Things To Do In London Today: Thursday 21 March 2013

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GIVE BLOOD: Today you can donate blood at City Temple on Holborn Viaduct. Free, just turn up, see site for times and conditions

FREE WALKS: It's English Tourism Week. To celebrate, enjoy daily free walks on varying topics, courtesy of the fine people at City Guides. Scroll down to the bottom of this website for details of today's offerings.

ART: Jan Dibbets: Land Sea Colour exhibition opens today at The Alan Cristea Gallery. Dibbets considers photography as versatile an art medium as any other, leading to some astonishing and abstract works. Free, just turn up, until 20 April

MORE ART: Also opening today is Mary Garner's Topographies exhibition, at Jane Newbery Gallery in Dulwich. Free, just turn up, until 10 April (tonight's opening event is 6-8pm)

INTERNATIONAL POETRY DAY: Celebrate International Poetry Day with a reading of poetry from around the world, at Keats House. Free with an admission ticket, prebook, 3pm

HISTORY: Take a wander around the Museum of Immigration and Diversity on Princelet Street — an old silk-weaver's house, former synagogue and one-time home to the disappearing David Rodinsky — only occasionally open to the public. Free but donations expected, just turn up, 5-8pm

SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY: The Imperial Fringe event is an evening of events and performances loosely themed around synthetic biology — everything from materials made from spider silk to using synthetic DNA to control beer cloudiness. Free, just turn up, 5.30-8.30pm

KARAUKE: Ever wanted to take part in a karaoke evening, but lamented the noticeable lack of ukeleles? Karauke is the answer to your problems – tonight’s event is at The Royal George on Charing Cross Road. Free, just turn up, 7pm

MUSIC AND CHARITY: Head over to Rhythm Factory in Whitechapel tonight for Chariots Of Fire, a charity live band night with music from Jefferson Duke, Ambassadors of Morocco and Mangoseed, as well as a DJ set and even the chance to win a guitar. All in aid of Action Medical Research. £5, just turn up, 7pm

THE MUSIC BIZ: Anyone interested in the music business should pop along to The Lighthouse in Canonbury Yard this evening as Chris Cowey, music TV Producer with credits such as Top of the Pops and Glastonbury Festival, is sharing his wisdom and telling insider tales. Free, just turn up, 7pm

GIG: Eels don't know it, but they're partly responsible for these semi-shambolic daily listings (for reasons we'll probably never reveal). Until then, go listen to one of the most under-rated and consistent acts on the planet perform at Brixton Academy. £33.75, prebook, 7pm

A SERBIAN FILM: No, not that one (please don't look it up if you don't know what we're talking about), The Parade by Srdjan Dragojevic is playing at the Institute of Contemporary Arts this evening, with English subtitles. A comedy-drama about gay rights issues in Serbia, it has already won multiple film festival awards. £10/£8, prebook, 7.30pm

LYING IS FUNNY: Well, it can be, as Alex Horne demonstrates at his comedy show Lies this evening. He is relatively new on the scene so be kind. Or at least lie and say you'll be. £5, prebook, 7.30pm

NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: Fancy going to The Movies? The Invisible Dot hosts this eccentric, film-based cabaret evening which features short films, TV offcuts, live performances and head-scratching discussions. Simon Munnery headlines. £8, prebook, 7.45pm

RUSSIAN WRITERS: Three of Russia’s best contemporary writers – Andrei Makine, Mikhail Shishkin and Irina Prokhorova – talk about their work at the Southbank Centre this evening. £10, prebook, 7.45pm

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Random London Fact of the Day

So, on Tuesday we pondered where the Thames changes from saltwater to freshwater, with reader Caroline Halstead-Smith suggesting somewhere around Blackfriars Bridge: "It’s not exact, but broadly, there are seabirds east of it and fresh water birds west of it." Adrian Proctor has now contacted us with an observation about the bridge that might explain the origins of this belief.

The bridge pillars are decorated with carvings of various birds (two pictured here). Adrian notes that birds with webbed feet, most often found in marine environments, embellish the downstream side of the bridge; birds with separated toes, usually found in freshwater environments, are found on the upstream side. Wikipedia, if it can be trusted, seems to confim this, noting that the sculptures are by John Birnie Philip.

Good Cause of the Day
Specialist services for deaf children are among the many regrettable casualties of the Coalition's programme of cuts. A new film produced by the National Deaf Children’s Society sets out the huge impact the cuts could have. Less funding means less educational support in the classroom, help from Teachers of the Deaf and Teaching Assistants, speech and language therapy, specialist equipment and audiology care. Watch the film today, and if you agree, sign the petition.

London Weather
Looks like we're never going to get rid of this vexatious layer of cloud. If we can't beat it, we might as well join it...or at least learn to love it. That's why, today, we're launching the Crappy Cloud Appreciation Society. We're more-than-aware that a Cloud Appreciation Society already exists, but these idealists tend to focus on more appealing, romantic manifestations of water vapour. There is no fan club for people who specifically enjoy featureless blankets of grey. So join with us and raise your coffee mug to the leaden skies. Help spread the love by tweeting #ILoveCrappyClouds