Best of London
“What is that thing?” I thought to myself for the tenth time. I was on a bus to Stansted Airport; being an East Londoner, this is the most convenient airport to fly from when I go abroad. Looking out the window as I passed the area of Stratford, I saw a tall structure, red metal coiled around it. I had seen it every time I was on this bus, and yet I never thought to, you know, Google it, or ask someone, or figure it out. Not until that day a couple of months ago, when I did indeed whip out my phone and Google it.
“It’s a giant SLIDE?!” I thought to myself, and I stared at the structure again. Because just when you think London can’t get any cooler, or interesting, or full of things to do, it turns out that the city now holds the longest and tallest tunnel slide in the world.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Best of London” post – in fact, looking back through this blog’s archives, I rarely write about things to do in London, despite having lived here for three years now. That’s a bit odd, considering I feel like I’m always doing cool stuff in the city; anyone who has been to London knows there is seemingly no shortage of museums, markets, neighbourhoods, restaurants, and bars to sample.
Last night, however, I did something new and wanted to share it: I went to my first rooftop cinema in London.
Everyone is dancing wildly, their clothes drenched in sweat. I see at least five women wearing butterfly wings; most people wear technicolour outfits, and have faces painted with glitter. I take another sip of my coffee, then snap a photo on my phone for Instagram. The time reads 7:14am. This is not your ordinary rave.
We finally had our tickets in hand and entered the theatre through the front doors in time for the 7:30pm performance. There is nothing like the buzz in the air before a great show, of spectators finding their seats, of that magic that occurs when the lights dim and a hush falls over the crowd. Kasha and I certainly weren’t disappointed with our seats as we were front row centre. And then, the music started, the curtain lifted…
Over the past week, Ziferblat has been all over the news, featured in The Guardian, The Independent, The Evening Standard, The Telegraph, you name it. The first I heard of it was last night over a glass of wine with my friend Isabel; I was lamenting that, while I love getting out of the flat and working in cafes, I didn’t like the fact that I felt pressured to spend money. I’ve been in many a coffeeshop where I have been bombarded by serious side-eyes from the servers until I ordered another latte.
“Why don’t you try the new pay-as-you-go cafe in Shoreditch?” Isabel asked. After doing a bit of research, I set out this afternoon to find it. And, wouldn’t you know it, I’ve walked past it a hundred times; I live no more than a 15 minute walk away.
Here’s the thing: I don’t always like the art exhibited. In fact, some of it is downright terrible. Art is subjective, of course, but the Saatchi Gallery has a reputation for instigating media controversy, and its exhibits are sometimes totally slashed by art critics from around the world. As it is a gallery for contemporary and modern art, often it showcases pieces which the public (and perhaps the art community) has never seen before. The gallery regularly and pointedly features new and/or unknown artists – you won’t see any of Matisse or Klee here…