diamond geezer

 Friday, June 10, 2011

Seven things to do this weekend
1) It's Open Weekend at Eel Pie Island. That's the private island in the Thames off Twickenham, home to all sorts of arty, creative, lucky people. There are 26 artists studios in and around the boatyard, and they throw their doors open to the public twice a year to poke around, have a chat and buy stuff. I went last December, for the "these might make nice Christmas presents" opening, and was completely won over by this most unusual corner of London. The summer opening takes place this weekend and next, and is ideal should you fancy some paintings, some pottery, or just the opportunity to say "hell yes, Eel Pie Island, I've been there."
2) It's Open Garden Squares Weekend. That's the annual horticultural shindig where patches of inner city greenery are opened up to public access, including several very private squares in the very poshest bit of town whose residents normally keep their exclusive enclaves all to themselves. Participants include Marlborough House (off the Mall), and Fassett Square (inspiration for Albert Square E20), and the Kensington Roof Gardens (an amazing hideaway above Derry & Toms) and even Belgrave Square (which is about as exclusive as London gets). Tickets cost £10, for access to everywhere all weekend, but will cost 25% less if you buy one today. Ian's put together a fine map to help you plan where to go, thanks Ian. One year I'll even go myself.
3) It's the London leg of the World Naked Bike Ride. Expect 1000 cyclists to turn up in Hyde Park, strip off, and then ride on a circuit round the centre of town from 3pm onwards. Don't come purely for a potential eyeful, this is a serious protest against the dominance of petrol-driven transport. Check the wiki, all details are there ("The finish area will not be a venue for prolonged naked socialising")
4) It's Trooping The Colour on Saturday. Except you should have applied for tickets back in February. Watch out for the flypast at 1pm.
5) It's the London Map Fair. If you like old cartography, and your bank account can take the strain, you'll find maps from all around the world for sale at the HQ of the Royal Geographical Society, SW7.
6) It's Harrow Open Studios. That's 34 artists showing you how they make and paint stuff. In Harrow. This weekend and next.
7) It's Out of This World at the British Library. This is a major exhibition full of great science fiction from the library's collection, which means lots of books in dimly-lit glass cases opened at intriguingly futuristic pages. One display case, for example, contains both the original edition of Thomas More's Utopia and the notebook in which George Orwell scribbled down his ideas for Nineteen Eighty Four. The accompanying information traces the development of this fictional art form, and will probably make you want to rush off and read several of the novels on show. Alas the library's bookshop has missed a trick in only having a handful available to purchase, and there's no obvious reading list up for grabs either. No rush if you plan to visit, the exhibition's open until September.

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