We’re in the thick of it now: full-on tourist season is here, and while you may be fighting your way through thicker lunchtime throngs than ever, elbowing open London guidebooks and tube maps out of your way at every corner, we’ve got a round-up of decidedly non-touristy and inexpensive fun to be had this week.
Monday: Free in-store gigs, hath sweeter words ever been written? The HMV on Oxford Street tonight is featuring a live gig by Brooklyn-based The Hold Steady, signing album copies and performing songs from their new album ‘Stay Positive’.
Tuesday: Literary happenings are being penned, read, and exhibited all week over at Southwark’s London Literary Festival, many of which are delightfully, blessedly free. Through Thursday, check site for times and events.
Wednesday: Pardon the caps, but this is just TOO EXCITING: tickets are SOMEHOW STILL available for a FREE show of Brazilian electro-rockers CSS (Cansei de Ser Sexy, or ‘tired of being sexy,’ taken from a humble Beyonce quote) and Alphabeat at KOKO tonight. Waow! All thanks to iTunes summer festival, enter to win free tickets here.
Thursday: London-based graphic designer Paul Elliman will be giving a special public performance of his whispering gallery podcast, Voices Falling Through the Air: An Impulsive Report (For the Voice of Emma Clarke). 7pm, free with ICA admission.
Friday: Don some leather, chains, and hair gel to get in touch with your inner punk before heading over to the latest exhibit exploring everything Sid. Camden’s Proud Gallery is showing, through 11th August, Sid Vidious: No-one is Innocent, a photographic exhibition that strives to create a more visceral punk experience by melding photographic elements with live music and excerpts from the upcoming Who Killed Nancy? film. Free.
Saturday: Saturdays are for shoppin’, and fashion enthusiasts will go sweaty with anticipation at the news of today’s special: revived ’70s era store Biba, whose shop merged rock ‘n roll with fashion like no other, whose white-lipped shopgirls were expressly forbidden to approach customers or ever utter the words “Can I help you?” (customer service: so uncool), is having a massive sale today. Bowie and Lou Reed were big fans in Biba’s ’70s heyday, but we bet this weekend’s 90% off last season’s sale will garner a few new Londonista fans. Friday and today, 10am-5pm, get there early…Music Rooms at 26 Molton Lane.
Also today, in its monthlong series on Street Art Talks, the Tate Modern will be hosting a free talk on street art today and the genre’s future. Speakers are Marc and Sara Schiller of the Wooster Collective, a website that celebrates street art around the world. Free, Starr Auditorium, 6.30pm.
Sunday: Spice up your regular Sunday market routine with a pop into the last weekend of the Free Range show at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. This is your last chance to check out the two-month long exhibit which has been showcasing artwork from over 3,000 students around the UK. There’s something for everyone — from illustration to textiles, photography, and more. 91 Brick Lane, free, 10am-7pm.
Or, you could stay in and hide from the touristic masses, but then who will you mock at the office come Monday?
Image of an old-tymey summer picnic courtesy of WowtheWorld‘s flickrstream.