Saturday: a day of the week so uniquely brilliant that Elton John, Nick Drake and, uh, Whigfield all wrote songs about it. Whether you plan to spend yours dancing, drinking, shopping or broadening your cultural horizons, we've got you covered with our pick of the day's best events.
RECOMMENDED: Find more things to do in London this weekend
Belgravia is being taken over by a six-day floral fiesta as businesses across the Westminster district drape themselves with blooms in displays inspired by iconic children’s books such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Jungle Book and James and the Giant Peach. Walking maps will be available from all local retailers so you can find your way around the various blossoming walkways. A programme of events will accompany the floral frolics, including Nick Knight's exhibition 'Fashion Flora' celebrating pivotal moments of flowers featuring in fashion (May 22, SHOWStudio). See here for more information about Belgravia in Bloom.
Putting a spotlight on the health of the River Thames, artist Jason Bruges’ light installation will shine one of three patterns on to the Sea Containers at Mondrian London based on whether the water quality is good, average or poor according to that day’s Thames data reading. The lights will be a permanent fixture every evening from dusk until midnight, letting us know if the river’s health is improving or declining. The data will also be tweeted on via the @ThamesPulse account and a billboard will show readings on real time. The lights will be switched on for the first on March 16 at 6.30pm.The project was devised by MEC UK to help raise awareness about the condition of the Thames and to support charity Thames21 in its mission to protect London’s rivers.
From Whitechapel Market, you can look west along the high street to where the Gherkin stands out above the City. It might as well be the Emerald City for all the relevance it has here: this is a non-stop, heaving, all-weather, cacophonous East End micro-economy, born of pragmatism rather than fashion and largely sustained by local Bangladeshis. Go for fruit, phonecards, pots and pans, fish, spices, cleaning products and the sort of vegetables you might have to ask the name of. For a lunch break visit Needoo Grill: just over the road, this no-frills BYO restaurant serves excellent Punjabi food.
The musical brains behind ace indie night Feeling Gloomy have come up with a new party. Burn Down The Disco will take the baton from the popular Old School Indie party at the end of September, showcasing the same great indie tunes as OSI, but also with tons of lovely soul, synth pop, ska and vintage rock 'n' roll mixed in. Think anything from Depeche Mode to The Specials to Chuck Berry to Pulp. OSI founder Carl Hill says this new night will allow him to open things up a bit and play a wider range of great music, all of which is definitely fine by us. But don't worry – BDTD will still thrive off the same fun-filled atmosphere as OSI, and certainly won't take itself too seriously. There'll be sweets given out on the door, dance competitions, colouring sheets, confetti and a weekly 'rubbish ballon drop'. Farewell, Old School Indie. Now let's all go and get drunk and jump around the dancefloor at Burn Down The Disco.
Abba. Junk food. Watching Jeremy Kyle. Thwacking dawdlers on Oxford Street over the back of the head with a copy of Time Out. We've all got our guilty pleasures, and this hugely fun night celebrates the musical side of them. It's a high-quality but ultimately cheesy party of pop, disco, dance tracks, R&B and soft rock, where you can hear anything from Hanson to Haim to Soft Cell to Whitney to Beyoncé, accompanied by dancers, live acts cabaret performers, balloons and a lot of glitter Leave your hipster credentials at the door, dress up and get guilty!
This fresh-faced drum 'n' bass duo had something of a hit in 2014 with their track 'Nobody to Love': a reworking of Kanye's 'Bound 2', no less. They've also collaborated with Paloma Faith, on 'Changing', and Labrinth, on 'Higher', which should give you an indication of their musical leanings: they make big, easily digestible pop-D&B crossover songs – full of singalong choruses and big, obvious hooks – that you're far more likely to hear on a Radio 1 daytime playlist than Rinse FM. We doubt that DJ Zinc would approve, but there are a lot of people that do, so Sigma must be doing something right.
