Glitterboots’ Fandom Guide to London!
Ok so this is not going to be organized at all really… and if the read more didn’t work you’ll all hate me.
Everyone else will tell you to go Westminister Abbey and The London Eye (not worth it to ride) and stuff, so I won’t. Instead have a guide to all the things I really used to enjoy visiting when I lived in Oxford/London.
And if you want a guide to Oxford I can do one of those too… in excruciating detail. The only Boosh related trivia though is that Noel and company danced at a piano in The Randolph Hotel, and some bits from Childmen I’m pretty sure are from backstage at The New Theatre. Oh, and Robots played a gig at the O2 in Oxford not too long ago, and I apparently have a doppelganger there ‘cause when I started following Gemma Hill on twitter she thought we had eaten dinner together in a pub.
If you’re going to be in London though, Oxford is definitely worth a day trip. It’s beautiful, try to go punting, and if you can try to look at some stuff besides the obvious (Christ Church Cathedral and Christ Church Meadows, The Eagle and Child pub where JRR Tolkien used to write, Radcliffe Camera). Though the Ashmolean is definitely worth it. Also the only thing exciting about the library is the Duke Humphrey’s Library, where they filmed some of Harry Potter. It underwent some renovations or something last year though, and it isn’t a very pleasant place to study… also they probably charge for tours or something. I kind of hate the Bodleian since I pretty much lived there and I abhor the policy of not being able to check out books. Though I understand why, I was just never very good at the whole advanced planning method of research. I’m more of a- oh crap this paper is due tomorrow let’s start writing it at 10pm! type of student. Some of the times anyways.
Right, actual London stuff now.
Maison Bertaux- God I love this shop. Right now Noel’s exhibition is over, but the current one is Diva Zappa so that’s also cool. The cakes are really expensive at around 4 quid each, but they’re soooo good. I recommend the profiterole cake. Also the tea they serve here is delicious and basically like crack. Especiallyif you’re me and you can’t handle caffeine. I once had almost an entire pot to myself and then bounced around Leicester square like an idiot, and had started shaking with sweats and shivers by the time we got to Hammersmith to see this comedy show Noel pulled out of where he was replaced by Peter Serafinowicz. Total caffeine overdose. It’s also conveniently located in Soho, not too far a walk from all the shopping in Oxford Street, pretty much right next to Chinatown, and I consider it within walking distance from RADA. You might not.
Camden Markets- this can tell you in detail about the different markets and such. http://camdenlock.net/
But the one I think is the best is the Stables Market, ‘cause it’s just kind of a mad place. There are Chinese pagodas and hookah bars and giant horse statues all jumbled together in this indoor outdoor market. If you wander far enough into it you also run into Cyberdog, which is this wicked shop selling glow in the dark rave wear. They also have an over 18s basement section filled with all sorts of interesting stuff…
I also bought my red bowler hat from a shop in the Stables Market, and the guy asked me if I was on tv. Which oddly enough I had been the previous week ‘cause I was in the audience for Stand Up For the Week and they did show my face several times. I told him that and that I was also in the Daily Mail once, which is also true, but he eventually settled on believing he had seen my face on a poster somewhere ‘cause I told him I work in theatre. I’m guessing it’s more likely to be the fact that I’d been to the markets about a million times by then that made him think he’s seen me somewhere else before.
Camden Lock- Fun to hang around and watch the boats go through. Also there is a Starbucks that looks like a tiny medieval castle. I’ve seen all kinds of arguments and traffic jams on the lock, so it’s always entertaining. I contentedly watched boats for two hours here once while my friend got a tattoo from ASK Tattoo (http://www.asktattooandpiercing.co.uk/) I actually recommend AGAINST them if you’re thinking of getting a tattoo, though they do sound very good on the website, my friend and I found them very indifferent to what she wanted them to do. She ended up getting a tattoo anyways ‘cause she wanted a souvenir (she also has lots of tattoos) but what she really wanted them to do was make an existing tattoo of hers look really cool. The guy instead copied a design exactly from a book, when she said she wanted something like what was in the book and was hoping for a custom drawing, and then he kicked me out and wouldn’t let me watch. Which is bollocks. Your experience might be different though…
Hawley Arms- aka the pub the Boosh and Amy Winehouse used to hang out at. It’s actually very cool, serves pieminister pies (mmmm) and sometimes has Carrot and Coriander soup. Which makes me laugh. They also give you sweets with your bill. Very nice and quiet, just off the Camden High Street. If you walk just past the big blue Camden Lock sign (as seen in Sweet), and turn right at the intersection, it’s at the right. Google tells me this is Castlehaven Street.
