Sunday, December 27, 2009

Is your Landlord Taking the piss? Name and shame your landlord or agency on

I've lived in London for almost six years and have had some real nightmare landlords and letting agencies.  Once, my flat on Holland Road got flooded and the agency simply put new floorboards over it. I later found out they did it every couple years, when the basement flat got flooded. Not shocked that the whole place smelled damp all the time. 

Because finding property in London's a freakish nightmare from which there's no espace, we often have to compromise something. Certainly, you won't rent a seemingly decent flat that you can actually afford just because your landlord's a total sadist. 

So, instead, there's this site where you can complain, vent and share pictures when your landlord screws you. Talking about it helps.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's the simple things - FunkInYou, KOKO, Camden, N1

FunkInYou is another promoter / club night adding itself to the London club pile. DJs and performance artists, usually at KOKO in Camden. The Christmas Party wasn't exactly full and there were quite a few Melvins, Wallys and Goobers in the ground. Nerds with shirts buttoned up high like religious zealouts. And, like every proper, over-promoted club night, I even spotted a few over-50s in the crowd along with plenty of teenagers.

But with a venue as massive and comfortable as KOKO, I didn't care either. The music wasn't cutting edge but enough to send me and my date bouncing gleefully to the oldschool dance classics. The DJ (@Akross) didn't break any new ground, but it was more than good enough.

KOKO also lets you chill in many of the quieter parts of the club, with couches and space where you can have a proper mini chillout or special-touchy time. And, for the gentlemen out there, the talent was more than ample enough to make some special friends right on the night.

Performance artists include human statues, stiltwalkers (who most stand) and, the highlight, a lady throwing sparks with a grinder and a piece of metal....strapped to her crotch. There was also a confetti drop that I missed. Considering the early tickets were 15 quid, this was time well spent. The video above is from one of the busier, more Essexy, summer parties - but I was quite happy to have plenty of space to get my boogie on and lie down when I felt like. Underattended club nights have their many charms.

  • KOKO is an amazing venue to club in
  • Great ratio
  • Decent, if not great, music

  • I find it annoying when DJs talk on the mic. DJs shouldn't have a mic.
  • £15 isn't that cheap
  • KOKO charges you twice if you want to get your coat tout of coatcheck to smoke

  • Buy on their website instead of Ticketweb, save yourself 2 quid per ticket
  • Don't check your coat, there's plenty of space to hide it in the club

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ponces, fine. Russian gangsters, ergh. Ten quid cover on a Monday? Screw you Apartment 195, Chelsea!

My chick and I were pretty stoked to get invited by s brand new artist friend to his 'show'. We'd met him at a Drunken Balordi gig - free, somewhere in north Shoreditch and full of the kind of wild-haired, indy art kids you'd expect to find around there.

So imagine our surprise when asked to pay Chelsea's dreary looking Apartment 195 at 195 Kings Road, SW3 5ED, ten quid to go check out this art stuff. And hey, ten quid for cover on a Thursday - fair, on a Friday or Saturday, bargain! On a Monday? That's massive balls. The place was filling up with big haired Chelsea kids in their cashmere jumpers and shiny, shiny shoes - and I did catch a couple of archetypical Russian 'gangsters' on my way out (if you wear all black and shave your head and don't smile, there's a good chance your name is Sergei and you collect debts.)

So, to Apartment 195 (dreariness pictured) and all other Chelsea ponce spots, I say, no more. The good, none-trustfunded people of London won't tolerate your wannabe exclusivity. Let us overpay for your beer with no cover or face our collective wrath of going to a pub instead, as we ended up doing.

Good decor

Filled with new money and month and the less-stylish among the Chelsea trustafari community

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The RAF Museum - NW London, Free entry and childlike fascinatingness!

Stranraer biplane flying boat seaplane RAF Museum LondonThis one is a bit more Marmite. And, I have to say, loving or hating this museum, devoted to the rich history of the Royal Air Force seems to cut down gender lines. It seems, for some probably-complicated, anthropological reasons, boys love toys and girls don't. Big, gleaming, triumphs of engineering and necessity, cobbled together under threat of defeat and destruction, to fly and bomb and shoot and fight and win or fall out of the sky in flames.

