Noel Four: Begrudgingly Merry in North London
Written by: Violet Myers
Christmas; A Christian celebration marking the anniversary of the birth of little known lord, saviour and general good guy Jesus Christ, occurs on the 25th of December. For one day only.
However, the grand old tradition of overeating, public drunkenness, polyester novelty jumpers and irresponsible spending is at least a two month long ordeal, that we must all endure in own manner. Ways of avoiding this tinsel covered death march into debt and week long indigestion are limited. Other than travelling to a largely Hindu country and kicking it with Ganesh for a couple of months, we fear that escape is futile and we might as well try to begrudgingly be merry this Christmas.
Luckily for us, North London have some Yule-tide treats to add a rosy glow to even the sourest scrooge.
Ice Skate at Alexander Palace, Muswell Hill
Unlike those limited edition ice rinks that spring up all over London as soon as it gets a bit chilly, Ally Pally’s rink is open year round. With professional coaching sessions, ice-bound pantos and club nights – Club de Fromage hosts a frozen cheese session (which we hear is a delicacy in France) on the 27th of November.
Make Christmas Craft at Drink Shop & Do, King’s Cross
Lovely King’s Cross based cafe/bar Drink Shop & Do presents a day of Christmas craft. Materials are supplied and £9 gets you a whole day of fun and a Christmas cocktail – like you need an excuse you old drunks! 20th of December all day.
Watch Rapunzel at Park Theatre, Finsbury Park
No need to bluff your way through that Pinter, or waste energy pretending you know what’s going on in ‘Waiting for Godot’, no one really does… Here’s a story line even you lot will understand!
Take the pressure off and enjoy something that will leave you feeling fluffy, with no past Hollyoaks cast members guaranteed!
3 Dec 2015 – 2 Jan 2016
Have a Christmas sing-a-long at The Union Chapel, Islington
Prepare for plenty of static shocks – the energy and sparks from cheesy Yule-tide songs and cheap Christmas jumpers will be electric! Grab a partner and do the Rudolph, or relax with a mug of something mulled in one of London’s most beautiful venues.
17th December, Union Chapel is also open on Christmas day for a Christmas service
Shop at Islington Christmas Market
Part of begrudgingly being merry at Christmas is begrudgingly buying gifts for people you see but once a year. Fortunately Islington market has you covered.
With some kitschy wonders to blow that Argos water-bottle cover out of the water, take that Uncle Barry!
4th – 20th December
Get bendy for festive fitness, Yoga Flow, Finsbury Park
Before you entirely destroy the only body you’ll ever have with literal bucket loads of delicious trans fats, treat it to a special Christmas yoga session where all proceeds will go to charity. Ommmmm – my god that’s good karma!
20th December, 10.30 – 12pm
Buy a tree at The Christmas Forest, Finsbury Park
Honour one of the Western World’s strangest traditions by hauling a tree into your front room, decorating it with bits of glass and slowly watching it die. Hunting for an extra special tree to fill your home with pine needles and your cat to use as a climbing post? Look no further than Finsbury Park’s Christmas Forest.
26th November until Christmas Eve, 8am-10pm
Photographs by: Michael Barry
40FT microbrewery of Stokey / Dalston are opening up their Tap Room doors today for a sunny afternoon of refreshing beer tasting. Tucked just behind Dalston Curve Garden in the Bootyard, this beautiful courtyard of hops awaits for the most discerning of beer hunters.
If there ever was a way to strike the perfect balance between modern serenity and sham shackle beach hut chic, then Upper Street’s Trawler Trash have found it. The new seafood spot serves nothing but the ocean’s finest, but with a twist, they’re giving less well-known fish a platform to be experienced and gorged on by ravenous locals, hence the name ‘Trawler Trash’, because they literally ‘turn trash into treasure’.
Spirited away from the hubbub of the city, sitting on the bustling boundaries of Islington and Camden, a 65 metre wide gallery resides hidden behind the Attic Self Storage building in Kings Cross. Market Road Gallery is a newly opened space for everyone to contribute to. It is London’s first bookable open air public gallery. Everyone, from the neighbourhood cat to a fancy pants established artiste, can create artwork for the space.
Today Britain will relish (moan) in 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight, with the sun rising at 4:43am and setting at 9:31pm. It’s set to be a record breaking 33 degrees in London. I for one am going to need all the help I can get not to disappear like the wicked witch of the West into a sticky puddle on Stroud Green Road. Here’s our Solstice-worshipping, Pagan inspired tips for surviving the hottest and longest day of the year in London.
