Visit London Blog » david bowie Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 13 Oct 2015 14:49:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What’s On This Weekend. 22-24 March 2013 Mon, 18 Mar 2013 10:30:08 +0000

Despite the weather, this could be a great weekend to get out and about in London. You can watch more than 3,000 rowers compete in the Head of the River Race or see some newborn lambs in Enfield. And, if it’s pouring down, there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you entertained!

David Bowie Is at the Victoria and Albert Museum 

David Bowie Is comes at a time of renewed interest in the legendary David Bowie, and is the first-ever international retrospective of his multifaceted career. Given unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive, the V&A has produced a compelling exhibition that includes handwritten lyrics, fashion, photography, film, instruments and much more. Tickets start at £14 for adults. 23 Mar-11 Aug

The Head of the River Race 2013

Stand on the riverbank between Mortlake and Putney and you’ll see the magnificent sight of more than 400 crews of eights fighting it out to be crowned Head of the River. The professional rowing race is held annually and is only open to male competitors, who come from all around the world to row the 6.8km course. The action starts at 12.45pm; why not watch the race and then warm up with a visit to one of the area’s many good pubs? 23 Mar

Wilfred Bagshawe’s Time Emporium at Village Underground

Escape to a fantastical Victorian world at the latest event from the team behind the acclaimed Winterwell Festival. Taking place at Village Underground in Shoreditch, Wilfred Bagshawe’s Time Emporium is a delightful feat of imagination. The time portal takes visitors from the eponymous gentleman’s Victorian shop to various eras and adventures – all in the hope of recovering a priceless ancient artifact. This immersive theatrical experience is set to be one of spring’s most memorable events and tickets (£25) are selling out fast – make sure you get one just in the nick of time. 2223 Mar

Lambing Weekend at Forty Hall Farm

Take your children to experience the magic of spring at Forty Hall Farm in Enfield, where the farm’s special weekend allows them to get close to cute newborn lambs. As well as meeting the baby sheep, families can see other farmyard friends such as pigs, cows, alpacas and goats, or watch sheep-shearing, wool spinning, Morris dancing and lots of other traditional activities. The farm will also be demonstrating the fruits of their labours through a series of food stalls, from which they’ll be selling their own sausages and other treats. Admission is £3 or £2 for children, and the event starts at 11am on both days. 23-24 Mar

Potted Potter: The Unauthorised Harry Experience at the Garrick Theatre

If you’ve read the lengthy Harry Potter series you’ll appreciate just how ambitious condensing all seven books into a 70-minute show really is. Somehow, Olivier Award winners Dan Clarkson and Jeff Turner have done just that, creating a hilarious parody that involves more than 300 characters, a fire-breathing dragon and even a game of Quidditch in which the audience can participate. Potted Potter has received rave reviews for its previous performances and is only in London for a limited run – grab your tickets now before it disapparates. 23 Mar-14 Apr


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Creating Bowiefest: The UK’s First David Bowie Film Festival Fri, 31 Aug 2012 09:00:35 +0000

The UK’s first David Bowie film festival opens at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) on Friday. I had a chat with its curators to find out how the project came about.

How Bowiefest was born

For a performer who is now notoriously reclusive, David Bowie is strikingly present in London. The British rock icon’s music featured in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games, and next year the Victoria and Albert Museum will display Bowie’s extravagant costumes in an exhibition.

But Bowie’s substantial and eccentric work as an actor has – surprisingly – never been celebrated with an event in the UK. This realisation hit the festival’s curators Natasha Dack and Oli Harbottle when they were out one night at the Hot Docs documentary festival in Canada last year.”We realised we were both massive Bowie fans,” says Oli. “A Bowie film festival had never been done and it seemed like a no-brainer – films are such a big element of his career. It’s been a crazy path ever since and we can’t believe that we’re the lucky ones that had the idea.”

The pair approached the ICA, a venue whose rock pedigree includes gigs from Pink Floyd and The Clash, not to mention a move-for-move re-enactment of Bowie’s final performance as his character Ziggy Stardust, organised by artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard in 1998.

Natasha and Oli whittled Bowiefest’s content down to eight films focusing on classic movies from the 1970s and 1980s, such as fantasy film Labyrinth where Bowie rules over Jim Henson’s puppets as the Goblin king Jareth. There are also two documentaries following Bowie on stage and talks with directors Alan Yentob and Nicolas Roeg.

Compare Bowie’s otherworldly film roles like an alien in The Man Who Fell to Earth with performances such as his turn as a WWII prisoner of war in Japan in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, and it could be hard to spot a connection. But one thread runs through all of his characters, according to Natasha: “There is a unifying theme with the characters he played: he’s always been an outsider in films. That’s quintessential Bowie.”

Ziggy Startdust was the iconic stage persona Bowie took on for barely a year, before “retiring” the character in London at a concert at the Hammersmith Odeon (now the Hammersmith Apollo) in 1973. That night is the subject of one of the festival’s documentary films, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

The documentaries have had few cinema outings, explains Oli: “People rarely get to sit in the cinema with other Bowie fans and watch these amazing moments. In Cracked Actor, which follows his 1974 Diamond Dogs tour, you see Bowie at his most creative. But he also looks and he acts very vulnerable and emaciated – it’s a real insight into him as a person because he talks about creating his personas.”

Bowiefest takes place from 31 August to 2 September at the ICA. To book tickets visit

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2010: A Space Oddity at the Met Bar Fri, 29 Jan 2010 17:08:34 +0000 We’ve been facebooking, twittering and generally fussing and flapping about it for months now… and last night, our annual members’ party finally came to fruition. In true Met Bar style, it was an explosion of glam rock glitterballs and futuristic fantasy!

More than 200 Met Bar members descended on the bar and hotel lobby, which had been transformed to reflect our David Bowie-meets-Lady Gaga theme. Lightning bolts were the recurring motif, with a giant astronaut suspended above the dancefloor, surrounded by hordes of disco balls.

Guests ate cosmic canapés and consumed (many, many!) out-of-this-world Barbarella and Major Tom cocktails, while glam rock and electro pop hits blasted out across the lobby.

Our friends from Lost In Beauty were also on hand to adorn everyone with glittered lightning bolts, and soon the whole room was sporting the look of the night!

At 9pm, a wave of champagne was sent around as everyone moved through to the Met Bar to watch celebrity stylist and performance artist Johnny Blue Eyes perform to David Bowie’s Starman. Dressed in a silver catsuit and feathered cape, Johnny’s provocative performance (we can’t detail here how he interacted with our astronaut!) had the room buzzing. When the music kicked in after he left, the stage everyone truly let loose!

London faces such as PVC beauty Miss Pandemonia, Phillip Salon, Boy George and Lady Lloyd mingled with fashion and music PRs and Met Bar regulars, creating our much imitated but never bettered electric atmosphere!

We are still trying to wipe the glitter off our faces this afternoon, and while we don’t like to pick favourites among our events, last night’s has to be one that people will be twittering about for days to come!

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