For anyone who doesn’t remember Time Out’s rival, What’s On In London was a listings magazine that leaned heavily on ‘gentleman’s entertainment’ in girlie bars and restaurants called ‘Pigalle’ and the like. It went, as did City Limits (moanier and more hard left listings mag) and of course Time Out dropped its listings to become a freesheet a few weeks back, leaving us with a variety of excellent websites but no single central space where all the events of the city are gathered together.
Listings magazines had a hard time keeping up – someone had to check everything because a missed full stop could mean people being sent off to events at the wrong time. Now we have different sites for different aspects of city living, but I haven’t yet been able to find an easy complete listings site – Time Out’s is a hopeless mess and virtually impossible to use in any logical fashion, although the app is apparently good. All of which is my excuse for missing the Lord Mayor’s Show yesterday, the first time in living memory that it has taken place on a gloriously sunny, warm day. Instead, I was having lunch at The Owl And The Pussycat in Hackney with friends.
The last time I went I was about nine years old, and Dick Van Dyke drove Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on the parade, and he frightened me because he had a bright orange face and weirdly coloured hair. I’ve been meaning to go again ever since.
The side effect of finding so much happening and so few ways of arranging visitation is that you can get into virtually anything, so long as you know exactly when and where it is on. Social networks have transformed the way we attend events. I went to the usually deserted paperback fair in Victoria two weeks ago to find it packed (and overpriced), because it now advertises on Twitter, but finding what you want is often a matter of serendipity.
Having wandered into a pop-up bar in Marylebone last week I encountered punters stepping through a ten-foot vagina, which was disconcerting as it hadn’t been billed as pop-up theatre as well (which apparently it was). Perhaps pot luck is more fun than booking tickets for Marc ‘Hairspray’ Shaiman’s and Sam Mendes’ hotly tipped ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ next July (tickets £70 and so-far-away-it’s-insurable)!