KoKo- Genius place. Came here for an Amanda Palmer concert, which was the same day as Malcolm McLaren’s funeral procession. This venue has a huge history in punk music, so it was pretty awesome. This is also the location for filming of Stand Up For the Week, which is the most fun I’ve ever had at a television taping. It might not be that great a show to watch on the television, but it’s much funnier in person. Probably ‘cause you can buy drinks there, and they say all kinds of stuff that doesn’t end up on tv.
Underworld- another concert venue. I saw this semi-secret Amanda Palmer gig last year here, with Robots in Disguise opening. Fairly standard venue.
The Jazz Café- They also do concerts, and their 80s night was loads of fun. I’d check their schedule. I think on one of the commentaries or something Noel might have said something about his mum going here. In any event, if you like music they have lots of it. http://www.jazzcafe.co.uk/
The Roundhouse (more Chalk Farm than Camden)- Besides being a well known concert venue, and the place for the Boosh Zappa concert, this past fall they housed the RSC, and all of their productions are fantastic. They were also doing a bunch of outreach work which was really cool, but I won’t bore you with the details ‘cause it’s over.
RADA- I don’t know if you’re interested in drama, but the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (generally regarded as the toughest drama school to get in to, but everybody there is really wonderful) does weekend workshops, which are always loads of fun. They’re 45 pounds a workshop though, so if you’re not serious about it then it might be a stretch, but at the very least they’re a heck of a lot cheaper than voice lessons! http://www.rada.ac.uk/productions-and-events/workshops
185 North Gower Street- The Speedy’s Deli that is used as the exterior of 221B Baker Street in Sherlock.
SRO Audiences http://www.sroaudiences.com/ and BBC Audience tickets. http://www.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/tickets/
FREEEE! Need I say more? Ok well, you can get tickets for any shows you like and it’s awesome! I love television tapings. The best one I’ve been to has to be the aforementioned Stand Up for the Week one though, ‘cause I got priority seating so we got to sit at a little table and were on camera a few times, whereas everyone else had to stand. Also they let people buy drinks during the taping.
BAFTA- I believe I described it before, but you can see talks, premieres, etc. here and tickets are only 7.50 usually, plus they give out free champagne at the receptions afterwards. And most of the people who attend these things are BAFTA members (they can attend for free and it seems like most members of the public doesn’t know about it), so you’re rubbing elbows with the industry elite. BAFTA also runs workshops if you’re interested in film/television. Poke around their website a bit. The events can be found here though: http://www.bafta.org/whats-on/
Sherlock Holmes Pub- It’s so cheesy it’s awesome. I’m mainly a fan of coming here for dessert, since I think they have a really good sticky toffee pudding.
Just The Tonic @ Leicester Square Theatre- I have a complete love affair with Just the Tonic. http://www.justthetonic.com The guy that runs the club is super nice, and the people they have on there are always great quality. Plus the prices are fantastic- I think it’s 10 pounds on Fridays and 15 on Saturdays. This also happens to be the first place I saw Noel live- it was February of last year and he was still blonde, and his grey jeans had a huge hole in the upper thigh. Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre usually does at least one show there too. http://youtube.com/sitcomtrials
Joey Page- I love him. I’m probably his number one fan, lol. His style of stand up is very much like Noel’s, and he’s a real sweetheart. I saw him for the first time ‘cause he was on the bill with Noel at Just the Tonic, and then I saw his Edinburgh show as well, and me and my friend very conspicuously brought pens ‘cause we knew he had a bit about pens. We’re freaks. Alex Zane was also in the audience sitting behind me, and I inadvertently made him the object of my random hate during another part of the gig. Also Joey wears gold lame leggings. He also saw us more or less every day of the festival after that ‘cause he was always hanging out outside the Caves and we went to see every show at Just The Tonic. So yeah, if you can go see a gig with Joey Page, I highly recommend him. Tell him the girl from Edinburgh with the red bowler hat sent you. http://www.ents24.com/web/artist/89423/Joey_Page.html http://evoarts.org.uk/Evo-Arts/Joeys_Page.html
Paul Foot- I don’t think I need to explain. Here’s his website: http://www.paulfoot.tv
Covent Garden Market and the Royal Opera House- I love the jewelry at the Covent Garden Market. And it’s right next to the ROH, for which you can get 10 pound tickets at the very top if you like opera. I saw this amazing production of Cosi Fan Tutte there last year where the lead baritone was basically Russell Brand.
