Things To Do In London Today: Thursday 23 January 2014

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BLOOD: Today’s opportunities to donate blood are at The Hop Exchange on Southwark Street and The Bishopsgate Institute. Free, see site for terms and conditions

ART: Ever wondered what your commute would look like if personal space were incorporated into it? A lot like Nettie Wakefield's reverse portrait exhibition which opens today at Rook & Raven, we imagine. Free, just turn up, until 6 February 2014

DIABETES: Centre of the Cell’s Big Question lecture series gives you a chance to hear cell biology experts discuss their work and question them about it. Today’s lecture is all about whether Type 2 diabetes can be prevented. Free, prebook, 6pm

VINYL: Darrel Sheinman, creator of Geabox Records, speaks about the art of vinyl mastering in the first in a series of talks for 2014, hosted by Audio Lounge. £5 (proceeds go to Dance Art Foundation), prebook, 6.30pm

LEXICOGRAPHY: Dr Johnson’s House, just off Fleet Street, is the atmospheric setting for an evening of poetry inspired by lexicography (the art of writing or editing dictionaries). £5 (includes a glass of wine), prebook, 7pm

MUSIC LAUNCH: Popular London band The Rifles launch their new album None The Wiser at The Boogaloo in Highbury tonight. We're loving their London vibe -0 the video for their single Heebie Jeebies was Camden-centric. £15, prebook, 7pm

DISCUSSION: Jonathan Dimbleby hosts a Royal Society of Literature discussion as to whether social privilege and a private school education is necessary to have a successful career in writing. £10, prebook, 7pm

BOOK LAUNCH: The Storyteller of Jerusalem: The Life and Times of Wasif Jawharriyeh is a collection of anecdotes from Jerusalem spanning 1904 to 1948. This UK launch includes readings from the book and Arab music performances. Free, prebook, 7pm

UKE KNOW YOU WANT TO: We tried this ourselves recently and had a blast. Guitar too mainstream? Violin too expensive? Cello too big? Why not try the ukelele instead? Learn to Uke runs a taster session today - ukuleles provided so all you need to bring is yourself and a willingness to sing (or at least pretend to sing) The Lion Sleeps Tonight. £18 (with code 'JanUke', usually £38), prebook, 7-8.30pm

BURNS NIGHT: Scottish celebrations get underway early in Shepherd's Bush today, as the Princess Victoria hosts an Ashes, Smokes and Burns Supper Club. £30 for three course meal (drinks extra), prebook, 7.30pm

PROMENADE PRODUCTION: The English Pocket Opera's promenade production of Orpheus & Eurydice allows the audience to travel with Orpheus through different spaces. £12/£8, prebook, 7.30pm

Good Cause of the Day

Book ahead for the first in a series of uplifting lectures from CoppaFeel!, the campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms of breast cancer. This talk focuses on the power of determination, and speakers include Rob Forkan, who started Gandy's Flip Flops with his brother Paul after they lost their parents in the 2004 tsunami. All money raised goes to CoppaFeel! £10, prebook, 4 February at 7pm

London Connection Puzzle

Your clues so far have been ‘General Charles George Gordon’ and 'Dean Stanley'. The next clue is 'Charles Darwin'. What do these unlikely bedfellows have in common? If you think you've spotted the London connection, email, as we don't yet have a winner at the time of writing.

From the Archive

On this day last year, we published this map of London's underground rivers which used to all feed into the Thames, but now serve as underground sewers — pretty lucky really, considering our recent deluges. Should the worst occur, it's handy to know that "London's Drowning" fits the tune of "London's Burning" quite nicely. You can see the rest of our Londonist Underground series here.


This week’s theme is ‘weird and wonderful sculptures of London’. Today's entry is this peculiar sundial at the western end of Holland Park. It is perhaps the only timepiece in the world that involves a tortoise-crushing gnomon. (And that was perhaps the first time in the history of the world that anyone's typed the phrase 'tortoise-crushing gnomon'.) You can see another view here, where it's clear that the sundial is one giant lever for cracking the shells of reptiles. Very strange. The bronze oddity is the work of Wendy Taylor, who also designed a memorable sundial for St Katharine Docks.