Southbank Centre's Being A Man festival here and follow #beingamanfest.
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