Chinatown- any restaurant will do pretty much. Good for dinner before a West End show ‘cause they tend to move people through pretty fast.
Museums- THEY ARE ALL FREE AND AS SUCH ARE ALL AWESOME!!! But specifically, The National Gallery is amazing, as is Tate Modern. The Portrait Gallery is also fairly interesting.
South Bank- National Theatre and The Globe- Brilliant, brilliant theatre can be seen at the National. And you can get 10 or 5 pound tickets on the day if you’re a student. The Globe isn’t always the best Shakespeare I’ve seen, but it is good and it’s something you just have to do really. You can also get 10 pound tickets on the day for shows here too. The Southbank is also just fun to walk around. There’s an outdoor used book shop, tons of street performers, and in summer they set up the Udderbelly, which is where I saw Eleanor the Tour Whore the first time. Coincidentally, Paul King, Noel, Lliana and Dave were all there too the night I decided to go. Man I’m starting to sound like a stalker. Which is just funny ‘cause I was honestly most excited to see Paul King. But I won’t go into it ‘cause I already bored people with an lj post about it when it happened.
PROMS- if you’re around in the summer, go to a proms concert at the Royal Albert Hall. 5 pounds for the top level. It’s definitely an experience, even if you don’t like classical music.
Harrods- shopping at Christmas is a nightmare, but it’s also one of those “must experience” kind of events.
PARKS- all the parks are beautiful. And again, free. You can rent little boats on the Serpentine in Hyde Park and in Regents Park, which was really popular during Freshers’ week at Central School of Speech and Drama. My favourite park is St James’ Park though, since it’s just about the right size, has loads of flowers, and you can easily go gawk at both Buckinham Palace and Downing Street from there.
Lovebox Festival in Victoria Park- also if you’re around in the summer, I kind of love this festival. It’s just the right size, no camping necessary, and really cool artists. Saw Paloma Faith last year, as well as Mark Ronson, Roxy Music, and Empire of the Sun. The only thing I’d say is don’t get seduced by the after party tickets. The Bocking St. Warehouse party kind of sucked. Maybe the one at Fabric was better, but I dunno.
Fabric- club, mentioned in the Boosh I don’t know how many times, and I think it’s like number two in the world or something right now. http://www.fabriclondon.com
Shoreditch High Street- loads of bars and pubs, but definitely go with a group of people. You might know this one from Nathan Barley.
Wimbledon- if you like tennis and are around in the summer, it’s loads of fun. The only advice I have though is to queue early. Really early. Get there by at least 4:30am if you want to get in. If you want centre court tickets, camp out the night before. If you don’t like tennis, it’s still really beautiful to tour when the tennis isn’t on.
Foyles (the bookstore) on Charing Cross Road in Soho. Go and watch the actors reading up on the current plays. Foyles always keeps copies of everything that is showing on the West End handy, which is damn useful if you need to audition for these things.
Phoenix Artists Club- It’s practically across the street. You have to buy a membership to get in, which is understandable since it’s where a lot of well known actors and networking unknown actors will go after their shows for a drink. So it’s great for people watching. I know how you can legit get in without a membership every other Tuesday, however, but you’re better off messaging me about it ‘cause I don’t think the privilege should be abused so I won’t post it publicly. Important to read about access: http://www.phoenixartistclub.com/membership.html
Places I’ve not actually been (yet) but are probably worth investigating:
The Hen and Chickens pub in Islington. They still have shows there. http://thehenandchickenstheatrebar.co.uk/
Alexandria Palace- historical, used to be the television and radio center, as seen in The Idiot’s Lantern episode of Doctor Who.
Short version: find a map. Point at a place. Go there. Seriously, the whole freaking city is interesting.
P.S. Check out the store Punky Fish on Camden High Street. It’s awesome. And cheap if they’re having a sale.