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Wetlands Unravelled
Photograph: Julian Abrams

Things to do in London this week

Discover the biggest and best things to do in London over the next seven days

By Alexandra Sims and Katie McCabe
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We know the idea of going ‘out and about’ in London feels complex right now. But you can still experience the city, within the restrictions of Tier 2. Many theatres and cinemas are still open, restaurants are still serving food, major London galleries are still welcoming visitors – as long as you’re socialising with members of your own household, or going solo. And remember, you can meet in mixed groups of six, as long as it’s in an open-air setting.

Check out our pick of the best things to do in London over the next seven days, chosen by Time Out editors. If you’ve got a tip for something fun going on in London, tweet us your suggestion and help spread the word. You’ll be begging for a night off by Sunday

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in London every week of the year.

Imperial College London
Imperial College London
Photograph: Courtesy of the Imperial College London

1. Try a museum late online

We could all do with some R&R right now, so Imperial College London’s next online late is exploring how science and technology can help us understand our mental and physical health. Learn how video games can help transform our fitness levels  and find out how tech can help young Black men with their mental health. You might just pick up some tips to make Lockdown 2.0 a little bit less shit. Oct 26-Nov 1. Free, register in advance. Find out more here

Michael Clark
Michael Clark
Photograph: Richard Haughton

2. Go on a cosmic dance journey

If anyone really has managed to dance themselves right out the womb, it’s probably Michael Clark. The maverick dancer and choreographer abandoned his first job with Ballet Rambert for the punk fashions and club culture of 1980s London, and this show is a comprehensive sweep through his career which he spent mashing up post-punk with classical ballet. See Clark’s original style through film, photography, paintings and sculptures at his retrospective ‘Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer’. This is the first major exhibition to place Clark within the wider cultural context of his time, plus his anti-establishment angst will look even more glorious against the Barbican’s brutalist backdrop. Barbican. Until Jan 3 2021. £15-£17. Book your slot here

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3. Book tickets to see ‘Nine Lives’ in an actual theatre

Theatre Drama Bridge Theatre, Tower Bridge

Playwright Zodwa Nyoni’s family moved from Zimbabwe to England in the late ’90s and she spent her adolescence applying for UK residency. It’s no wonder then that her one-man monologue following Ishmael (Lladel Bryant), a gay Zimbabwean asylum seeker dispersed to Leeds while he awaits a decision on his case, cuts straight through the inflamed tabloid headlines that often frame the conversation about immigration. Written in 2016 for Leeds Playhouse, it remains as relevant today as it did four years ago. It’s a stark, sparse piece that urges, above all, kindness – something we could all do with more of right now. From £10. Book here

 ’Drag Kids’
 ’Drag Kids’
Photograph: ’Drag Kids’

4. Attend a film premiere in your living room

The UK’s biggest indie film festival is ripping up the rule book this year. Whose rule book? We don’t know. Whoever decides how film fests are run – probably someone who lives beneath the BFI. Anyway, for 2020 it’s taking all its screenings online and making them available FOR FREE, which means, despite all the uncertainty facing the cinema industry at the moment, indie film will be more accessible than ever. As long as you’ve got a broadband connection you can watch big premieres, like the David Bowie biopic ‘Stardust’,  Megan Wennberg’s moving documentary ‘Drag Kids’ and dozens of feature debuts. Being an insufferable film buff has never been so easy. Oct 28-Nov 15. Free (or £5 per film donation) or £19.99 for a festival pass. Book here

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george michael
george michael
Dawn Mellor's Studies of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley (1984-85) Courtesy of the artist

5. Say hello to a nine-metre-tall mural of George Michael

News Art

Brixton might have Bowie, but Brent has George Michael. And now the late singer is being immortalised in a nine-metre-high mural by British artist Dawn Mellor as part of the first-ever Brent Biennial. Larger than life and sporting a luxuriant Princess Di-style ’do, George’s likeness will be on display in Kingsbury, near where he grew up and went to school. Find it on Kingsbury Road

Cyberdog
Cyberdog
Photograph: Courtesy of Cyberdog

6. Start your new life as a cyber goth

Every Londoner has a different relationship with neon rave emporium Cyberdog. Some of us have been haunting the place for dayglo club gear since it started as a little stall in Camden Market in 1994. Others just know it as the shop with the giant metal men out front that’s always blaring techno. Whatever you make of it, it’s a site of city subculture. Before Cyberdog, cyber goths were just goths. Starting Monday, October 19, it’s going all out with a store makeover it’s calling ‘Cyberween’ You might think it’s not your thing, but before you know it, you’ll be leaving with a bag full of spiky sci-fi goggles and glow-in-the-dark Kappa. 

