Things To Do In London Today: 18 February 2013

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HALF TERM TOUR: Go backstage at the National Theatre, handle props and try out costumes. Adults £8.50 – up to 3 children go free, book, daily this week at 10.30am and 12.30pm.

HALF TERM WORDS: 9-11 year olds explore shanties and misheard song lyrics with Holly Pester at the Southbank Centre. Free, book your place, 10.30am and 1.30pm.

HALF TERM NEW WAVE: The Museum of Childhood introduces kids to the 1980s through the Rubik’s Cube, Care Bears and other stuff parents have tried to forget about. Free drop in activities all week, between 10.30am-4pm.

HALF TERM EXPLORATION: Follow a do-it-yourself adventure trail around the Barbican public spaces, indoor and out. Pick up a free kit from the advance box office from 11am.

FREE STUFF: Check out London for Free page for more ideas of where to take children during half term.

FASHION: Drop by the last day of the London College of Fashion graduate showcase exhibition in Victoria House Basement, Bloomsbury Square. Free entry, just turn up, open 12-5pm.

DESIGN & CREATE: As part of Forest Hill Fashion Week, find the Design Marketplace at The Montage, 33 Dartmouth Road, SE23 for handmade artistic creations, live art workshops and craftiness. Free entry, book a free ticket, open all day & Tuesday.

LUNCH MUSIC: Hear the Southwark Cathedral organ played in a lunchtime recital including some Bach and Elgar. Free, just turn up, 1pm.

WIN: Last chance to enter our competition to win a family ticket to see the “technodelic” Siro-A perform at Leicester Square Theatre. Competition closes at 5pm.

DAVE GROHL: Whether you managed to get tickets to the last minute super group gig tomorrow, you can watch Dave Grohl’s film Sound City in Vue cinemas as of today.

DOUBLE BILL: Watch Barton Fink and The Shining at the Prince Charles Cinema. Tickets £12, £7 members, starts 6.30pm.

RAWK: Top rock guitarist (so says Total Guitar who put him in the top 5 rock guitarists of all time) Mark Tremonti plays the Electric Ballroom, Camden touring his solo project, Tremonti, with two support acts. Tickets £19.50+bf, prebook, doors 7pm.

CHAPS IN SKIRTS: The Sohemian Society finds out about Fanny and Stella, The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England from author Neil McKenna at the King and Queen pub, Foley Street. Entry £4, just turn up, from 7.30pm.

SONGS: Rising star, Rozi Plain plays Village Underground, backed by a full band. Run-Riot say, “her sparse vocal and finger-picked guitar arrangements are fleshed out across ten tracks with a revolving cast of layered voices, soft-tumbling percussion, steel-pan drums, violin, piano and lilting brass.” Nice. Tickets £8, prebook or just turn up and hope, doors 7.30pm.

UKE IT: Give your tiny guitar an airing (or hire one to try it out) at the Hoxton Ukelele Hootenanny at Queen of Hoxton. Free (£20 deposit on hired instruments), just turn up, starts 7.30pm.

STALKING: James Lasdun talks to Susie Orbach about his memoir of being stalked, at the Royal Society of Literature. Tickets £8, prebook, starts 8pm.

Random London Fact of the Day

The Ally Pally organ by Doilum via the Londonist Flickrpool

In 1929, this organ was proclaimed “The Finest Concert Organ in Europe”. But it’s had a tough old life. It was built in 1873 by leading Victorian organ builder “Father” Henry Willis but totally destroyed three weeks later by the fire that also destroyed Alexandra Palace. A replica organ was installed in 1875, which endured but suffered during the two World Wars. It was dismantled and taken away to await restoration which means it escaped the second huge fire in 1980, but the organ hall and most of the Palace did not.

The organ was finally ‘reopened’ in 1990, with a celebratory concert but work continues to this day, to completely restore it to its original glory. Tomorrow, Tuesday 19 February, you can hear David Houlder from Leeds Minster play the Ally Pally organ in a fundraising concert. Admission £10 on the door, starts 7.30pm.

Good Cause of the Day

James & Bob by silvertony45

Remember Bob the Street Cat? He got a book deal. Or rather, his human, James did. As a result, they’re both had a brush with celebrity and as we know, every charity worth its press releases needs celebrity ambassadors. Bob and James have aptly picked The Blue Cross, the animal charity that regularly treated and supported Bob in the past.

The Blue Cross has been been dedicated to the health and happiness of pets since 1897, rehoming unwanted pets, providing treatment to pets whose humans can’t afford it, promoting good pet care and educating about responsible ownership.

James and Bob will be supporting the charity through book signings and public appearances throughout the  year. If you’d like to donate, you can do so at their JustGiving page here.

London Weather

Spring is in the air like it was in Tigger’s tail. Catch sunny spells when you can but don’t be deceived into short sleeves just yet. Keep up to date with BBC Weather.

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