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Fool Britannia @ Vault Festival review: An hour of silliness at Britain’s worst school

Fool Britannia. Brick Hall @ The Vaults. Vault Festival 2019.

fool britannia

Dan Lees and Neil Frost in Mad Etiquette’s Fool Britannia

One of the opening shows at this year’s Vault Festival was Fool Britannia. The two-man show is the brainchild of Dan Lees and Neil Frost, with the premise being an insight to Britain’s worst school. Lees and Frost’s company Mad Etiquette are famed for putting on shows combining modern clowning and interactive performances.

Arriving at the Brick Hall venue within the Vaults below Waterloo, we were a little worried when we were placed in the second row. When it comes to comedy and immersive theatre, I (like many others) prefer to stay far away from the accessible seating to the cast as possible over fears of being singled out. Fortunately, we needn’t have worried as the interactivity was at a perfectly comfortable level.

After a build up of some suitable school-esque music, such as Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall, we were introduced to Lees, wearing a gown and mortar board as the headmaster of the so-called worst school. His beginning of term address eased us in to the humour style with some throwaway comments about some rather dodgy goings on in school, suggesting the headmaster wasn’t so professional as you would hope. His co-star Frost soon joined him on stage as a meek and terrified supply teacher, who we were invited to throw plastic balls at. The physical comedy continued as we were taken on a haphazard story through Britain’s history, with caveman being nonsensical, Hadrian getting dismal dating advice from his builder and Vikings rowing their boats. A scene educating us about Shakespeare and the snobbery around his plays was particularly funny.

During the history segments, the show felt like a series of sketches. I really liked their choice of handmade props, which really added to the silliness. As the one-hour show progressed, the audience had really got caught up in the silliness of it all and were drawn in at times to become a part of the narrative. It took me a while to warm up to the humour style, but by the end I was laughing along at the whole ridiculousness of it all.

  • Vault Festival 2019 takes place from 23 January – 17 March 2019. The Vaults, 10 Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. Nearest station: Waterloo and Lambeth North. Other venues include Network Theatre, Travelling Through…, The Horse & Stables and Unit 9. For booking, visit the Vault Festival website. For more information on Mad Etiquette, visit their website.

For Metro Girl’s top shows to watch at this year’s Vault Festival, click here.

For a guide to what’s on in London in February, click here.

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Dabbers Social Bingo review: Pink gin, prizes and very saucy rhyming

dabbers bingo © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

Party at the bingo at Dabbers Social Bingo

If you think bingo is just for pensioners, you’re very much mistaken. In recent years, modern approaches to bingo has been gaining popularity with younger generations. In late 2018, London’s first permanent modern bingo hall opened and I went along to check it out last month. Like traditional bingo, it involves dabbing your numbers in the hope of winning a prize when your numbers are called. However, Dabbers Social Bingo involves a lot of saucy innuendo, cocktails galore, fabulous food and a general party atmosphere.

dabbers bingo © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

Pink gin cocktails while you dab

Dabbers Social Bingo is located on Houndsditch, where the City meets the East End. From the street, you enter a medium-sized bar with outdoor terrace (would be great in summer, but definitely not in January thanks!). I liked the fact the cocktail bar gives no hint of the wildness to come downstairs! After a glass of Prosecco to loosen us up, we headed down to the expansive bingo hall in the basement. It was a surprisingly large space with a variety of tables to suit different sizes from couples to larger groups of friends.

After my companion and I grabbed a well-situated table with a view of the stage, we started with simple, but refreshing pink gin cocktails and settled down for some pre-bingo grub. The food menu has been inspired by bingo balls so features many physically round dishes. It consists mostly of sharing plates, sort of tapas style portions in the spirit of the ‘social’ part of the game. They range from £4-£9.50 and have a wide choice, with a decent amount of vegetarian options. I was pleasantly surprised by how good the food was as I had expected it to take a back seat to the bingo, entertainment and cocktails. We really enjoyed the seared prawn tiger skewers, buffalo glazed chicken skewers, mozzarella ball skewers and pizza bread. It’s worth noting they have brunch bingo on Saturdays and family brunch bingo on Sundays.

