It’s been a while since I posted about anything to do in this fair city of London. I’ve discovered how hard it is to hold down a job, enjoy London, meet up with friends and still be able to write something worthy of being read. Some days, it feels as if there are tonnes of things that I simply must capture… other days, it’s just recovering from having done so much – or nothing at all – and not able to find something meaningful to write about.
Recently, I found myself jotting down a number of events I wanted to check out, most of them to do with the week of simultaneous gluttony and abstinence. That’s right, I’m talking about the week that is Chinese New Year/Pancake Tuesday/Lent/Valentine’s Day.
Maybe it’s not a big deal to you, but, hey, I’m an ethnic Chinese Catholic who happens to be in a relationship, which makes that week a particularly challenging one for me, calorie- and budget-wise.
Anyway, things which you may consider going to should include:
- Club de Fromage commemorates the first anniversary of Whitney Houston’s death with ‘I Will Always Love You’, a (pre-)Valentine’s day celebration with power ballads, Whitney tunes (naturally) and a screening of The Bodyguard beforehand. Saturday, Feb 9th, O2 Academy Islington, 7.30 pm, £11.25 (early bird) /£13.50 (standard)
- Go and be entertained by Spark London’s tales of love, unrequited, fantastical, teenage crushes, soul-crushing, you name it, they’ve got a story which has it. Better yet, get on stage and tell yours. Or, if you’re too shy, just sit and listen attentively. Monday, Feb 11th, Hackney Attic, 7.00 pm, £3
- The Breakfast Club in Hoxton and Spitalfields is having a (Wo)Man vs. Pancake throw-down. That’s right. If you can eat six pancakes in the quickest time – or think you can, at the very least – then e-mail email@example.com with your competitor name and your selected branch to sign yourself up for the race. If you win, you’ll win dinner and drinks for yourself and six friends on the night. If that’s not up your alley, then what you can do is participate in the Annual Breakfast Club Pancake Challenge for charity: eat 12 pancakes in 20 minutes and it’s on them. Otherwise, pay the full price with all profits going to Rays of Sunshine. Tuesday, Feb 12th, The Breakfast Club, , 8.00 am for the Annual Breakfast Club Pancake Challenge / 7.30 pm for the (Wo)Man vs. Pancake challenge
- Ben’s Canteen is choosing to pay homage to Mission Street Food in San Francisco for Chinese New Year, by cooking a dinner featuring some of the classics from that hallowed institution, including deep fried pork belly tacos, duck fat fried rice and coffee & cigarette burger. There will be two sittings that night. Wednesday, Feb 13th, Ben’s Canteen, 7.00 pm and 9.00 pm, £30
- Romantic Misadventure: Stories to Take the Sting out of Valentine’s, organised by Kit Lovelace, otherwise known as that guy who let a whole bunch of Guardian readers decide his romantic fate a couple of years ago. He’s a frightfully good storyteller in person as well. If you don’t already have plans, check it out. For an added bonus, order some delicious chicken wings from Kimchi Cult while you’re at it. Their residence at the pub ends just a few days after. Wednesday, Feb 13th, The Black Heart, 7.30 pm, free entry
- After all that eating, you might as well burn some calories. What better way to do it than engaging in some fancy footwork at the Vintage Dance Club’s Valentine’s Tea Dance. For the princely sum of £12, not only do you get to enjoy a taster workshop of ballroom dances followed by a night of dancing while all dressed up in the prettiest of gowns (or suits for the men), but you get a free class of bubbly too. Bargain! Thursday, Feb 14th, East Wintergarden, 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm (Workshop begins at 6.00 pm), £12
- If ballroom dancing – or vintage quite possibly – isn’t up your alley, but you’d still like to strut your stuff, maybe the Itchy Feet Dance Academy is more up your alley. Described as “an evening of dance lessons, pizza and cocktails to the sounds of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Rhythm & Blues and Swing”, this is definitely where I hope to be spending my Valentine’s Day. Lessons will last about 1.5 hours with the Itchy Feet DJs playing suitable grooves after to help you practise your moves. Thursday, Feb 14th, Concrete, 8.00 pm to 1.00 am, £14.50 (one) / £25.80 (two) / £5.30 (after-party only)
- Not one but two venues – east and west, naturally – are choosing to screen Casablanca as their romantic movie of choice this year. You can choose between Lexi Cinema which will feature a piano-playing Sam, champagne cocktails and sweet treats, or go all out the re-opening of Rick’s Americain Cafe, complete with orchestra, food from Moro, and other treats that only the Future Cinema’s capable of pulling off. Thursday, Feb 14th, Lexi Cinema, 6.30 pm, £12 (+ £1 booking fee) / Future Cinema at The Troxy, £25, runs till Mar 6th
- For something completely different, check out Disco Shed with Adam Buxton (yes, Adam of the Adam & Joe Show, from BBC6 music and the genius behind BUG) where he will be spinning some of his favourite records. Don’t miss your chance to catch the legend in action. Friday, Feb 15th, The Book Club, 8.00 pm to 2.00 am, £5 after 9 pm
- And just because I like lists to come in sets of ten, why not check out Fashion Victim – The Musical? FVTM is is a thoroughly modern morality tale set in the cut throat world of la mode. Boo, hiss or cheer - as you see fit - the chutzpah of Mimi Steele in this story of laughs, love and sharp practices in the cutting edge world of fashion. Written by Toby Rose (‘Discotivity', Palm Dog Awards at Cannes Film Festival) and directed by Robert McWhir (I Love You Because, Curtains and Ragtime). Feb 15th and 16th, Roxy Bar & Screen, 7.30pm, from £10