Pick of the line: From Larry Lamb to London jazz 2/12/2011-8/12/2011

Larry Lamb stars in Aladdin this Christmas pic: Ashcroft Theatre

Friday Dec 2 – Aladdin at Ashcroft Theatre in Croydon

Croydon’s panto opens on Friday, and what better way to get into the Christmas sprit than a nice bit of ‘he’s behind you’ after a few pints of mulled cider?  Larry Lamb, star of Eastenders and Gavin & Stacey will be at his most villainous as he takes the part of baddie Abanazar. Judging by the photos, the costumes alone warrant a visit to what is sure to be an hilariously over the top night. The show runs until the January 2, and you can book tickets here.

Christmas comes to Deptford pic: Fanny Shorter

Saturday Dec 3 – Christmas Open Studios at Cockpit Arts in Deptford

Cockpit opens its doors as part of GIFTED, a weekend of art and design in Deptford. A wonderful alternative to trawling the high street for Christmas gifts, the open studios will feature fashion accessories, jewellery, home-ware and much more- perfect for stocking fillers! There will be workshops for children, and a prize draw to win a set of bespoke tree decoration makers. Mulled wine and mince pies will, of course, be on hand. For more information, or to book tickets, click here.

Sunday Dec 4 – Secret Sample Sale at Truman Brewery in Brick Lane

East London’s savviest bargain hunters will be out in force this weekend to take advantage of huge reductions on designer clothing at this sample sale. Discounts of up to 90% can be found on a veritable wardrobe of designer names, such as Gucci and Vivienne Westwood. Prices start from £5. Leave your hangover at the door, knock back some Red Bull and be prepared for some exceptionally sharp elbows- those fashionistas get vicious when a bargain’s at stake. Be there for the 12pm opening.

Maciej Obara comes to the Vortex pic: Grzegorz Chorus

Monday Dec 5 – Maciej Obara Quartet at Vortex Jazz Club in Dalston

What better way to shift those Monday night blues than with sax-led experimental jazz at this Dalston institution.  Touted as the rising star of the Polish jazz scene, Obara will be playing within the harmonic frame of Dominik Wania’s piano. Support comes from Tomasz Duda and the electro acoustic improviser Krzysztof Topolski, who weaves Duda’s saxophone into his electronic soundscape. Book tickets here.

Tuesday Dec 6 – Pub Quiz at Jam Circus in Brockley

From its origins in Goldsmith’s Student Union to its current home at Jam Circus, Jammy B’s Tuesday night pub quiz has been a regular on the south London scene for years. Rather than the usual crummy prizes, you can expect everything from Macbook Pros to prints by local artists. Just in case you thought it was all play and no work, an online leader board ensures all teams put in maximum effort. With quiz rounds changing each week, competitors are kept on their toes. Check out the blog for details on weekly themes and prizes.

Columbia road market pic: GanMed, flickr

Wednesday Dec 7 – Columbia Road Christmas shopping evening

Wednesday sees this historic cobbled street composed entirely of independent shops stay open late for Christmas shoppers. Famous for its flower market, Columbia Road is also home to art galleries, vintage clothes stores, antiques stores, perfumiers and cake shops. Some of east London’s best delis are also to be found here, so arrive hungry. You can also pick up some festive foliage to brighten your home, and of course, buy that obligatory spring of mistletoe. Click here for more information.

Inc Magazine launch pic: inczine

Thursday Dec 8 – Inc. Zine Launch Party at The Railroad Café in Hackney

Live music and poetry are on the cards to celebrate the launch of the latest Inc. Zine, a self-published magazine that brings together poets, spoken word artists, writers and illustrators together in unique projects. On the night guests will be treated to a performance by Radio 4 poetry slam champion Ben Mellor, music from indie folk duo The YuYa, and a gaggle of graphic illustrators will be scribbling all over the walls. All those attending will leave with a free copy of the new magazine, ensuring that even your bus ride home will be artful. Read more about the event before you head down.

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