Things To Do In London Today: Friday 31 May 2013

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BLOOD: Today’s opportunity to donate blood is at DoubleTree by Hilton hotel by the Tower of London. Free, just turn up, see site for times and conditions

GAGGLE CAVE: Gaggle, a 20-person alternative choir who have toured the world, are extending their adventures and setting up a unique pop-up shop, gallery and summer school. Workshops, activities and talks take place over their three-week residency at the InSitu Project Space in New Cross. Check website for full listings, until 21 June

HANDWRITTEN PORTRAITS: Artist Annemarie Wright uses handwritten text to produce political portraits of Boris Johnson, Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill. Get up close to read pieces and discover the true message behind them, at Woolff Gallery. Free, just turn up, until 19 June

DANGEROUS IDEAS: Dangerous Ideas for Dangerous Times is a festival in King's Cross that brings together people from the forefront of global struggles: radical economists and philosophers, socialists, feminists and environmentalists, students and trade-unionists, to discuss what can be done with our world. £25/£15, prebook, until 1 June

LITERATURE: The London Literature Festival starts today: highlights include the start of summer-long project London Lines (free, 10am), Craig Taylor’s One Million Tiny Plays About London (£10, 7pm/8.45pm), Inua Ellams’s Midnight Run (£5, 8.30pm): non-London-themed events include William Dalrymple (£10, 7.30pm)

THATCHER YEARS: Today is the last day you can see this free photography exhibition by Dave Sinclair. During the 1980s, Dave travelled all over Britain taking photographs of bleak post-industrial Britain, documenting the changes Thatcher made to Britain during that period. Free, just turn up, 10am until late

FAMILY FUN: The Goldsmith Centre puts on a Family Fun day today where you can create your own miniature garden and hunt for gemstones in the Scratch Patch, which after a polish you can take home with you. Free entry but some activities charge, just turn up, noon-7pm

MUSEUM LATES: Unwind after work with a spot of culture at the British Museum, National Gallery, V&A or National Portrait Gallery. Free, check websites for closing times and events

JAZZ: Head to Richmond for some jazz this evening, as Emily Saunders brings her acoustic based jazz to The Tea Box. £6/£5, prebook (call 020 8940 3521), 7.30pm

ROLLER SKATE: The Friday Night skate starts at Wellington Arch. Anyone who feels competent on skates is welcome to join. Free, just turn up, 8pm

FREE ICE SKATING: It's nearly June. It's not sunny. It's not warm. But rather than lament the lack of summer why not embrace winter again by heading over to Queens Ice & Bowl in Bayswater for some free ice skating. You don't need to buy anything, just turn up and skate! UP YOURS SUMMER. Free, just turn up, from 8pm

COMEDY: Brendon Burns and Ed Aczel test out their new Edinburgh material at the Camden Head. This will definitely be worth seeing. £5, prebook, 8pm

Random London Fact of the Day
It's rare for living people to be commemorated with statues in London, but Nelson Mandela (pictured up top in an exhibition opening today) is perhaps unique in having two. His likeness can be found in both Parliament Square (a statue) and alongside the Royal Festival Hall (a bust).

Good Cause of the Day

Join a charity Zumbathon on London's South Bank tomorrow to help raise money for Mercy Ships, a charity that has been running hospital ships since 1978. The international charity has worked in more than 70 countries, treated more than 520,000 people in village medical and dental clinics, and completed more than 1,000 community development projects focusing on water and sanitation, education, infrastructure development and agriculture. Individuals, groups, zumba-fanatics and newbies are all welcome to attend the three-hour, easy-paced dance party. £12/£10 (price includes a free bottle of water and charity event wristband), prebook or just turn up, Saturday 1 June at 11.30am

Recommended Indie Bookshops of the Day
Each day this week, we’re recommending one of our favourite local bookshops.

East: Brick Lane Bookshop, Brick Lane
The Brick Lane Bookshop has been through many incarnations since it opened in 1979 — including the Tower Hamlets Arts Project and Eastside Books. It's woven so closely into the fabric of the area that the two will never be unpicked — and the London section is one of the finest we've ever seen.

London Weather, by Inclement Atlee

That flighty rapscallion the Sun should make a number of cameos today, playing a game of now-you-see-me-now-you-don't with the clouds. These periodic intrusions should be enough to lift the temperature to a giddy 20°C. Watch out, though, Friday night drinkers: rain is forecast for the very minute you decide to down tools and head to the pub.