It’s time. Time to bask (complain) in the sun and ask why god why when will it end?? Yes, Summer is officially here for the week, the hottest week in the last 20 years. This Friday, Drum n Bounce are coming all the way down South to help us celebrate this fact, as healthily as possible. Right in the middle section of VeloPark (link) you can take part in uplifting and limbering flow yoga with Tammy’s Yoga before 45 minutes of energising drum n bounce aerobics. This is basically getting hot and fit and dancey to your favourite tracks before you head off in to the night (or bed) with a massive sweaty smile on your mug.
Next Friday night, ignore your mounting list of life admin and venture outwards into the ether for a misanthropic wine a plenty. It’s the Black Books pub quiz at The Duke of Wellington as part of their couch potato themed quiz series. Entry is a meagre £2 but you can win some cold hard real cash if you’re up on your Dylan Moran / Tamsin Greig / Bill Bailey shaped references.
Who are the Heather Brothers? It’s a question that’s been keeping me up at night. Ever since I was asked to review their latest musical, Holy Crap, I’ve been trapped in something of a Google wormhole. To begin at the beginning: the Heather Brothers are, depending on who you ask, a musical writing duo/trio/quartet. Born in London, they grew up in Zimbabwe, where they spent their teenage years performing in a fraternal rock band. Again, depending on who you ask, they were variously known as: The Chequers, The Three People or Quiet World.
“Arriving back in the UK, after a long time away, there seemed to have been a swing towards xenophobia and the dehumanizing and vilify of both migrants and refugees was happening at the highest levels. I wanted to create a short that would address this trend.” Director Daniel Mulloy
The gin enthusiasts down at Hendricks have decided to take these cucumber celebrations a slice further with their Cultivate the Unusual campaign. Encouraging gin fans to grow their own cucumbers over the last few months in preparation, Hendricks are asking us to bring said veggies to participating pubs and bars this Thursday 15th June. The Canonbury Tavern for example, will light up if you walk in with a cucumber and will proceed to exchange it for a free gin and tonic. Can you imagine?
Hang Up Gallery have some pretty hush hush news. And it goes a little something like this: Darryl ‘Run’ DMC McDaniels will be popping up in the Stoke Newington gallery this month to launch his new collection of works, The Art of DMC. This is the icon’s first London exhibition, showing new and unseen collection of ‘Darryl Makes Comics (DMC)’ Fine Art, a body of signed limited edition prints showcasing his underlying passion for comics.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the original Summer of Love ’67 where freedom of expression, art and love reigned supreme. #ShopStroudGreen are celebrating the fact with a Summer of Love Local weekend festival this June. Celebrate artistic expression and support local independent traders and makers with a weekend of live art, workshops and music (with a few special discounts, tasters and freebies for good measure).
Oh snap! Another general election looms. Whether you’re hopeful for a landslide win or a surprising wild card outcome, wipe the bitter disappointment from your tastebuds with some gins, ales, burgers and strong covfefe. Because let’s face, it will be neither of those results will it really? Find the perfect place for you to receive the bad news in good company.
Get a different perspective on the city you live in this June. Film London are holding a screening of archive footage of London’s outer boroughs through the decades, underscored by live music accompaniment. The best of London’s Screen Archives hugely successful project, London: A Bigger Picture will be shown, funded by Heritage Lottery three years ago.
We caught up with Snowy the Harringay Station cat to talk Twitter, working life and his unsavoury friendship with Gus the fox. Summer is coming and, in North London, that means it’s time to hit the train stations. So we took Snow the Haringey Station Cat and photographer Mike Barry tumbling across one of them: the undergrowth of Haringey Station. Then we sat down with Snowy for a raw conversation about how to move forward after things fall apart.
“You grow it, we mow it” might be their blasé catchphrase, but Rocket’s attitude to your haircut is far from casual. These guys are serious about hair and the person that grew it. Rocket Stoke Newington are holding a day of free beer and entertainment with your cut in aid of Men’s Mental Health Sunday this 12th June. Also known as “Chopping for Chazza”, there’ll be talks on mental health, stand up comedy and more from 12 - 5pm.
Unless you’re already working for charity or regularly ‘do your bit’, that £6 monthly donation to The Dogs Trust might not be doing enough to quash your conscience / save the world. Whether you’re doing it for experience, to reset your karmic balance or generally give back and help out, there’ll be a role out there for you. On the Volunteer Centre Camden’s website for example, there’s a handy search page that lets you filter through hundreds of opportunities by location, interest and activity.