Round food rules! Meatballs, arancini and greens

Once we were fed and watered, it was time for the main event to kick off. Our compere for the evening was the fabulous Boogaloo Stu. After Stu gave us an introduction to the night, it was over to host James Loveridge and the glamorous bingo calling duo. Bingo newbies are given an explanation to the rules and prizes, before the first game kicks off at a steady pace. While there’s some traditional bingo lingo like ‘legs eleven’, be prepared for some very saucy numerical rhyming, which can be hilariously distracting when you’re trying to strike off your numbers. At various points during the game, a special ball being drawn kicks off a mini disco with the crowd encouraged to drop their dabbers and throw some shapes as the DJ cranks up the music. Throughout the game, people who win one or two lines or a full house are invited on stage to compete for a prize. By this stage, the alcoholic lubrication and the building excitement in the room had clearly got some of the winners as they got on stage so their enthusiastic celebrations were pretty jubilant and amusing to the rest of us in the room.

Overall, we had a really fun evening and it was probably the most raucous Wednesday night I’ve seen in years! The food and drink were brilliant and there was a really fun, high-energy atmosphere. Dabbers certainly offers a more entertaining alternative to the usual catch-up in the a pub, with the added bonus of being able to walk away with a prize. I would particularly recommend Dabbers for group nights out, particularly for birthdays and hen nights.

  • Dabbers Social Bingo, 13-22 Houndsditch, City of London, EC3A 7DB. Nearest stations: Aldgate, Liverpool Street or Fenchurch Street. Open Mon-Wed and Sun 12pm-11pm, Thu-Sat 12pm-3am. For more information, visit the Dabbers Social Bingo website.

For more of Metro Girl’s restaurant and bar reviews, click here.

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Guide to what’s on in London in February 2019

Guide to what’s on in London this February 2019, including festivals, Chinese New Year events, winter pop-ups and more.

Winter snow London © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019It’s February and winter is in full swing. The weather is pretty freezing, so a host of London’s events are taking place inside. Halfway through the month, things get a bit soppy for Valentine’s Day. Throughout the month, there’s music, beer and winter pop-ups. There will also be celebrations for Chinese New Year in the West End, while half-term means there’s plenty of family-friendly events on around town.

For a guide to London’s Valentine’s Day events for singles and couples, click here.

  • 1 – 2 February : London Remixed Festival

A two-day celebration of emerging talents from the worlds of Latin Grooves, Afro beats, Tropical Bass, Vintage-Remix, Desert Remix Balkan Beats, Urban Roots, Acoustic Soundclash and Brass Band Remix and more. Open: Fri 8pm-1am, Sat 8pm-4am. Tickets: £11.19–£21.79. Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E1 6LA. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Old Street. For tickets, visit the London Remixed Festival website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the London Remixed Festival.

  • 1 February – 7 April : Lost Lagoon

Bompas & Parr have created an immersive, subterranean journey inspired by the world’s most famous buccaneer Captain Henry Morgan. Expect whirlpool cocktail station, beach-inspired food and entertainment. Tickets: £20-£30. West 12 shopping centre, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 8PP. Nearest station: Shepherd’s Bush. For booking, visit the Lost Lagoon website.

  • Now until 1 February : French Winter Village @ The Langham

The Langham Hotel are teaming up with Grey Goose to create a winter paradise in their courtyard garden. Expect hot and cold Grey Goose vodka cocktails, festive food from the woodfire, heaters, cosy blankets and more. Open Wed-Sat 4pm–10pm. Minimum spend of £60pp (for bookings between 6-60 people). The Langham Hotel, 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, W1B 1JA. Nearest station: Oxford Circus. For more information, visit The Langham website.

  • 2 February – 14 July : Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams @ V&A

Exhibition of Christian Dior designs, from 1947 to the present day. Open daily 10am-5.45pm. Tickets: £20-£24. Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL. Nearest station: South Kensington. For more information, visit the V&A website.

  • 3 February : The Vintage Collections

Vintage fashion fair comes to the stunning art deco surrounds of Freemasons Hall, featuring 50 traders, cocktails and afternoon tea. 11am-5:30pm. Entry: £5 (£2 with NUS card). Freemasons Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5AZ. Nearest station: Holborn or Covent Garden. For more information, visit the Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair website.

