Thursday 2/12: Sinterklaas @ KK Outlet
Friday 3/12: The Poachers Pocket @ Towner & Hoxton
Saturday 4/12: Arts and Crafts Fair @ Peer Gallery
Sunday 5/12: Duvet Day @ Wherever You Like
Monday 6/12: Gandhi and Coconuts @ The Arcola
Tuesday 7/12: Quiz Night @ The Talbot
Wednesday 8/12: Brassroots @ Rich Mix
It’s the first Thursday of the month and that means one thing: free drink. All across London, galleries will dole out free wine and beer to impoverished artists and students who’ll gratefully lap it up whilst perusing the latest exhibition. It’s a win-win situation. The first Thursday of the month usually sees me at KK Outlet, a Dutch advertising agency that also operates as a shop and gallery, on Hoxton Square. This Thursday they will be welcoming a major Netherlands icon to their space – Sinterklaas (the really smart among you will have worked out that translates as Santa Claus). Apparently Sinterklaas is arriving on horseback and there will be an exhibition featuring Sinterklaas-related “oddities”. Free beer and a friendly continental version of Santa means you cannot go wrong.
7 – 9pm, Free
42 Hoxton Square, London N1 6PB
Towner and Hoxton are an East End duo that has set up a gallery in a former pet shop/illegal cabbies on Well Street in Hackney. Over the past couple of months they’ve transformed the place from a run-down ruin to a cosy venue complete with ROA (of Hackney Rabbit fame) graffiti. Jewellery makers and sign writers use the back rooms of the premises as studios, while exhibitions are held out front. This Thursday, Friday and Saturday the pair are hosting a pop-up restaurant called The Poachers Pocket.
Dinner has a hunting theme with venison and game both featuring on the menu, and vegetarians are catered for too. They’ll be serving food from 6 to 9pm but you can call in for cocktails any time before 1am. There is no cover charge but see the website for menu and prices. To book a table email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Towner and Hoxton Gallery, 233 Well Street, Hackney E9 6RG
Peer gallery and arts charity is hosting a Christmas arts and crafts fair this Saturday from 12 to 7pm. It’s the perfect place to pick up the sort of festive decorations you can’t find anywhere else. There will be hand-painted baubles by Tacita Dean and delicate snowflake drawings by Kathy Prendergast. The bah-humbugs among you can opt for a fake wall-mounted reindeer head or a little injured robin decoration by Siobhan Hapaska. There will also be mulled wine and mince pies for sale. Proceeds go to Peer. Admission is a measly £1.
Peer, 97/98 Hoxton Street, London N1 6QL
You’re not going anywhere. Sleet is forecast for Sunday so I implore you all to avoid being splashed with dark grey icy slush as you gallantly turn up to a social engagement, and take a duvet day instead. Order a take-away, pop on your long johns and prepare yourself a hot water bottle. You will obviously have to rouse yourself at about 8pm to watch the X Factor results show – the cast of Glee is singing and somebody is going home (my money’s on Mary). Once that’s over reach for the remote control and switch to Channel 4 for the third instalment of William Boyd’s Any Human Heart. How is our hero Logan Mountstuart going to cope with the sudden, brutal news of his beloved Freya’s death? It’ll be a girls-and-gin-filled hour-and-a-half.
Asha is a bored housewife who’s given up a life in Goa to move to East London with her husband in Bettina Gracias’ Gandhi and Coconuts. Faced with news reports full of date rapes and stabbings, racist abuse from the neighbours, and indifference from her hard-working husband, she turns to Gandhi and the Hindu gods for companionship and advice. Gracias has written a play about relationship ennui, culture shock and mental health and a uniformly excellent cast, directed by Janet Steel, has brought it to life in all its colourful vibrancy. Scenes that could have been cringe-worthy are rendered funny and poignant by this talented troupe of actors. My only gripe is that the director Steel could have got out her red pen to tidy up a few overlong scenes, but given that it’s such an enjoyable production, I’m happy to let that slide.
7.30pm Monday – Saturday (Until December 18)
£14 (£10 concession)
Tuesday Nights: Pay what you can (Subject to availability)
Arcola Theatre, 23-27 Arcola Street, London E8 2DJ
Some people treat pub quizzes as a bit of fun; turning up with a few friends, dawdling over the answers as they enjoy a pint. Idiots. You will never win with this haphazard approach. Bring your friend who doesn’t know the name of the largest landlocked country in the world (Kazakhstan) to Orange Wednesday but leave him at home on a Tuesday night. You’ll need to think strategically about your team so you have all the bases covered – geography, history and politics, sports, stupid riddles and anagrams, TV, music and film. Once you’ve assembled your dream team make your way to The Talbot and wait for sweet victory to be yours. The quiz starts at about 8/8.30 but be there at 7.30 to make sure you get a table. £2 per person.
The Talbot, 2 Tyrwhitt Rd, London SE4 1QG
My upstairs neighbour is learning how to play the trumpet. Every Sunday at noon he starts practising and given that I live in a badly insulated block of flats I can hear every note. And he only has three of them. The whole thing could have turned me off brass instruments but instead I have turned to Bethnal Green band Brassroots who can actually play whole songs on their trumpets. And they play songs that you would never expect to hear being played by a seven-piece brass band like Karma Police and 7 Nation Army. The result is unexpectedly fun and will have you dancing around the bar of the Rich Mix arts space when they perform there this Wednesday.
35 – 47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA