Things To Do In London Today: Monday 11 February

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Go bowling and dating at Rowan's Finsbury Park tonight

KIDS: Imagine Children’s Festival begins at the Southbank Centre today and runs all the way through half term. There are all sorts of free and ticketed events, check the website for more details.. Today 7-10 year olds can take a tour round the Centre and create London Adventure poems.

BLOOD: Give it up at Freemason’s Hall, Covent Garden today, or book an appointment convenient to you with the National Blood Service.

PHOTOS: A photographic exhibition about concrete marvel Stockwell Bus Station opens in the concrete marvel of the Royal Festival Hall today. Free, just turn up from 10am.

CARNIVAL: Learn the basics of ballroom samba, dance to classic samba tunes and Carnival favourites at Guanabara’s Carnaval Carioca – Roda de Samba Special. Free entry from 5pm-2.30am.

CHOIR: Choral Scholars of St Martin in the Fields sing Byrd and Britten in an hour long concert at the church. Tickets £10, prebook or just turn up, starts 6.30pm.

BOWL: Club de Fromage launch Bowl Me Over – A Dating Night With Added Balls at Rowan’s Bowl, Finsbury Park. Bowl to a rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack, drink beer, play ping pong and maybe find someone to snog. Tickets £18 +bf, prebook, runs from 7-10.30pm.

ORIGAMI: Fold the one you fancy something creative out of paper at Sesame’s Valentine’s Origami night on the rooftop at Queen of Hoxton. Tickets £6 (includes hot booze drink), prebook, starts 7pm.

GIG: There are still tickets left for Jersey dwelling, torch song pop-rocker Nerina Pallot at Islington Town Hall. Price £19.50, prebook, doors 7pm.

POEMS: Members of the Poetry Society’s London South West Stanza perform at Barnestorm V at the Poetry Cafe, with music from LiTTLe MACHiNe. Free entry, starts 7.30pm.

COMEDY: Head to the Soho Theatre for Alternative Comedy Memorial Society‘s leftfield take on laughter. Guests number in double figures and include Bridget Christie, Bec Hill, Phil Nichol, Michael Legge and Joel Dommett. Tickets £12.50, starts 8pm.

MORE COMEDY: David Baddiel tries out new material after 15 years away from stand up at Soho Theatre. Tickets £12, starts 9.30pm.

WIN: Last chance to win tickets to see coming-of-age play Bottleneck at Soho Theatre.

Random London Fact of the Day

Ever wondered how the fantastically gothic Castle Climbing Centre in Stoke Newington came to be? It was built as a Victorian pumping station between 1852-56, helping the New River (400 years old this September!) to bring more fresh water into the City. The Surveyor of the New River Company, William Chadwell Mylne, based the design on Scottish baronial castles. Some say he was on the verge of retirement and could therefore indulge in architectural whimsy without fear of the sack. Others say it was a response to local residents who didn’t want their largely pastoral view spoiled by an ugly industrial erection. Either way, the fanciful folly of a Medieval fortress was positively embraced and is still there to do this day, now Grade II listed. It’s treasured by locals, does excellent service to climbers and surely surprises all who behold it.

Good Cause of the Day
Send tips to lindsey@londonist.com

London’s Air Ambulance launches a new look chopper today. We couldn’t make it to the helipad for the big reveal so watch out for a photo later in the day. Meanwhile, things you might not know about London’s Air Ambulance:

  • There is only one helicopter for the whole of London.  That makes us the only capital city in the world with only one helicopter for its air ambulance service.
  • The helicopter is not for transporting passengers – it’s a rapid response unit that delivers an advanced trauma doctor and paramedic to a patient’s side within minutes of their accident.
  • Trauma is the commonest cause of death for people age <45 including children, causing more lost years than cancer and cardiac arrest.
  • The service is a charity and relies heavily on donations. It is not government funded and is only part-funded by the NHS.

Fundraising for a second helicopter is a current priority. Want to help? You can make a donation, buy something in their shop or play their lottery.

London Weather

If the weather were performed by Reception Class in assembly, one might expect a huddle of four and five year olds dressed in wellies, coats, scarves and mittens, rubbing their arms, stamping their feet in slush and saying BRRRR theatrically. Classmates shrouded in grey cotton wool clouds stand on stools nearby and lightly shower them with a watering can from time to time. The intermittent smiles of small children indicate unpredictable bright spells. BBC Weather enlightens more sensibly.

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