If even that very though, or the picture of the awesome Supermarine Stranraer seaplane flying boat propellor biplane thing to the right, get you all excited like a kid - there's a pretty good chance you're a guy. But hey, with free parking, free entry and a high something-different factor, I'm gonna try coming back with my girlfriend anyway. I think it's a unique and cultural London date idea and if you're dating someone who doesn't, stop it. And, if you're in the aerospace and defence business - this is where you need to book for your next conference, as the place I work at did. It's living history - and if you take the tour - you learn about the ridiculously brave, brass balled guys and girls that strapped on these gorgeous weapons of mass destruction.
Stranraer biplane flying boat seaplane
Nearest tube is Colindale or set the sat-nav to NW9 5LL

  • Every part of it's free
  • They have one of a kind planes from when planes looked cool.
  • Until you've seen a Lancaster Bomber and heard its story, you haven't museumed. 
  • Bring the kids and teach em something. Maybe the won't carry a knife later.
  • Toilet's through the giftshop. You'll buy something
  • Kids
  • Food sucks for visitors, rocks for corporate events.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Clinic - Monday Night standup comedy in Hammersmith - DISTILLERS, Hammersmith, W6 9PH

It's just so good to have a laugh on a Monday night. And it tastes that much sweeter when you only pay £3 to get in. It's called The Clinic because even almost-known comics will take their raw material here to do some experimenting.

With an average audience size of about ten, this place gives comics a chance to try out some stuff and see if people laugh. Often, you won't, but sometimes you will - and I always happen to think intense unfunniness is funny (think Alan Partridge).

And it's right by one of the best connected tube stations in London - Hammersmith!

Mondays 7:30 til about 11 at the Hammersmith Distillers
Official Comedy Clinic site here


  • You have to go downstairs to get another drink.
  • A lot of the jokes flop

  • 3 quid entry
  • A lot of the jokes flop

Friday, November 13, 2009

Good West London gig venue AND it has cheap drinks?? Hell yes! Liquid Nation - 161-165 Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, London, W10 6HJ

"Hey, Shoreditch. You should come to Shoreditch, it's all about Shoreditch"
"But I live in Hammersmith. It's like an hour, dude!"
"Nothing happens in West London, China!"

I've had like forty of these conversations. I'm the one that lives in West London and I'm cool with that. In fact, I prefer it. But, let's face it, this side of London feels a little dead compared to all the poetry-reading, cutting-edge music, artsy fartsyness of where all the students and gangs live.

I'm always looking for signs of life on this side of L-town and Liquid Nation is precisely what this part of town needed.

Read carefully - all drinks - beers, cocktails - and food (burgers) are ALWAYS 2.50 and there's never a cover.

And, as if that wasn't enough, the place is huge and usually mostly empty. Comfy indoor space, comfy outdoor spaces, it's a good place to be. And with cheap drinks and, genuinely good bands any given day. Andrew Lewis, the inhouse DJ / promoter / I think he busses glassware sometimes too, knows his obscure dance hits and is happy to take some requests. It's really everything you want, unless you want some East London, 'I'm a painter and my mom bought me a flat' trustafarianism.

Come for the cheap drinks, stay for the awesome indy bands. It's RIGHT by Ladbroke Grove tube station.

  • Cheap drinks
  • Cheap food
  • Free entry
  • Great bands
  • Good DJ
  • Cheap drinks, like reealy cheap
  • One time I ate too many angus burgers and was seriously sick
  • Ladbroke Grove is on Hammersmith and City line, which closes earlier

Check out what's happening there tonight on the Liquid Nation official site

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Medieval Banquet - Ivory House, East Smithfield, London, E1W 1BP

Do you like being yelled at? How about boiled, factory farmed chicken? Are there two twenty quid notes you really despise and want to dispose of? If the the answer is 'yes' to any of these, then I've got the ideal evening out for you! Medieval Banquet is, exactly as the name suggests, sitting at a long table with all of your friends in a gorgeous, dungeon-ish space.

You yell 'wench' when you want more beer and a show...of sorts takes place in front of you. It sounds different and cultural on paper and that's why, apparently, countless birthday parties, hen nights and family-friendly stag nights take place here.

And yet here's the thing. Actor-types, dressed in full, medieval getup, with hands-free mics, ala Britney Spears, will spend the night regaling you with shrill, almost incomprehensible 'entertainment'. Because of atmosphere-inducing, exposed brick walls, the hall reverberates like a bell. You can't hear your friends, nor casual acquaintances. You're just inundated with a cacophony of almost-white noise. I've never used the word cacophony before, but this place deserves it.

Now it's worth mentioning that the actors try hard. There's a sword fight you gather round for which is pretty good and various other bits are good. But, having paid at least 40 pounds for your seat, you'll be keen for it to be worth it. And then the food will arrive. I suppose it'd be historically accurate if it wasn't the cheapest, most Tesco-ish, factory farmed, white, ammonia-burned chicken cheapness can buy - all brought by a server who's serving maybe 60 people. So you won't see much of her. The best part about Medieval Banquet is you'll only ever go there once.

  • Some of the acting's alright.
  • Easy, uncreative way to do something different.
  • Great space.
  • Fancy dress optional, but neat.
  • Kids might like it - dumb ones
  • You'll go deaf without understanding a word.
  • Piss-takingly expensive
  • Food sucks.
See the Medieval Banquet promotional video here - if ye dare.