Things To Do In London Today: 4 October 2012

A daily post, highlighting the best things to do around town today (that aren’t fully booked). We welcome additions in the comments.


ON THE ROAD: The manuscript to Jack Kerouac's famous novel was originally drafted on a 37 metre scroll of tracing paper. See the venerated work on show at the British Library from today until 27 December. Free, just turn up, all day

PHOTOGRAPHY: The Urban Photo Fest begins today, a 10-day festival of — and here the name gives it away — urban photography. Talks, workshops and exhibitions fill the programme between now and 13 October. All day

RAIN, RAIN: A piece of art that purports to recreate a downpour indoors? Perhaps a little redundant, given the ample wetness outdoors, but Random International's new rain installation, which opens today in the Barbican's Curve Gallery, hopes to enchant with its technical virtuosity. It runs (and pours) until 3 March. Free, just turn up, all day

UNBUILT LONDON: If you're in the north of town at lunchtime, consider popping along to a talk by Peter Berthoud about London as it Might Have Been at The Step. £5, 12 noon

FOOD: See a parade of street food vans, followed by the launch party of KERB — the new street food collective replacing Eat.St in King's Cross. 1pm (parade), 6-10pm (party and munching)

FASHION: The London Designer Sale takes place at Chelsea Old Town Hall, with big discounts on high-end brands and boutique labels. Whatever that means. Your humble listings compiler admits to almost total ignorance of this world, but acknowledges that it's probably exciting and useful to those who are in the know. Free, just turn up, 1-9pm

POETRY: It’s National Poetry Day! The theme is Stars and there are events all over the place (see official listings for details). Highlights are the Southbank Centre’s free poetry afternoon followed by John Cooper Clarke (7.30pm, £10-£19.50), the Poetry Olympics at the 100 Club (7.30pm, £7) and events with David Harsent and Gwyneth Lewis from Poet in the City (6.30pm).

MEDICINE: Late opening at Wellcome Collection, as with any Thursday, but this week offers the chance to catch the creepy sounding Hypersymbiont Salon. Free, just turn up, 6-9pm

Random Fact of the Day

Wembley gets its name from a long forgotten Anglo-Saxon chieftain or land-owner called Wemba. Wemba Lea, as the area was known, meant the clearing in the woods belonging to Wemba. So modern day football fans who chant Wember-lee, Wember-lee, Wember-lee are actually closer to the original pronunciation than you might think. Also, doesn't that make you gawp? That a presumably illiterate farmer, about whom we know nothing, should be remembered in name by a billion or more people around the world, a millennium and a half after he died? That's a bit magical, that is.

More on London name derivations in our map of Anglo-Saxon London.


The sun comes out, all guns blazing, in the morning, before a thuggish gang of clouds subdues its splendour. Despite this nephelauxetic hegemony, the afternoon will remain walm.

Random Hidden False Rumour Of The Day
There's a £100 cash prize for the fist person who actually spots these false rumours we've been hiding every day.