Richard Gadd deserved won the 2016 Edinburgh Comedy Award for this courageous piece of theatrical comedy. In ‘Monkey See Monkey Do’ the innovative comic explores masculinity and his faltering mental health in a funny, deeply personal show that we won’t reveal too much about here. Just go see it and see for yourself.
Jerry Sadowitz tones down his trademark ragingly offensive stand-up in this magic panel show, suitable for all audiences. In Magic Challenge, Sadowitz – who is one of the world's finest close-up magicians, as well as one the best comics in the country – joins fellow magician Caspar Thomas and a guest to set each other challenges to perform particular tricks.
Over the last four years WAF has established itself as one of the big guns among the new generation of dance festivals. Returning to London (well, Essex, but it’s on the tube) for two more days this summer, it boasts another heavyweight line-up of globe-conquering DJs, hot rising talents and respected undergrounders: among them Carl Cox, Dizzee Rascal and Basement Jaxx. House and techno of all shapes and sizes are the main ingredients here, but bass and garage are also represented, and with this number of esteemed selectors on board you guarantee the always-up-for-it FSTVL crowd will be partying hard and true into the small hours.
This May bank holiday gathering in Brockwell Park is as much a food event as a confetti-filled music festival. It should be said the organisers are determined to tweak any teething issues from last year. Chefs, restaurants, bars and breweries from all points south of the river will be serving up the goodies, with DJs and live acts helping you dance those calories right back off. There are also traditional fete-style fun and games in the works courtesy of South London record shop Rye Wax. Line-up includes: Paradise Garage, Horse Meat Disco, Honey Soundsystem, Harvey Sutherland, Late Night Tuff Guy, Crazy P Soundsystem.
Everyone knows that a swan can break a man’s arm with its wing, but did you know that New York noise rock band Swans were at one point capable of making entire audiences get spontaneously reacquainted their half-digested lunch? Okay, admittedly that’s an urban myth – or, as the group’s stentorian frontman Michael Gira has put it, ‘a bunch of shit’. Swans never actually made anyone vomit through sheer force of sound, but since reforming in 2010 – in an era of health and safety and noise control – they’ve still had audience members spending the next few days suffering from not just ringing ears but full-blown aural flashbacks. We’re talking seriously ‘oof!’-worthy levels of sound and fury. That’s not to say that Swans don’t do subtlety. On their last few LPs, Gira and co flash in an instant from ground-shaking, clash-of-the-titans riffs to periods of eerie calm, underpinned by churning drums and topped with the kind of vocals that you’d expect from a particularly scary blood cult. Then it’s back to those piledriver riffs, sometimes continuing on one apocalyptic note for up to half an hour. Gira, we feel bound to mention, was recently the subject of rape accusations – which he strenuously denied. Some fans have reportedly boycotted the band since. Regardless of who’s in the right, this will be the last Swans tour with the band in its current form – so if you’re going, prepare yourself for a farewell onslaught of white-knuckle sound and fury.
Run toooo the hiiiills! Run fo-ooor your liiiiife! The impossibly resilient British metal legends return for the UK, a flashback to their late-’80s glory days. Since lead singer Bruce Dickinson rejoined the group in 1999, Maiden have been on tour every year except 2002, and as a result they're one of the tightest live rock acts on the planet. Add in giant puppets and more pyrotechnics than you can shred a guitar at, and it's no wonder they can pack arenas and raise roofs from LA to Lahore. If you're buying tickets: be quick or be disappointed.
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Jin at Dorsett Shepherd's Bush
An all-day bar located within Shepherd's Bush four-star, eight-storey Dorsett Hotel. The elongated lounge, known as the Golden Atrium, is surrounded by the numerous floors rising up like an art deco cruise ship or Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim in New York. The stylish environment is suitably matched by a well-curated cocktail menu, with wines, beers and softies to boot. During the daily happy hour (6-8pm) visitors to Jin can get two-for-one cocktails, or a little earlier (2-5pm) you can enjoy afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, cute cakes and a bit of bubbly.
Venue says: “Enjoy our cocktail of the month – La Pasión, during 2-for-1 cocktails 6-8pm daily!”