Our North London Culture Tour in a DriveNow Talking BMW

Written by: Sophie Taylor

(Kindly sponsored by DriveNow)

His name is KITT and he’s a talking BMW

We begged the beauties of DriveNow to borrow one of their luxury cars again to zip about North London. We needed to get our culture fix and we needed to do it quickly. They said, “you know what? We’ve got just the car for you. His name is KITT and he’s a talking BMW”. I shit you not.

North Four, North London magazine, Parasol Unit Gallery, Islington, art, exhibition, article

So we changed our names to Michael Knight, threw on a leather jacket and curled our hair into a boosh only David Hasselhoff would fully comprehend. Not got the cultural reference yet? Sucks for you. Now quickly Google Knight Rider, have your life changed for the better and we’ll see you back here in a tick. You’re welcome.

It was time for our shadowy flight into the dangerous world of culture in North London. We were leather clad loners on a crusade to champion the cause of the dramatic, the bookish, the arty and the film buffed.

North Four, North London magazine, DriveNow, Islington, art, exhibition, Rana Begum, article, Parasol Unit Gallery
Keep your scanners peeled KITT

Stop One: Art
Parasol Unit Contemporary Art Gallery – Islington

We began in Islington, expertly nipping down an alleyway to find the Parasol Unit Gallery, all thanks to our chatty bimmer. Yep, savvy-minded KITT flagged up the congestion zone and showed us a fine-avoiding route straight to the gallery front door. Thanks babe.

Bangladeshi-British artist Rana Begum is currently showing her first solo presentation of past and recent works, titled ‘The Space Between’, until 18th September and we wanted to catch it before it ended. Using influences from constructivist and minimalist art, Begum creates two and three-dimensional works that masterfully fill the rooms like an absolute demon. The exhibition is accompanied by a limited edition of ten sculptural wall pieces. 

The standout piece for us was the new large-scale installation No. 670, 2016, a room of industrial steel-mesh fencing arranged into a large maze-like structure that we got lost in for a while before KITT flashed his headlights at us through the window. 

What is it mate? He was peering in and wanted to express his delight at the neon light piece that reminded him of his own dashboard.

“I discovered dynamic shifts in its colour and form,” he murmured, “light is a vitally activating element in all of Begum’s works, its shifts and changes producing an experience that is both temporal and sensorial” sounding less William Daniels and more scripted than ever. Yeah, we know you read all that in the exhibition pamphlet KITT, get over yourself.

The Space Between is on at The Parasol Unit until the 18th September, but if you can’t get yourself there in time the gallery run brilliant exhibitions, events, talks, workshops and film screenings throughout the year. 

North Four, North London magazine, Parasol Unit Gallery, Islington, art, exhibition, Rana Begum, article
Michael Knight: I need ya buddy!
KITT: Right away Michael.

Stop Two: Literature
The Muswell Hill Bookshop – Muswell Hill

We felt like a coffee and a good book after all that sculpture. So we put the pedal to the metal again and headed to Muswell Hill bookshop to see if we could nab some good finds. But not before grabbing a view from the top of Alexandra Palace car park.

“Whew KITT! Look at that. All of this world will be yours one day. The world… of the Knight Rider.”

KITT: “Get a life.”

“I got a life and a body, too, which is more than I can say for you.” 

North Four, North London magazine, Parasol Unit Gallery, Muswell Hill, article

Jeez. Time to leave the little diva in park mode and have an extended browse around Muswell Hill’s finest bookshop.

The Muswell Hill Bookshop is a long established independent bookshop on Fortis Green Road, who sometimes hold readings and signing events by various authors. As an indie set up they are selective and discerning with their stock, which makes for a pretty enticing browse. Thanks be to Hasselhoff above that we have our helpful car waiting outside to carry our stacks of literature. We load K.I.T.T. up with some crime-busting Ruth Rendell’s, Patricia Cornwall’s and a big old pile of Ian Rankin’s, which he was more than happy to cart about for us, like a handy DriveNow car should.

K.I.T.T: “Please do not refer to me as a ‘car’ or a ‘set of wheels’, it’s most demeaning. I’m the Knight Industries Two Thousand.”

Wow. We almost forgot just how much of a complete sass master our BMW is.

North Four, North London magazine, Park Theatre, Finsbury Park, culture, article

On that note, we were ready to sit in silence in the dark and hope our diva hire car had calmed down in the interim. Off to the Park Theatre for a matinee methinks.

Muswell Hill Bookshop, 70 – 72 Fortis Green Road open Monday – Saturday 9.30am-6pm, Sundays 11am-4pm

A lone crusader in a dangerous world…

Stop Three: Theatre
Park Theatre – Finsbury Park

In association with The Other Cheek and Park Theatre, Cahoots Theatre Company present the first major revival of ‘The Roundabout’, a comedy by prolific British playwright J.B. Priestley. Directed by Hugh Ross, the show has been nominated for three Offie Awards and has been receiving some rave reviews.

North Four, North London magazine, Finsbury Park Theatre, to do September, article

We meet dysfunctional family The Kettlewell’s over one farcical weekend and gained insight into England in the 1930s, when social standings seemed to be on the cusp of changing. As all the reviews state, Bessie Carter is a real stand out performance and ‘a one to watch’ for sure in this witty yet touching production. 