  • 3 – 9 February : Pisco Sour Week @ Mr Foggs Society of Exploration

A special menu will be on offer all week celebrating Peru’s iconic cocktail. Relax with a concoction in the Map Room or the Train Carriage. Open Mon-Sat 4pm-12am. Mr Foggs Society of Exploration, 1A Bedford Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9HH. Nearest station: Charing Cross or Covent Garden. For more information, visit Mr Foggs website.

  • 3 February – 19 March : Festival of New Masculinity

Inaugural festival from the Book of Man, featuring 10 events across two east London venues. Exploring issues facing modern men today. Including live podcasts, special guest panels, photography exhibition, grooming lounges, boys brunches, and a Penis Gallery. Ticket prices vary. Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, 2-4 Hoxton Square, Hoxton, N1 6NU and the Book Club, 100-106 Leonard Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 4RH. Nearest station: Old Street. For more information, visit the Book Of Man website.

  • Now until 3 February : London International Mime Festival

Festival at various events across London including performances of physical theatre, dance, circus, puppetry and live art. Workshops also available. Tickets range from £12.50-£30. Venues include the Barbican, Jacksons Lane, Platform Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, Shoreditch Town Hall and Southbank Centre. For more information, visit the Mime London website.

  • Now until 3 February : Take A View exhibition

Exhibition of the winning and shortlisted images from this year’s Landscape Photographer Of The Year are on display on the balcony at Waterloo station. Open during station hours. Free. Mezzanine level, Waterloo Station, SE1 8SW. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Take A View website.

  • Now until 3 February : Destinations – the Holiday & Travel Show

Travel show, featuring tourist boards, travel agencies, cultural entertainment, world food and drink, travel celebrities, talks, presentations, workshops, panel sessions and more. Open 10am-5.30pm. Tickets: £11 in advance. Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information and tickets, visit the Destinations – Holiday & Travel Show website.

  • 4 February : The WineBarn’s Annual Portfolio Tasting

An evening of German wine, featuring over 120 to choose from and learn more about how the wines are made. 6pm-8pm. Tickets: £35pp. Army & Navy Club, 36-39 Pall Mall, St James, SW1Y 5JN. Nearest station: Green Park. For more information, visit the Wine Barn website.

  • 6 – 7 February : Dining With Daisy Supper Club @ The Little Blue Door

Hollyoaks actress and foodie Daisy Wood Davis teams up with the flatmates to host a supper club over two nights. The four-course menu features sentimental dishes with names such as The Hangover, Scampi Fry @ The SU, and Lambrini Sundae. 7pm-9.30pm. Tickets: £40. The Little Blue Door, 871-873 Fulham Road, Fulham, SW6 5HP. Nearest station: Parsons Green. For more information and booking, visit DesignMyNight. Read Metro Girl’s review of, The Little Blue Door.

  • 8 February – 2 June : Swinging Sixties exhibition

New exhibition celebrates the fashion, textiles, homewares and furniture of the Swinging Sixties. Including vintage designs by Mary Quant, Laura Ashley and Terence Conran. Open Tues-Sat 11am–6pm, Thurs until 8pm, Sun 11am–5pm. Tickets: £9.90. Fashion & Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XF. Nearest station: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the museum website.

  • 9 February – 10 March : Orchid Festival

An orchid display is coming to the Princess of Wales Conservatory for four weeks, with this year being inspired by Colombia. General entrance tickets to Kew Gardens includes orchid exhibition: Adults £18.15, Children (4-16yr) £4.95. Kew Gardens, Brentford Gate, Kew, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Celebrate Chinese New Year in Chinatown and Trafalgar Square

  • 10 February : Chinese New Year

Festivities to mark the Year of the Pig take place across Chinatown, Shaftesbury Avenue and Trafalgar Square. The parade from north of Trafalgar Square to Shaftesbury Avenue will start at 10am. From 11am-6pm there will be performances from Chinese artists in Trafalgar Square. Free. Nearest stations: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, check out Visit London.

  • 13 – 17 February : Ealing Music and Film Festival

Five day festival in Ealing featuring musical performances, film screenings and walks. Events take place at various venues, including St Mary’s Church in South Ealing, St Mary’s Perivale, University Of West London, the Brentham Club, St Barnabas Church and MetFilm School. Tickets range from free to £25. Nearest stations: Ealing Broadway or South Ealing. For booking, visit the Ealing Music & Film website.

