Things To Do In London Today: Wednesday 22 May 2013

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Feeling Austentatious? Details below / photo by Idil Sukan

GIVE BLOOD: Today’s opportunity to donate blood is at The Hop Exchange on Southwark Street. Free, just turn up, see site for times and conditions

FINE ART MASTERPIECES: To commemorate the 80th anniversary of The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, The National Gallery hosts an outstanding collection of Old Master and 19th century paintings. Free, just turn up, until 1 September

POSH CARS: Want to buy a Bentley, or maybe just gawp at one? A pop-up Bentley show room appears in Broadgate today, near the Gaucho restaurant, where it’ll linger for two days. Free (unless you’re buying, in which case, it’s £99999999999 or something), just turn up, 7am-9pm

WALKING TOUR: As part of Clerkenwell Design Week 2013, historian and designer Jane Young hosts two walking tours today. One is on Clerkenwell’s Coffee House Culture and the other around Charterhouse Square. Free, just turn up, 1pm and 4pm respectively

ARCHAEOLOGY: This 45 minute talk, delivered by a partner from L-P Archaeology, focuses on archaeology in London and how it plays an important role in the formation of new developments. Free, just turn up, 6.30pm

SURGERY: The Royal Institution opens late for an evening devoted to surgery. After a talk by a team of Imperial College surgeons, explore the first floor and bar area where you can have a play with…and oh dear we can’t help this pun…cutting edge surgical tools. £10, prebook, 7pm

GIG: Singer-songwriter Josh Rouse plays Islington Assembly Hall tonight. If you’ve ever looked up a song that played on One Tree Hill or Grey’s Anatomy, then you are likely to enjoy this. £20.35, prebook, 7pm

WORDPLAY: Luke Wright is starting a run of his Your New Favourite Poet show at Leicester Square Theatre. £10/£8, prebook, 7pm

LITERATURE: The London Literature Festival continues, and tonight Melvyn Bragg launches his new novel Grace and Mary. £12/£10, prebook, 7.30pm

QUEENSBURY RULES: Learn all about the Marquess of Queensbury, who not only formulated the rules of boxing, but also stitched up Oscar Wilde, at a Bishopsgate Institute talk. £8, prebook, 7.30pm

BOGOF COMEDYGet two for the price of one with Invisible Dot’s Two Previews for Five Pounds. Tonight you can enjoy Claudia O’Doherty and James Acaster on the stage. £5, prebook, 7.45pm

SHAME: Try an experiment in catharsis and share your stories of shame at the Camden Head with Natural Born Storytellers. Free, just turn up, 7.45pm

AUSTENTATIOUS: If you like Jane Austen then Austentatious is an absolute must: a team of comedians including Cariad Lloyd and Rachel Parris improvise an Austenish novel before your very eyes. Often standing room only in venues above pubs, there’s a seat each at the Udderbelly. £12.50, prebook, 9pm

Random London Fact of the Day
What are the City’s oldest roads? A glance a the Museum of London’s excellent map of Roman London shows that most of the streets of Londinium followed courses very different to any modern roads in and around the City, but there are exceptions. Aldgate and Whitechapel Road are pushing 2,000 years old. Bishopsgate, Fleet Street, Ludgate and Newgate are of similar vintage. All these run through ancient gates in the City walls. Within the walls, the short stretch of road still known as Watling Street follows a Roman antecedent, and you could make a case for Cannon Street, although archaeological remains are very slightly north of the modern alignment.

Unintentionally lewd Dickens quote of the Day
Mr Brass’s ejaculations died away in the distance (for he continued to pour them out, all the way down stairs).” – The Old Curiosity Shop, Chapter 48.

Good Cause of the Day
Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity invites you to an exclusive Party in the Park at the Art Antiques fair  on 11 June 2013, 6pm-8pm in Kensington Gardens. There will be a champagne and canapé reception for guests, who will be the first to get the opportunity to buy the items before any other buyer. In addition, this ticket allows guests unlimited access into the fair from 13-19 June. Tickets cost £75 per person (with the money going to GOSH) and are available from the charity at 0207 239 3004 or email artantiqueslondon@gosh.org.

London Weather
Can anyone lend us a pair of asbestos gloves? The sun needs a serious slapping. Today sees the feckless fireball scrimshanking behind the clouds until late afternoon, when its brief appearance might dazzle a few westbound commuters without really making anyone happy. The git.

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