Friday, April 11, 2008

When I was living in Singapore, I tended to be aware of whatever was going down in the little red dot.

Now that I'm living in London, I'm happy to say that I seem to have managed to exercise this particularly useful ability of mine to cover the big smoke.

With Singapore being the size it is, it's not too hard keeping abreast of the concert,s club nights, theatre, sales, etc. going on. London, however, is a whole different animal.

So how do I do it? It's a combination of a lot of Internet surfing, being on the mailng lists of ticket sellers, reading Time Out and just generally reading the various free newspapers the increasingly rare times I leave the office early enough to grab one.

Some useful sites I've found which cover everything from the exhibitions to plays to sales to music are Urban Junkies, Flavorpill and Londonist. However, there's always a chance that by tickets would have been sold out by the time a gig makes its way onto these sites. If you're worried this might happen, you should check out IndieLondon's gig guide on a regular basis. I've found it's more comprehensive than Time Out, as Time Out does sometimes suffer from the sold-out syndrome as well.

Daily Candy is quite good for quirky, unusual shops and experiences in London; of course, you do need money to enjoy quite a few of their suggestions, but the layout and design of Daily Candy is so deliciously girly that I just enjoy reading the daily e-mails even if I can't quite afford to partake of some of the activities proposed.

If shopping is more your cup of tea, and you love your brands, then Fashion Confidential's sample sales alert is what you need. Every few weeks or so, you'll receive an e-mail listing the upcoming sample sales for brands such as Ted Baker, Temperley and Biba. Lynku also lists a number of sales.

Of course, it's not cheap indulging in all these activities in London. You'd want to stretch that pound as far as it can go. This is where the Internet comes in handy. Tickets are usually sold by a number of Internet retailers. However, not all of them are priced the same. I have seen tickets selling for £16 on one site retailing for £19.50 on another, despite the fact that the tickets were exactly the same. So if you want to purchase tickets, I would strongly advise you to check the various ticket sites before making your purchase. If all of them are more or less the same price, then perhaps you should go to Gigantic (if it's selling your event) as 10% of the booking fee will be donated to Oxfam, so at least you're contributing to the greater good. If the event is sold out, try Scarlet Mist which is a forum where people sell their spare tickets, but at face value, rather than marking it up as they tend to do over at Seatwave.

When going for a play, check out Theatre Monkey's review of venues which provides seating plans and advice on the best seats for the category you're going for. While this may not help you save money, it does at least help you figure out what you're getting for the money you're paying.

That's all I have for now, and will update this in subsequent posts as and when I come across new sites of interest.

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