Weekend roundup for 28 August

Includes tube trackies, trees with eyes, and tequila on tap

Before we get into this week’s collection of happenings and cultural flotsam, a couple of things to note. First: we messed up the link to Little Places’ Instagram account in our last issue. This is the link you are looking for. Second: Monday is a bank holiday so there’ll be no issue of LiB. We’ll be back on 1 September.

🚇 Crossrail update: Chief exec’ Mark Wild has said they are “very much on target for the first half of 2022” (bear in mind that this is the same guy who, back in 2020, said the Elizabeth Line was on track to open in “summer 2021”). Also this week, Whitechapel Station became the seventh Elizabeth Line station to be handed over to London Underground by Crossrail. The renovated station looks great, and it should do, it cost £831 million, more than seven times the original £110 estimate.

🌍 This week saw the start of Extinction Rebellion’s two-week protest calling for government action against the climate crisis. On Monday they set up tents at the junction of Long Acre and Upper St Martin’s Lane and also blocked roads near Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square. There were around 52 arrests made on that day according to the Met. On Tuesday another 40 members were arrested when a van carrying equipment parked in the middle of Cambridge Circus. On Wednesday protesters moved to Oxford Circus where they “erected a pink structure and sound system”. On Thursday the animal rights wing of XR painted the fountain outside Buckingham Palace red, “accusing the Queen of having ‘blood on her hands’”.

🚲 A new cycling route is being installed in Hackney. The cycleway will run from Lea Bridge to Dalston, and will “feature protected cycle lanes on Lea Bridge Road and Lea Bridge roundabout, as well as a new tree-lined boulevard for pedestrians and cyclists in Millfields Park”. It’s expected to be completed by spring 2022.

🚶 Shaftesbury, the landlord that owns parts of Soho, Chinatown and Covent Garden, has reported that the West End is experiencing a “strong recovery”. Thanks to Londoners and “domestic tourists” footfall has risen to 50-60% of pre-Covid levels. Although overseas tourists and office workers are still staying away.

🕺 Mixmag has found that that Priti Patel used incorrect data about illegal raves to justify emergency powers for police forces during the first wave of the pandemic. When the Home Secretary said “In London alone, the Metropolitan Police has responded to more than 1,000 unlicensed events,” what she was actually talking about was “the number of ‘messages’ about illegal raves recorded on its ‘Computer Aided Dispatch’ system”. Definitely not the same thing.

💉 On Monday afternoon a group of “anti-vaxx and anti-lockdown protesters” gathered outside the ITN building on Gray’s Inn Road and then “forced their way into” the building. Apparently police and building security removed the protestors without too much problem and they “left the area at around 3.15pm”.

🏃 Swiss running shoe brand On has opened a Performance Running Lab at at Protein Studios in Shoreditch. The pop-up features On’s ‘magic wall’ which has “hidden gait-cycle analysis technology” and an “invisible foot scanner with depth cameras” that can apparently find the right type and size of shoe for you in seconds.

🪴 ITV News has spoken to ‘bushcraft expert’ Dr Lisa Fenton who is bringing her masters’ course to the University of Cumbria’s London campus (apparently the first ever school of bushcraft was established in London in 1908 at the somewhat problematically named London School of Colonial Instruction).

👕 You can now buy a tracksuit that will make you look like a Tube seat. Ian Visits has all the details on Gresham Blake’s range of moquette-themed apparel (below).

Art and culture bits

🔉This weekend was supposed to be carnival weekend (see the Long Read of the Week, below for more), but unfortunately it’s been cancelled for the second year in a row. If you’re looking to “satisfy your carnival needs” then Hypebeast has a list of alternate events that are happening over the bank holiday weekend.

🎭 The Hampstead Theatre has announced two new productions for winter this year. Marsha Norman’s ‘night, Mother and Alan Plater’s Peggy for You will star Stockard Channing and Tamsin Greig respectively. 

🤖 The Guardian has reviewed The Young Vic’s latest play, which is based on an an essay that was written for the paper by a deep-learning computer programme. AI, is apparently “not so much a piece of theatre as dramaturgy, rehearsal and workshop all in one,” and is “surreal and spellbinding, laying bare not only the potential in machine creativity but a theatrical process that normally takes place behind closed doors”.

