London On The Cheap

nottinghillcarnival.jpg

Not much to whinge about here apart from a migraine and hazy memories of the most stultifying Sunday evening you’ve had in awhile, but no matter — it’s a 4-day workweek, which means nothing if not carefree magic. Rest your pretty little head this evening, and revel in the knowledge that this week, only four mornings will begin with slapping the alarm clock’s backside.

Monday: It’s August Bank Holiday, which since 1966 has become synonymous with the Notting Hill Carnival. Watch as London’s western bit becomes littered with colour and masquerade in one big-ar*e street party.

Tuesday: You’re back to work after an exceptionally merry, debaucherous weekend, and you’re depressed. We feel you. Rather than fighting it, indulge your black mood with some melancholic cultural fare at Camden’s Proud Gallery. Their Forever 27 exhibit celebrates five prominent members of the macabre 27 Club, a group of rock stars whose premature demises all, strangely enough, came at the age of 27. Free.

Wednesday: Your friends have all paired off into love nests and you’re left wandering the streets of Hackney Wick at night knocking on the doors of strangers from Gumtree. Not ideal? Find a new flatmate the better way at Speed Flatmating tonight at Sway. Five quid buys you entry, a free drink, and potentially a year’s lease of relief. For non-students and flats in zones 1 and 2 only.

Thursday: In 2002, hermitic landscape painter John Virtue was approached by the National Gallery to change his tune and paint the city of London. Two years later, he completed the project that brought him out of rural isolation and on an artistic journey from Greenwich to Trafalgar Square. Today, the National Portrait Gallery is screening a documentary on this former recluses’s project in an ongoing series illuminating the lives of the UK’s most elusive artists. 7pm, free.

Or if you’re in the mood for a less esoteric cinema-going experience, Jaws, Snatch, Godfather I, Blade Runner, and Pulp Fiction are just some of the films on offer — for freeeeeeee — this evening from the gloriously generous Frijj Film Festival. All you have to do is beat the masses and reserve your tickets in advance.

Friday: Chicago, Chicago, I’ll show you around… The glorious Windy City (from which some of Londonist’s finest writers, ahem, happen to hail) is sponsoring 25 taxis branded with the Chicago Tourist Board logo across zones 1 and 2 today. Spot one and you get a free ride, plus if you text a photo of it you’re automatically entered into a competition for roundtrip airfare and 3 nights free stay. And we can tell you from a bit of personal experience, the Windy City is utterly delightful.

Saturday: Prada. Miu Miu. Blumarine. Catherine Malandrino…up to 80% off. Are you twitching and sweaty with anticipation yet? Then get thee to the end-of-season sample sale. Snag your insider pass to Thursday and Friday’s non-public sample sale here, or just hope that some quality finds are still hidden in the piles today and tomorrow at the Secret Sample Sale at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch.

Sunday: Leave your world-weary hip-ness at home this Sunday and go back to a simpler time when people…raced ducks. Hampton Court’s end of the Thames is hosting the Great British Duck Race, which will send a quarter of a million wee plastic yellow ducks paddling down the river to raise money for UK charities. Adopt one for £2 and if your yellow friend wins, you could take the top prize of £10,000. And then you wouldn’t even need this column anymore…sniff.

Or, you could stay in and restore your Bank Holiday-depleted health.

Notting Hill Carnival joy courtesy of edscoble‘s flickrstream.

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