Things To Do In London Today: 5 October 2012

A daily guide suggesting things to do and see. Additions welcome in the comments.


BIRO DRAWINGS: The incredible ballpoint pen drawings of James Mylne, showing female celebrities, go on show at Rook & Raven gallery in Fitzrovia today until 31 October. All day

SMURFS: Look out for teams of Smurfs, superheroes and other becostumed Thames Water employees who are racing across town today to raise money for Water Aid in Bangladesh. Not only will the poor fellows look like pillocks, but they'll also be slogging 20 litres of water each. Donate some money if you see them. 9am-12 noon

FREE FOOD: Royal Albert continues its London Tea Tour, stopping off at Spitalfields Market to hand out free tea, cakes and other sweatmeats. Free, just turn up, 11am-5pm

GIVE BLOOD: Today's National Blood Service donation centres are at Ealing Town Hall (12.45-3pm and 4.30-7.30pm) and Fenchurch Street, St Olave's Parish Hall (9.30-11.30am and 1-4pm).

BAKING: The Real Bread Show comes to the Southbank Centre, with an afternoon (and thereafter weekend) of talks and demonstrations showing you how to acquire the perfect loaf. Free, just turn up, 1-7.45pm

LUNCH LECTURE: Pop into UCL today for a pair of lunchtime lectures looking at Alzheimer's disease and Virginia Woolf's war diaries. Free, just turn up, 1.10-1.55pm

ELEFEST: Elephant and Castle's autumn festival kicks off tonight, with performances on the Heygate and Pullens estates, plus vintage films in the Electric Elephant cafe. Free, just turn up, 6-9pm

HIDDEN GEOGRAPHY: Poet Tom Chivers launches his ADRIFT project, where he'll be "mapping the natural territories written into urban space: the peat bog underneath Elephant & Castle, Battersea's tidal loop, and London’s bricked-up rivers, the Walbrook, Effra, Fleet...". It's at Rich Mix, and they don't mention anything about ticket price or pre-booking. 6.30pm

TOWER LOCK-IN: Tickets appear to be available still for tonight's Big Draw event at the Tower of London. Stay on after dark to draw the ancient battlement and watch the Ceremony of the Keys. £26, 6.30-9pm

FILM: Watch London-set film Ill Manors at 3 Mills Studios, then party in the studios' prison film set with cocktails and DJs. £8, prebook, 6.30pm or 9pm

LATE OPENINGS: As usual on a Friday, the British Museum is open till 8.30pm, the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery stay awake until 9pm, while the two Tates, the V&A and Royal Academy are dirty stopouts until 10pm. All free and just turn up

SKATING: Meet at Wellington Arch for the Friday Night Skate, a weekly tour around the capital on roller blades. You need to bring your own blades or boots and be able to skate safely and confidently. Free, just turn up, 8pm

Random Fact of the Day

London has more outdoor statues of Guy the Gorilla than of Henry VIII. Likenesses of the famous primate can be seen at London Zoo and Crystal Palace Park, whereas good king Hal is memorialised only as a small statue above the entrance gate to Bart's hospital (seemingly clutching a fairy wand). Guy's preserved body is now maintained by the Natural History Museum, where he makes occasional appearances. Alas, Henry VIII was not stuffed for posterity.


A sky more overcast than The Expendables 2 will linger over London all day. Just as the office scrimshanker suggests heading out for Friday drinks, the heavens will open. Make sure you leave for the pub early, because no one's going to be standing outside, and they're going to get very crowded.

Hidden False Rumour of the Day
There are 23 plaques to Charles Dickens dotted about the city. If you draw a line through the locations, you'll see that they're arranged in the shape of a squatting beadle.