  • 13 – 24 February : Imagine Children’s Festival

Two week children’s festival at the Southbank Centre, including art, theatre, books, music, performances and workshops. Including Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Chris Riddell, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Peppa Pig, Nadine Kaadan, the Singing Mermaid and more. 10.30am-4pm daily. Many activities and events are free, but some go up to £16. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information and booking visit the Southbank Centre website. Read the rest of this entry

The best shows to see at Vault Festival 2019 as London’s fringe fest returns to Waterloo

Find out what shows to check out at this year’s Vault Festival, the capital’s very own fringe arts festival running from 23 January – 17 March.

vault festival © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

The Vault Festival returns to Waterloo

Vault Festival is returning to Waterloo this January for two months of entertainment. London’s very own fringe festival is back in the atmospheric Victorian tunnels below Waterloo mainline station. Over eight weeks, over 2,000 artists will perform in over 400 shows. Londoners will be entertained by theatre, comedy, cabaret, immersive experiences, late night parties and more. Now in its seventh year, Vault Festival runs from 23 January to 17 March 2019. As well as giving a platform to rising new talents from the arts world, proceeds from ticket sales go to Help Refugees and Child.org’s Team Mum campaign.

Here’s Metro Girl’s recommendations of shows to check out at the Vault Festival 2019:

  • Fool Britannia

Pay a visit to Britain’s worst school! Masters of the absurd Dan Lees and Neil Frost take you back to your school days with an hour of side-splitting comedy. Taunt the supply teacher, bunk off PE and get caught smoking behind the bike shed.

23 – 26 January. Brick Hall @ The Vaults. Tickets: £12. For more information and tickets, click here.

Yours Sincerely © elafris photography

Yours Sincerely
© elafris photography

  • Yours Sincerely

A queer coming-of-age comedy exploring the complications of communicating in the 21st century. After accidentally stealing 300 2nd class stamps, Will Jackson decides to revive letter writing as he puts pen to paper and gets in touch with old friends and ex-boyfriends. Based on actual correspondence, Will tells the story through the letters and lip-sync cabaret. The show was originally produced by the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in November 2018 for their Foundry Artist festival.

30 January – 3 February. Cage @ The Vaults. Tickets: £12. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Salaam

A thought-provoking new play by Sara Aniqah Malik explores what it means to be a Muslim in London today. Telling the story through two Muslim women using live music and performance, Salaam explores mental health issues and racial abuse.

30 January – 3 February. Cavern @ The Vaults. Tickets: £15. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Infinity

Go on a universal quest to find hope in a galaxy of loneliness. A lone astronaut is on a one-way mission the edge of the universe. This Dublin Fringe play is presented by Nessa Matthews with Eoghan Carrick.

6 – 10 February. Network Theatre. Tickets: £12. For more information and tickets, click here.
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Latin grooves, Afro beats, brass band remix and more at the London Remixed Festival 2019

London Remixed Festival

The London Remixed Festival returns to Rich Mix

Returning to East London to brighten up gloomy February is the eclectic London Remixed Festival. Over two days, 25 musical acts and DJs will be taking over four stages at Richmix in Shoreditch. Promising all of the fun and sounds of a festival without the mud and cold, the London Remixed Festival will feature Latin Grooves, Afro beats, Tropical Bass, Vintage-Remix, Desert Remix, Balkan Beats, Urban Roots, Acoustic Soundclash and Brass Band Remix.

Among the fabulous names performing are Sam And The Womp with their soundsystem show of Balkan-influenced heavy dance beats. London Remixed Festival’s very own new UK Garage Orchestra will be performing UK garage classics with the Blue Lion Band and special guests MCs. Meanwhile, The True Stays will be playing vintage rock ‘n’ roll in the Folk Ghetto.

On Friday night, the Brass Off stage curated by Continental Drifts features Deadbeat Brass vs Das Brass. On Saturday, revellers will be spoiled for choice with severals stages to choose from, including Tropicarnival curated by Wormfood + Movimientos; Polka Club curated by Continental Drifts + MARSM; and the Folk Ghetto curated by Fire in the Mountain + Woodburner. There will also be the popular Silent Disco, with music from PantherPanther, DJ Hiphoppapotamus, Ecklectic Mick and Madame Electrifie.