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The Prince of Wales
The Prince of Wales
Photograph: The Prince of Wales

7. Listen to jazz on a rooftop

If you’re going to call your group The Banger Factory, you better be ready to deliver. The Brixton jazz outfit won’t give you pop bops, but hard bops? Those they’ve got. The Factory lads play their own sweet material for their Thursday night residency at The Prince of Wales, led by young trumpeter Mark Kavuma. The Prince of Wales. Oct 29. Book a booth from £25 for four people. Book here

Introductions: Early Embodiment from A Countervailing Theory, (2019) © Toyin Ojih Odutola. Image courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

8. Visit Toyin Ojih Odutola: ‘A Countervailing Theory’ at The Curve

Art Barbican Centre, Barbican

The Curve is not what you’d normally call a ‘blockbuster’ gallery. But the sheer intensity of its bendy, pitch-black space means that once you’ve seen a powerful piece there, you never forget it. You won’t want to miss this takeover by Toyin Ojih Odutola, whose cycle of 40 drawings fill the gallery’s 90-metre sweep, accompanied by a conceptual soundscape from Peter Adjaye. Book your slot here

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Pop Up Screens
Pop Up Screens
Photograph: Pop Up Screens

9. Watch horror films in a Halloween forest

News Film

By now, we’re so starved of cinematic sustenance that we’d even pay to watch ‘Hocus Pocus’ on the big screen instead of the usual order of Halloween business: snoozing while it plays on BBC Two for the billionth time. You’ll find it screening at Forbidden Forest Cinema, an ‘eerie woodland’ installation from Pop-Up Screens next to Peckham’s Bussey Building. If you can’t face another trip to Salem, Massachusetts, it’s also screening ‘IT’, ‘Beetlejuice’ and that terrifying Halloween classic… ‘The Goonies’!? Unit 8 Copeland Park. Until Nov 8. From £19. Find out more here

Bierschenke
Bierschenke
Photograph: Bierschenke

10. Get the big beers in for Oktoberfest

Giant steins, cold warehouses and questionable promotional material featuring women in dirndls: Oktoberfest in London can be unbearable. Trying to find a good one is just chasing a luftschloß (that’s German for an unrealistic dream, or ‘air castle’ if you want to get literal about it). But if you’re going to go for it, try and find one that at least vaguely resembles a Munich beer hall, like Bierschenke in Liverpool Street. It’s been at it for a decade, serving up traditional Bavarian wurst to thousands of Londoners every year. And unlike a lot of other soulless stein-peddlers, entry for this one is free. Bierschenke Liverpool St. Thu-Sat until Oct 31. Free entry, but book your place in advance

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London cocktail week 2020
London cocktail week 2020
Photograph: London Cocktail Week

11. Raise a glass at London Cocktail Week

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Various, London

London’s bars are facing their most challenging year, so think of this Cocktail Week as Eat Out to Help Out, but for boozers. A £15 digital pass entitles you to £6 cocktails in some very swish-looking places throughout October (for perspective, a mezcal cocktail at Dalston’s Hacha would normally set you back £10.50). There are virtual masterclasses to get involved with, too, so when you inevitably get kicked out at the 10pm curfew, you can say ‘fuck you’ to bedtime and make some Pisco Sours of your own. Until Oct 31. £15. Find out more here

Secret 7
Secret 7
Photograph: Secret 7

12. Splash out on a secret vinyl record

Things to do Exhibitions Now Gallery, Greenwich Peninsula

At the Secret 7" charity record sale and exhibition, you won’t know which song lives in the vinyl grooves until you’ve parted with your money, but it’s worth the gamble. You’ll be going home with one of seven tracks, it could be Aretha Franklin’s ‘One Step Ahead’, or maybe Miles Davis’s ‘Miles Runs the Voodoo Down’ (‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ did not make the cut). Most importantly, there’s a chance its sleeve is a one-of-a-kind artwork made by a big-name artist. Lubaina Himid and Anish Kapoor have all contributed designs to raise money for Help Refugees. And even if you don’t get the seven-inch you were hoping for, there’s still an exhibition of 700 sleeves to see for free. NOW Gallery, Greenwich Peninsula. Until Nov 1. Free.

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Trulee Hall
Trulee Hall
Photograph: Coley Brown

13. Enter a fun house of the ‘erotic grotesque’

Care to enter a golden cave flanked by two priapic corncob pillars? Good, that’s exactly how you’ll experience artist Trulee Hall’s fun house of the ‘erotic grotesque’ installation at the Zabludowicz Collection. Here are just a few things you’ll find at Hall’s solo exhibition: glory holes, discordant music, naked bodies, flayed pop culture references, nightmarish serpents and a psychosexual opera exploring gender and sexuality. It’s a mix of video and sculpture and it’s all deeply weird. So you have to go. Entry is free, book your spot here

Wetlands Unravelled
Wetlands Unravelled
Photograph: Alec Stevens, ‘That Sinking Feeling’, photo by Julian Abrams

14. Visit the London Wetlands Centre

Things to do London Wetland Centre, Barnes

Not to be confused with the manicured Walthamstow Wetlands, this outdoor art exhibition is taking place in the reedbeds of the London Wetlands Centre in Barnes. The one with the otters. To mark its twentieth anniversary, the centre is carefully placing sculptures and sound installations among the watery habitat that you can view from a distance. Look out for Alec Stevens’s ‘That Sinking Feeling’, little houses that protrude from the lagoon, reminding us of rising water levels, while the ducks swim around them without a care in the world. Find out more here

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Titian 'Rape of Europa' (1562) © Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.

15. See ‘Titian: Love, Desire, Death’

Art National Gallery, Trafalgar Square

It took nearly 500 years for Titian’s series of huge, mythological ‘poesie’ paintings to be reunited in full for this exhibition. Then Covid hit, and the whole thing closed after five days. The run has since been extended to 2021. If you’re going to brave the tube for any exhibition, make it this one.

 

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