The Roundabout is showing at The Park Theatre, Finsbury Park until 24th September. Tickets available here. 

We come out of the theatre giggling and see our BMW patiently waiting for us, chuckling away to himself too. 

“Something tickled your gearbox K.I.T.T?”

Turns out he’d spotted another hire car company vehicle and was less than impressed with their performance. 

K.I.T.T: “Terrific. The lights are on, but nobody’s home. Hilarious.”

North Four, North London magazine, DriveNow, car, culture, tour, article
My dear I’m a car, not a plane

Stop Four: Film
Picturehouse – Crouch End

We were rather excited about our next and final culture stop. Onwards, my good friend, to The Picturehouse cinema in Crouch End! The comfy sofas, buckets of hot popcorn and excellent in-house restaurant are calling to us. Sorry K.I.T.T, as much as we’d love to wheel you through the auditorium, drive-ins are no longer much of a thing. Never really were a thing at all here in the UK, I’m afraid (we blame rain). You’re a lone crusader in a dangerous world. For the next 90 minutes anyway. Keep that parking space secret dude, keep it safe.

Our shiny DriveNow BMW didn’t seem to care, still chuckling away to himself about the state of the other hire car he was now fervently trolling on Twitter.

North Four Magazine, North London, Drive Now, Crouch End, Picturehouse, Cinema, Film

We were lucky enough to catch the new Nick Cave film ‘One More Time With Feeling’. Showing as a one off one night only screening, this was a rare opportunity to preview the new Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album before it’s release date the following day.  We even had the chance to take in the 3D version. So we swapped our Ray-Bans for plastic specs and sat back, prepared to be blown away. 

Well, we’re ready to head home now after that cultural assault on our senses. No fuel costs, no strings with insurance, car tax and parking all included. Not bad for a day out. How was it for you?

K.I.T.T. “You’ve been stubborn, impatient and arrogant, drove like a maniac, were readily distracted by pretty girls and boys, and listened to perhaps the most appalling music to ever shatter my airwaves. I’ve had a blast.”

Thanks mate, it’s been special. Let’s shatter those airwaves some more with one more for the road, eh?

North Four, North London magazine, DriveNow, culture, tour, car hire, article

We connect our iPhone to the DriveNow Bluetooth speakers and zoom back home to the dulcet sounds of Hasselhoff circa 2006. Swoon.


Need a car and need it now? Make like Knight Rider and download the DriveNow app quick sharp to find a sassy little BMW or MINI nearby who can take you to the ends of the world and back (or perhaps just to the cinema with your mates…).

While you’re at it, enjoy free registration exclusively for you lucky North Four readers right about now, right about here.

*we cannot guarantee that the car will actually talk. In fact, if it does start talking be afraid, be very afraid.

Photos by Mike Barry

Brave Sir Robin Opening 14th December 2017
Eat & Drink

Local Thinking, Craft Beer Drinking: Brave Sir Robin Launches in Crouch Hill

Carouse founders Chris, Theo and Ben – the charming folk behind Kentish Town’s Rose and Crown – have a new venture afoot and we couldn’t be more bloody excited to see it. We’ve been creeping in their windows, peering through the paint and sneaking glimpses at builders’ bums for a few months now (okay, maybe not the last one), watching these guys transform this cosy corner of Crouch Hill into a rather cool little boozer. Now they’re opening and everyone is invited. Come one, come all, and try all 20 of their beers on tap with us.

Back of persons head with cigarette tucked over ear

Body Hammer: Clubbing, but not how you know it

Last month I decided to try clubbing again. I don’t quite know what came over me, but I actually (brace yourselves) enjoyed it. I went to Body Hammer’s monthly party in Manor House and I’m here to tell you to go too, whether you love clubbing, hate clubbing, or really couldn’t care either way. #notspon

Close up of person shoving a stuffed potato skin into her mount at Skins in The Magic Roundabout for North Four Magazine
Eat & Drink Events

Go Your Own Way at Skins' Fleetwood Mac & Cheese Night

Rich, fried, buttery, potato-y vessels loaded with flavor combinations that go down rather well with craft beer, late nights and good times. Ha, who am I kidding, EVERYTHING goes down well with beer. You heard that right buddy, loaded potato skins are back with a bang (and a generous portion of bacon) and are currently being served at Old Street's The Magic Roundabout by street food pop-up Skins and we could not be any happier. Well, unless they were to stuff it with, say, Mac and Cheese or risotto. Oh, that's exactly what they do? Well paint me green and call me a cucumber.

Christmas Gift Guide by Pretty Shiny Shop in Stroud Green North London
Lifestyle List

A Very Pretty Shiny Christmas Gift Guide

Magical gifts, wonderful gifts, marvellous gifts, beautiful gifts, gifts, glorious gifts glo-ri-ous giiiiiifts. Please Sir, I want some more. It’s that time of year again and whether you love it or loathe it gifts will be purchased and presented into expectant hands. Stroud Green's very own Pretty Shiny Shop have compiled a gift guide to help ease the shopping shock. Imagine only having to trot to your local gift shop and tick off your entire shopping list in one fell swoop. Done, finito, terminado! To make it that little sweeter, it's also all very affordable... so you won't even have to pick a pocket or two.