  • The London Remixed Festival takes place from 1-2 February 2019. Open: Fri 8pm-1am, Sat 8pm-4am. Tickets: £11.19–£21.79. Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E1 6LA. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Old Street. For tickets, visit the London Remixed Festival website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in Febuary, click here.

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Where to celebrate Burns’ Night 2019 in London

A guide to London’s best Burns’ Night events

© The Little Blue Door

Celebrate Burns’ Night with Mac & Wild haggis pops at The Little Blue Door

A cold January night is the perfect time to tuck into some hearty Scottish fare and a dram or two of whisky. January 25 is an annual festivity to mark the birthday of Scottish poet Robert ‘Robbie’ Burns, who died in 1796. Traditionally, people feast on soup, haggis, tatties and neeps, washed down with lots of whisky to celebrate his life and poetry. With a host of Scots living in London, there are tons of Burns’ Night celebrations.

  • Burns’ Dinner and Music @ Boisdale Mayfair (22 – 26 January)

Scottish restaurant chain Boisdale will be hosting a series of Burns evenings, featuring four-course meals and matching wines and whisky with live bagpiper. Menus £74.50pp.

– Boisdale, 12 North Row, Mayfair, W1K 7DF. Nearest station: Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Boisdale website.

  • Week Of Burns @ Mac & Wild (22 – 28 January)

Scottish eaterie Mac & Wild will be celebrating with a whole week of Burns inspired menu and events at their two London locations. Including a Silent Ceilidh (25 Jan), Haggis Making Masterclasses and Burns’ Night tasting menu. Foods on offer include the Haggis, Neeps and Tatties Burger and Deep-Fried Mars Bars.

– Mac & Wild Fitzrovia: 65 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7PS (Nearest station: Oxford Circus) or Mac & Wild City: 9A Devonshire Square, City of London, EC2M 4YN (Nearest station: Liverpool Street). For booking and more information, visit the Mac & Wild website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of Mac & Wild.

  • Burns’ Night Supper @ Cub (25 January)

Progressive Hebridean Distillers (PHD) will be showcasing their Port Charlotte Whisky and The Botanist Gin at Cub. Guests will enjoy a Burns-inspired 10 course set menu of 5 dishes and 5 drinks. Tickets: £75pp.

– Cub, 153 Hoxton Street, Hoxton, N1 6PJ. Nearest stations: Old Street or Hoxton. For more information, visit LyanCub.com.

  • Bobby Burns Party @ The Little Blue Door (25 January)

The flatmates from The Little Blue Door are teaming up with Scottish foodies Mac & Wild, Islay legends Port Charlotte Whisky and The Botanist Gin are hosting a Robbie Burns’ party. Featuring complimentary drinks and Haggis Pops. Dress code: Tart or tartan. From 7pm-1am.

– The Little Blue Door, 871-873 Fulham Road, Fulham, SW6 5HP. Nearest station: Parsons Green. For more information, visit The Little Blue Door Facebook page. Check out Metro Girl’s review of The Little Blue DoorRead the rest of this entry

Did you know there’s a piece of the Berlin Wall in London?

Berlin Wall London © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

A piece of the Berlin Wall stands in Lambeth

This year marks 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. From 1961 to 1989, a guarded concrete barrier divided West and East Berlin. During its 28 year life span, over 80 people died trying to cross the wall. Finally, on 9 November 1989 the wall started to come down and was destroyed by Berliners, uniting the city once again. I was at primary school when the wall fell and remember my impassioned teacher telling us about this historic moment during assembly, which I was a bit too young to understand.

Various pieces of the Berlin Wall survive today. In the gardens of the Imperial War Museum in London, there is a piece of the wall complete with original street art. It features the words ‘Change Your Life’ in a giant mouth by graffiti artist Indiana (Jurgen Grosse). The 3.64 metre high section comes from near the Leuschnerdamm in the Kreuzberg district and was acquired by the Imperial War Museum in 1991. It is believed the slogan ‘Change Your Life’ may be from the German poem Archaischer Torso Apollos (Torso of an Archaic Apollo).

  • Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, Lambeth, SE1 6HZ. Nearest station: Lambeth North.

For more London history and architecture posts, click here.

