Things to do today is sponsored by Je Joue.
What we're reading
- Learn how London's Bethlem hospital (or Bedlam) became a 'palace for lunatics'.
- Southwark Council doesn't know how much social housing it's getting from developers.
- Borough Market cheese event descends into chaos.
- Watch the Minister for Transport knock over a cyclist as he opens a taxi door.
- A pubcast, on what's brewing down in south London.
- A petition to save a historic south London cottage.
Things to do
NEW BAKERY OPENING: Ole & Steen is a new Danish bakery in St James's Market. It bakes Nordic classics such as cinnamon 'snegl' or swirl, and 'flødebolle' or marshmallow puffs. You can also pop in for breakfast or lunch, when there are more than just sweet tooth options. Our pick is the chocolate swirl. 56 Haymarket, 2 St James's Market, all day
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: Sit down with a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine and enjoy the ultimate Christmas movie, It's a Wonderful Life. The Prince Charles Cinema, £4-£11 depending on membership and screening, book in advance, 1.05pm and 9pm
A CHRISTMAS CAROL: Watch a performance of A Christmas Carol in Charles Dickens's former house in Bloomsbury. Ticket includes entry to the museum displays. £22, book in advance, 16 December-2 January
ANDY PARSONS, SLACKTIVIST: Andy Parsons is so fed up with the world he's decided to do absolutely nothing about it. That's right, he's a slacktivist. Join Parsons and guests at the Soho Theatre as they try to achieve one action before the show is over (unlikely), before adjourning to the bar. £10, book in advance, 7.15pm-8.15pm
CHRISTMAS WITH THE CARNIVAL BAND: Festive folk stirring things up at Cadogan Hall. Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band mix modern, renaissance and world instruments for a new spin on Christmas music. £19.50-£24.50, book in advance, from 7.30pm
MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET: Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins — a legendary line-up. Watch a musical at Royal Festival Hall that recreates the recording session that brought these legends together for the first and only time. £20-£95, book in advance, from 7.30pm
GROWN-UP FAIRYTALES: Learn the beautiful story of surrealist painter and French second world war resistance fighter Robert Desnos. A man who saved a truckload of people from going to Auschwitz with the power of his imagination. His story will be told by Clare Murphy and Daniel Morden at The Soho Theatre. £10, book in advance, from 8pm
LADIES' TOILET HUMOUR: Riotous radio comedy, Ladies, is recorded live at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town. It takes us back to Camden in 1903 and the actions of the local activist group, Edwardian Ladies Sanitary Association and their battle for female public loos. £11, book in advance, from 8pm
COMEDY HYPNOSIS: Don't run away just yet. Simon Warner's show, Viva Hypnosis, promises not to embarrass or make fun of any audience members. It physically takes place at Leicester Square Theatre, but promises to transport your mind to the glitz and glam of Las Vegas. £17.50-£12.50, book in advance, from 9.30pm
GHOST STORIES: Every Christmas MR James would write and perform ghost stories to entertain his friends. 100 years later these eerie masterpieces still retain their chilling power, especially when performed by James aficionado Robert Lloyd Parry. He's performing Casting the Runes and The Residence at Whitminster at the Old Red Lion Theatre; prepare to be terrified. £10, book in advance, from 10pm
Je Joue & Bijoux Indiscrets' Pop-Up Boutique Returns to Shoreditch – Ditch The Myths Around Sex
Get advice from international experts on all things sex-related at Je Joue & Bijoux Indiscrets' latest pop-up. Promoting pleasure and sex-positivity, the free workshops and talks will answer all your burning questions.
Whether you’re interested in learning more about BDSM & fetish (19 December), learning more about polygamy (20 December) or want tips on going down on your partner (22 Dec), this pop-up has it covered and more.
Grab some last-minute Christmas goodies and don't forget the free prosecco. Get educated and inspired about the world of sex-positivity at 45 Charlotte Road in Shoreditch from 19-23 December. Pre-booking recommended for most events — find out more here.
Review: Reflections on the war in Afghanistan
Fragments from a rocket-propelled grenade, a poppy harvesting kit and an SAS fighting knife are some of the impressive items on display at this small exhibition. It also shows the human side of the conflict in Afghanistan over the last 10 years, as well as looking back and questioning whether British military intervention was the right strategy. A thought-provoking exhibition. Afghanistan: Reflections on Helmand at Imperial War Museum. Until 26 November 2017, free. ★★★★☆
Good cause of the day
LIEDER AT CHRISTMAS: Book in advance for this evening of Lieder love songs, Schubert, Grieg and Handel with a sprinkling of Christmas songs to finish. The event is on behalf of the Love a Child Foundation. £18, book in advance, 21 December, 6.30pm-9pm
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