Three people clinking plastic glasses in the air in a tent with people in the background at Thor's Tipi Bar in Regent's Place
Eat & Drink Events

Drink, Feast, Conquer, Repeat. Thor's Tipi Bar Has Arrived.

Alright guys, it’s happening. The frosty charm of December is, once again, being beaten to a pulp by the capitalists’ wet dream: Christmas. The hideous twinkling of artificial outdoor lighting is starting to appear, with tourists flocking from far and wide to watch D-list celebrities press a button. Invitations to Christmas parties flood in from your multiple part-time jobs, ensuring you make bad decisions bi-weekly til next year. Supermarkets are selling 12-day advent calendars containing confetti, cookie cutters and candles for a flawless £50. And oh, how the mulled wine flows.

Girl peeking through gold and pink balloons at Top Balloon in Shop Stroud Green for North Four Magazine
Eat & Drink Events

Shop Stroud Green Christmas Trail 2017

Who doesn’t love a cheeky statistic, correctly sourced? You know we do. Well, did you know that for every £1 spent with a small business, 63p is re-spent in the local area, as opposed to a measly 40p in every £1 re-spent locally with larger businesses? An absolute travesty, am I right? That 23p has to mean something, right, guys?! Guys? Guys, where are you going? Wait, there’s freebies involved too!

Eat & Drink Events Lifestyle List

Top 4 'Christmas is just a bad excuse for a' Winter Markets

By gum there are a lot of winter markets this year. Fueled by sickly sweet mulled wine and overpriced pulled pork sliders, we’ve managed to wade our way through the murky waters of winter markets and find some decent looking ones round this here part of town. Don’t let our Grinch-esq vibes put you off (I’m more of a Pancake Day person myself) because, if you’re into markets, you’ll probably like these. Read on, if you’re merrier than us.

The Vinteriors team and Mary le Comte at Moseyhome in Finsbury Park, North London for 'Style My Shop'.

Style My Shop: Vinterior x Moseyhome

Take a short walk along Finsbury Park’s own sunset strip and you’ll find MoseyHome, an interiors retailer and styling consultancy who have invited us to collaborate with them on an exciting new series titled 'Style My Shop', in which they invite some of London's most talented interiors experts to quite literally style their shop. Interiors porn at it's finest.

Eat & Drink Events List

Top Five "It's That Time Of Year Again" Things To Do This Winter

Why was the snowman sad? Because he had a meltdown. Much like us, every year, when winter comes. It’s cold, it’s dark, and we know Christmas is on its way. But hey, it’s not all bad – the events round this time of year can be pretty swell. So don your scarf-shawl-blanket and get your frolic on, it’s time for fairy lights, scarfing mulled wine and stuffing your face!

Hand feeling colourful splashes of artwork at Smith and Sinclair Flavour Gallery
Culture Eat & Drink Events

Suck it at The Flavour Gallery

Touch, taste, smell, hear and create art. Smith & Sinclair, purveyors of the Edible Cocktail, presents The Flavour Gallery: a multi-sensory adventure that’ll seduce your senses and tickle your taste buds beyond all imagination. Ooh matron!

Hodgepodge on Crouch Hill, North London. New restaurant opening November 2017
Eat & Drink

New Opening: Hodgepodge Crouch Hill

Offering modern British cuisine with a smokey twist, Crouch Hill's newest contender to its foodie scene, Hodge Podge, is all minimal styling and hearty yet inventive dishes.

Cartoon of vampires standing in tunnel for London Horror Festival
Events List

Top 4 ‘Eat, drink and be scary’ All Hallows haunts

Brush the cobwebs off your sexy banana costume; it’s that time of year to make a tit of yourself in fancy dress again. We’ve rounded up the most spine-chilling Halloween happenings in North London and, trust us, they sound horrendous. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Eat & Drink Events

The Moroccan Medina at The Queen of Hoxton Rooftop

God bless the Queen... of Hoxton. Or, more specifically, their rooftop - which happens to be one of our favourites in this here city of London. These guys are well known for creating beautiful, seasonal pop-ups which have included the Nordic Viking themed 'Skye Halla' and the Neverland inspired 'Bangarang'. This winter make way for 'The Moroccan Medina', a sky high hideaway inspired by the romanticism of the beguiling ancient city of Marrakesh.

Mento, floristry cafe in finsbury park, North London
Eat & Drink

Mento: Flowers and Coffee

Next time you need a caffeine hit why not take it from a cup brewed from Jamaican beans grown under a canopy of rainforest-preserving trees, whilst eating a home made vegan banana bread as you sit among an array of sweetly scented blooms. Welcome to Mento, Finsbury Park.

Eat & Drink

Pilgrim: A Unique Spanish Pop-up Dining Experience

Pilgrim, the newest kid to Hackney's pop-up scene, is a unique dining experience inspired by the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. This six course tasting menu includes regional dishes with a contemporary twist not yet seen before in London.