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A reminder of Fleet Street’s tabloid past… and a rather creepy address

Sunday Post Fleet Street © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

The DC Thomsom building at 186 Fleet Street

Fleet Street is synonymous with Britain’s journalism industry, with most of the country’s newspapers having offices or headquarters in the area in the first half of the 20th century. While most of the papers have moved on to less central areas, such as Canary Wharf, Southwark and Kensington, there still lies some signs of their EC4 past in the heart of the City.

Standing at 186 Fleet Street is an old remainder of Fleet Street‘s tabloid heyday. No.186, along with 184 and 185 belong to DC Thomson – a Scottish publishing house and TV company. The Thomson family originally started out in shipping before branching out in publishing by buying the Dundee Courier and The Daily Argus in 1886. David Coupar Thomsom (1861-1954) established DC Thomson in 1905 as the family’s publishing assets expanded.

Sunday Post Fleet Street © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

The Sunday Post and People’s Friend is still in publication

Although DC Thomson were headquartered in Scotland, they established a London base to cover relevant stories. Prior to the current building, the site featured the street’s last early 17th century timber-framed buildings before they were demolished.

No.186 was built around 1913 by Meakin, Archer and Stoneham. The architecture practice had an office in Nicholas Lane near Monument and also designed The Strand Cinema Theatre in 1910 (it closed in 1953 and although the façade remains at No.428 The Strand, the auditorium has been demolished). The practice changed in 1916 with Edgar Percy Archer and Frederic Martyn Stoneham remaining in partnership together after Meakin left.

The façade of the building features glazed red bricks with stone dressings. Five of DC Thomson’s titles were written across the building in mosaic bands as a form of advertising. Four of the five titles are still in publication, with The People’s Journal having folded in 1986 after a 128 history. The remaining publications are Dundee Courier (founded 1801); Dundee Evening Telegraph (founded 1877); Sunday Post (founded 1914) and People’s Friend (founded 1869).

In 2014, DC Thomson extensively renovated their London and Dundee offices. However, just two years later, DC Thomson took the decision to close their editorial office, which meant the last journalists to work on Fleet Street were leaving. DC Thomson continues to own the building, with advertising staff remaining on site.

As well being the home to the last Fleet Street journalists, 186 Fleet Street is also where fictional murderer Sweeney Todd’s infamous barber shop was located. The Victorian villain was known to dispatch his victims into the cellar from his barber’s chair and slit their throats with his razor. His sidekick Mrs Lovett then baked their remains in meat pies.

  • 186 Fleet Street, City of London, EC4A 2HS. Nearest station: Chancery Lane.

For more London history and architecture posts, click here.

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PsychoBarn at the Royal Academy: A slice of Hollywood horror on Piccadilly

PsychoBarn © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

PsychoBarn in the courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts

Standing in the courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts this winter is a piece of Hollywood horror. Transitional Object (PsychoBarn) is an architectural installation by English artist Cornelia Parker. The 30ft high structure is inspired by the Bates Motel in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic Psycho. The house in the movie, where Norman Bates lived with his mother Norma, was modelled on Edward Hopper’s 1925 painting, the House By The Railroad.

Parker’s scaled-down structure was first exhibited on the roof of New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2016. It was erected in London in September 2018 and will remain in situ until March 2019. Transitional Object is not a real building, but a façade. While it looks like a traditional, all-American red barn, the dark windows, distressed paintwork and little signs of ‘life’ give it a creepy vibe – much like the house in the film.

  • Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), The Annenberg Courtyard, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts, 49-50 Piccadilly, Mayfair, W1J 9ER. Nearest station: Green Park or Bond Street. Will remain in place until March 2019. Open Sat-Thu 10am–6pm, Fri 10am–10pm. Free to view. For more information, visit the Royal Academy Of Arts website.
PsychoBarn © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

The piece was first exhibited in New York

For a guide to what else is on in London in Febuary, click here.

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Guide to what’s on in London in January 2019

All the best events and festivals in London in January 2019.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

The Winter Lights Festival lights up Canary Wharf

Happy new year! 2019 is here and we’ve got a whole 12 months to have fun in the capital. With many of us feeling a little light in our purses this month after the excesses of Christmas and New Year.

