diamond geezer

 Saturday, February 17, 2007

5 things to do this weekend

1) China In London 2007
: The Year of the Pig starts tomorrow, which is excuse enough for Mayor Ken to spend our taxes on a big oriental party. The main events are a grand parade around Chinatown (starts on the Strand at 11am), lots of dragon dances and Chinese arty stuff in Trafalgar Square, plus a couple of firework displays in Leicester Square (2pm and 5pm). And see how everything's been carefully timed to allow you to finish off your visit with a meal of saucy pigbits in a local Chinese restaurant? Cunning that.

2) Blue Badge Guide Walking Weekend: London's Blue Badge guides are a treasured resource. They know all there is to know about the capital, its heritage and its history, and normally they charge you lots of money to tell you about them. Not this weekend. Today and tomorrow they're offering their services for free, running eight guided walks around the centre of town (every hour on the hour from 11am to 3pm). No need to book, just turn up and enjoy a 2-hour stroll with intelligent commentary. I went on two of the walks last year and can heartily recommend the one through the City (starting at Liverpool Street) which was considerably more packed with historical fascinatingness than I was expecting. The London Bridge one this year, I think.

3) Hot Fuzz: It's a film (before you start worrying) from the team that brought you Shaun of the Dead. Simon Pegg plays over-successful police officer Nicholas Angel, reassigned from the Met to duties in the sleepy Gloucester market town of Sandford. Which turns out not to be quite as sleepy as it seems, because country folk are a strange protective bunch. This is an American cop film translated into rural England, which means Neighbourhood Watch vigilantes, gun battles in a local supermarket and death by hanging basket. There are cameo appearances from an unexpectedly wide range of mature British actors, and there's also an emotional depth to the plot which really shouldn't work but does. It's smartly amusing throughout and refreshingly different, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. [trailer]

4) Primeval (ITV1, tonight, 7:20): By law, every UK-based science fiction series must contain at least one story set on the London Underground. ITV's new dinosaur-hunting drama achieves this target in just its second week. Tonight we're promised giant scuttly insects emerging through a time portal to frighten commuters, and the team have only a lot of guns and their Oyster cards to despatch the lot of them. If episode 2 is anything like episode 1 it'll be a lot of enjoyable hokum, but it'll also give tube geeks endless opportunities to shout at their TV sets. "But Aldwych hasn't been open for 13 years!" "But there aren't any disused tunnels at Regent's Park" "But that bit of the District line isn't underground!" etc etc

5) Or just go and do whatever you were going to do this weekend anyway. You've probably already agreed to repaint the bedroom, or go visit Auntie Sheila in Coventry, or queue in IKEA for half the afternoon, or fly off to Copenhagen on a mini-break, or take the kids to the local park where they can meet up with their hoodie mates and practice knife-wielding skills. Your loss.

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