A daily post, highlighting the best things to do around town today (that aren’t fully booked). We welcome additions in the comments.
POSH PHOTOS: Mario Testino’s royal portrait exhibition opens at the National Portrait Gallery. It’s free, and you’ve got till 3 February to see their assorted royal highnesses gurning into the Testino lens. All day
SCULPTURE: Diving Girl, the 3.5-metre-tall sculpture you may or may not remember from the entrance to the Olympic Park, will from today be permanently housed in Heathrow Terminal 5. OK, it’s not an event, but it’s good to note these things.
BACTERIA DO THE FUNNIEST THINGS: Wellcome Collection are touting a Hypersymbiont Enhancement Salon, a work of performance art that speculates on how to improve humans with specially tweaked bacteria. No, we’re not sure what it’s all about either, but it’s free and you can show up any time in the afternoon today, Thur or Fri. Just don’t blame us if you emerge with a pilus growing from your neck. 2-5pm
TRENDY SUBTERRANEAN ART THING: Today’s hot ticket is The Art Cellar, an art-buying event in an old wine cellar beneath Holborn Viaduct. If you can’t afford to buy, it’s worth a look-in for the bang-on-trend food offerings via Wild Thexton and Don Ceviche, with music and cocktails. Also on Thur, Fri. Book in advance, £9. 6-11pm
ARTY MINGLING: Meanwhile, the Mall Galleries has a free arts evening with live music and pop-up bar to celebrate the Threadneedle Prize for figurative painting and sculpture. Free, just turn up. 6-10pm
BIG DIG: The Crossrail Visitor Centre (behind Centre Point) holds a short talk about the archaeological digs from the Crossrail project. The exhibition of artifacts can also be viewed. All free, just turn up. 6.30pm
HISTORY CHIT-CHAT: The monthly London Historians pub meetup takes place upstairs at the Windsor Castle in Victoria. They’re a fun bunch, with a mixture of professional and amateur historians, all interested in the capital’s history. And we’ll be there. Free, just turn up. 6.30-11pm
ENVIRONMENT: Former Jain monk Satish Kumar gives a free talk on “Gandhi in the twenty-first century” at the Nehru Centre, 8 South Audley Street. Time travel fans might be disappointed if they take the title of the talk too literally. Free, just turn up. 6.30pm
BOOKS: Iain M Banks is at Waterstones Piccadilly to big up his new novel, The Hydrogen Sonata. £5, book in advance. 7pm
QUIZZERY-POKERY: This month’s Bigger Boat Film Quiz, at the Boogaloo in Highgate, is all about 80′s movies. If you know your ETs from your ED-209s, and your General Zods from your Colonel Trautmans, this is the quiz for you. Unless that’s all you know. In which case you’ll get, at most, two points. £3.50, just turn up. 7.30pm
Random Fact Of The Day
The Shard (309.6 metres) is almost precisely six times taller than Nelson’s Column (51.5m) and five times taller than the Monument to the Great fire (above, 62m). It’s also 175 times taller than Boris Johnson (1.77m).
NASA used to have a motto: faster, better, cheaper. Today’s weather can be summarised in much the same way, if you swap “faster” for “cooler”, “better” for “wetter”, and “cheaper” for “windier”.
Hidden False Rumour Of The Day
Despite complaints to the contrary, Time Out London still prints a full event listings section in its new-look freebie magazine. You’ve not noticed them because they’re printed in white ink, an idea they nicked off this column.