This January sees a host of arts and entertainment festivals, light shows and more, with many events free. Here’s Metro Girl’s round-up of the best events in the capital this January 2019.

For a guide to London’s Valentine’s Day events for singles and couples, click here.

  • 1 January : New Year’s Day Parade

Hundreds of thousands of spectators will line the streets of London to watch 10,000 performers from around the world. Starts from Piccadilly’s Berkeley Street at 12pm, ending at Parliament Square at 3.30pm. Free. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus, Westminster or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the Parade website.

  • Now until 5 January : Alice In Winterland

A new lantern festival sees the characters of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland brought to life with over 160 giant lanterns and immersive experiences, such as sliding down the rabbit hole and tea cup rides. There’s also a Santa’s Grotto on-site. Tickets: Adults £15, Children 4-16yrs £9. Southwark Park (Paradise Gate entrance), Jamaica Road, SE16 4RS. Nearest stations: Canada Water or Rotherhithe. For more information, visit the Alice In Winterland website.

  • Now until 5 January : Christmas at Kew

A one mile glittering trail which weaves its way through Kew Gardens with stunning sights lit up upon the way. There will also be Santa at the North Pole Village, a Tunnel of Light, vintage rides, festive food and drinks. 5-10pm. Tickets (advance): Adults £19.50, Children £12, Under 4 free. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.

  • Now until 5 January : Christmas In Leicester Square

The West End’s famous square will feature a Christmas market and Santa’s Grotto. A Spiegeltent will play host shows including Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel, Briefs: Close Encounters and Club Briefs. Free entry to Leicester Square, but tickets required for Santa’s Grotto and the Spiegeltent. Leicester Square, WC2H. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Christmas In Leicester Square website.

  • Now until 5 January : Moonshine Saloon

A new immersive cocktail experience from the same team behind Alcotraz. Bring your own liquor to the Wild West and learn about the dark world of moonshining. Dress in cowboy gear and Stetsons and let experienced mixologists whip up some cocktails using your spirit of choice. Open Wed-Fri 6.15pm-10.15pm, Sat 12.15pm-11pm. Booking fee: £33.99 (includes 4 cocktails from brought drink of choice and 1hr 45m inside the saloon). 535 Kings Road, Fulham, SW10 0SZ. Nearest station: Fulham Broadway. Bookings can be made on the Moonshine Saloon website or DesignMyNight. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the pop-up.

  • 6 January : Twelfth Night Celebration

Theatre company the Lions Part host their annual celebration of the new year, ‘mixing ancient seasonal customs with contemporary festivity’ in the Bankside area of London. From 2pm. Free. Outside Shakespeare’s Globe, Bankside, SE1 9DT. Nearest stations: Blackfriars, London Bridge or Southwark. For more information, visit the Lions Part website.

  • Now until 6 January : Winter Wonderland

The south east corner of Hyde Park is transformed into a Christmas fair with rides, food and drink stalls, ice rink, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Berserk, The Sooty Christmas Show, The Magical Ice Kingdom, Backyard Cinema‘s Snowman Experience. and more. Open 10am-10pm daily. Free to enter. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner, Victoria, Knightsbridge or Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of the Snowman Experience

  • Now until 6 January : Disney On Ice – Dream Big

Some of your favourite Disney characters take to the ice for a show for all the family. Show times vary. Tickets: £32.25-£91.50. The O2, Peninsula Square, Greenwich, SE10 0DX. Nearest station: North Greenwich. For more information, visit the Disney UK website.

  • Now until 6 January : Backyard Cinema Presents: The Snowman™ Experience

A cinematic walk-through experience to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Snowman. The classic book and short film is brought to life in an immersive experience. Times vary. Tickets (vary between standard, off-peak, and peak): Adults/teen £9.95-£14.95, Children £6.96-£12.95. Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, W2. Nearest stations: Hyde Park Corner or Marble Arch. For booking, visit the Winter Wonderland website. Read Metro Girl’s review on the Snowman Experience.

  • 9 January – 3 February : London International Mime Festival

Festival at various events across London including performances of physical theatre, dance, circus, puppetry and live art. Workshops also available. Tickets range from £12.50-£30. Venues include the Barbican, Jacksons Lane, Platform Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, Shoreditch Town Hall and Southbank Centre. For more information, visit the Mime London websiteRead the rest of this entry