What we’re reading
- Shigeru Ban to build "pagoda in the park" as his first UK building.
- South Bank hotel to become luminous artwork for Lumiere London 2018.
- London's January air quality 'best in 10 years'.
- London 'put to shame' by New York fossil fuel divestment.
- Traffic chaos in Elephant and Castle as black cab drivers stage demo against TfL and Uber.
Things to do
OPERA WEEKENDER: With a virtual reality experience from the Welsh Natural Opera, a performance disrupting the male gaze, a panel discussion about how the genre is adapting to the digital age and reduced entry to the exhibition Opera: Passion, Power & Politics, you'll be a fully committed opera convert by the end of the weekend. The V&A, £10, book ahead, 19-21 January
MODEL ENGINEERING EXHIBITION: Join 14,000 model tinkerers at Ally Pally for one of the UK's leading model shows. More than 50 clubs and societies will be showing off everything from steam locomotives to modern gadgets. Alexandra Palace, £12, book ahead, 19-21 January
ETHOMETRIC MUSEUM: Be transported into a parallel universe of cosmic tones and esoteric technology at this intriguing pop-up museum, filled with hand-crafted contraptions that create a mesmerising immersive soundscape. Ugly Duck (London Bridge), £12, book ahead, 19-21 January
THE LOST WORD: Back in 2002, a survey found that British schoolchildren were able to identify Pokémon far more accurately than common UK wildlife. This exhibition of animal illustrations and nature-inspired poetry hopes to rectify the results of that sad survey. Foundling Museum, £11/£8.25 conc, just turn up, 19 January-6 May
PLANET PLAY: Bring fidgety babies and toddlers to this morning playgroup, where they are encouraged to explore the world around them through song, music, movement and lots of fun sensory stuff. Chickenshed Theatre (Southgate), £6, book ahead, 10am-10.45am, every Friday until 9 March
REMAKING HISTORY: Hear a panel discussion exploring the ways photography addresses issues around diversity and equality both behind and in front of the camera, chaired by Brett Rogers OBE, director of The Photographers' Gallery. Business Design Centre, various prices, book ahead, 4pm-5pm
DANGEROUS DATING: Unleash your inner lumberjack (with guidance from an instructor) at this social event for singletons, because nothing says romance like a spot of axe throwing. Sign up here for access to more unusual events. Whistlepunks (Vauxhall), £35, book ahead, 7.15pm-10pm
CANDLELIT BACH: Hear classics from Bach, Vivaldi and Pachelbel in a beautiful candlelit church setting. How's that for atmosphere? St Martin-in-the-Fields, £22, book ahead, 7.30pm
ELECTROGIRLS: Fed up with going to the club and it's a massive sausage fest? This night aims to bring balance and diversity to London's DJ scene. Check out the excellent DJ lineup here. Tipsy, free, just turn up, 9pm-3am
Good cause of the day: We Are family LGBTQ+ community centre fundraiser
Don your finest, sparkliest outfit and prepare to shake your thing to queer anthems all night long, courtesy of Superstore boss Dan Beaumont, who will be rocking the basement, while upstairs, Disco Spritz resident Chaka Khan't is joined by Michelle Manetti (Fèmmme Fraîche) and PATSY regular Jaye Ward. Money raised will go towards a much-needed LGBTQ+ Community Centre for London. Dalston Superstore, free before 10pm/£6 after, just turn up, 9pm-3am
Fun things to do with our friends and sponsor Funzing...
Learn about London's debauched, drunken and disorderly history on this tour of the sordid side of the West End. Have you heard the story of the 15ft high tsunami of beer which rushed through the streets of London? Or about London's unluckiest theatre and most morbidly-located church? This tour will take you from the Covent Garden to Somerset House, entertaining you with tales of hangmen and criminals, prostitutes and paupers and the eccentric characters of Georgian London along the way. Get tickets
Camden's known for its street art, but how much do you really know about it? Explore the street art of Camden, and learn about the people who make it from an insider. You''ll visit pieces of street art that are off the beaten track, and get an insight into their possible meaning and inspiration. This two-hour tour will enable you to see Camden in a new light. Get tickets
Visit old pubs, even older churches, hidden rivers, mysterious tunnels and more on this tour of hidden Londo. You'll hear tales of the myths and legends which made the City of London what it is today, and find out the area's links to nursery rhymes and literary figures. Get tickets
Get sorted into one of the four magical houses of Hogwarts, and go in exploration of the city’s famous filming locations on this 2-hour walking tour. You’ll meet your guide outside the Palace Theatre, where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is showing, and set off on your journey across town - following in the footsteps of Deatheaters, visiting the inspiration for Knocturn Alley, and marvelling at the Ministry of Magic. And you better brush up on your Potter knowledge, because you can earn points for your house along the way, by taking part in trivia quizzes. The winners? You’ll find out when the tour ends at Platform 9 3/4… Get tickets