📸 Photo London is back for its sixth edition next month. This thing is massive, with 91 galleries from 17 countries participating and dozens of exhibitions, awards, photography workshops and talks (including Close Enough: Robert Capa, the David Bailey archive and “five unseen unique works by Kevin Cummins taken at the Sex Pistols last UK concert”).

👻 The Colours of the Night (above) is an exhibition of original artworks by Graham Humphreys, the man behind the UK posters for The Evil Dead and A Nightmare On Elm Street among many other things. It’s on at the recently opened Orbital Art Gallery on Great Newport Street, from 3 September.

🏄 The London Surf / Film Festival has been bringing us “the very best surf films from across the globe” for a decade now, and for this year’s event (which runs from 7 to 9 October) they’ve selected “a hand picked line up of hotly anticipated premieres and underground projects” to celebrate their tenth birthday. More details here.

👀 The Eyeconic London Art Trail feels like one of those things where they came up with the name first and had to come up with a concept to fit the pun. But that’s okay, because there’s a lot worse things to do with the kids over the summer holidays than visit “eye-conic” spots around the city to see if you can find all the “inflatable eyes that have appeared in trees”.

Food and drink bits

🦀 Broadway Market’s Fin and Flounder fishmongers is opening a fast food seafood shack in Netil Market in London Fields next month. Bar Flounder will be opening on 3 September and, judging by the announcement on Instagram, they are going to be serving some killer lobster rolls:

Rosslyn Coffee, which opened on Queen Victoria Street in 2018, is opening a second branch in Moorgate. Eater London has spoken to co-founder James Hennebry about Rosslyn’s success and their plans for the second location.

🍹 Secret London has taken a look at PocketSquare, the new rooftop bar on the ninth floor of the (snappily-named) Hyatt Place London City East hotel.

🥪 The Guardian recently asked its readers if their spending on lunch and coffees had changed since the start of the pandemic. Now Hilary Osborne has had a look at how habits are changing and what this means for the future of cafes and sandwich bars.

🌶️ The LSE’s website has a blog post about the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on Brick Lane’s restaurants, and how the cafes delivering “authentic Sylheti-style food to local Bangladeshi residents on housing estates” have survived relatively well, but those “that depend on revenue from dine-in customers” have struggled.

🛑 Related: it’s just been announced that Brick Lane will be “closed to traffic on Thursday and Friday evenings and on weekends to help reduce pollution and improve the al fresco dining experience.”

🚗 Also related: Westminster City Council has said that “traffic will be re-introduced to Soho’s streets at the end of September, bringing to an end the weekend and evening pedestrian takeover of the capital’s oldest entertainment district.”

🍸 London Cocktail Week has been extended to London Cocktail Month. The event will now run for the whole of October, and will include cocktail masterclasses, pop-ups, bar takeovers, and cocktail dinners across a range of pubs and bars. Wristbands are £15 and are available now.

🤬 Gordon Ramsay already has one restaurant at the Savoy (the Savoy Grill) but now he’s opening another one, despite the fact that his UK restaurant portfolio reportedly lost over £56 million during the pandemic. It looks like Ramsey is looking to make some of that up by offering “oysters; caviar; and seabass ceviche” to the Savoy’s moneyed guests.

🐄 Sticking with once-respected chefs who may have over-extended themselves and are now seemingly desperate: Marco Pierre White is opening a restaurant on Leicester Square. Called Mr White’s it will be bloody massive (four-storey’s high) and will serve steaks and pizzas.

🌵 Jose Cuervo is opening a ‘Tequila Taproom’ on Great Eastern Street next month. For one weekend only there will be tequila cocktails with “quirky off-the-wall monikers” all served via “kegs and delivered through an authentic tap system.” That’s right: kegs of quirky tequila. What could go wrong?

👨‍🍳️ Business Insider has profiled Karma Kitchen’s ‘dark kitchen’ site in Wood Green (paywall alert). If you read our recent issue on dark kitchens you’ll know that Karma Kitchen are one of the better companies, but to write an entire article without acknowledging any of the negative aspects of these kitchens seems irresponsible at best.

Long read of the week

National Geographic speaks to the costume makers who are “weaving history into the costumes of the Notting Hill Carnival”.

Tweet of the week