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.