Things To Do Today In London: Tuesday 12 November 2019

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Christmas begins in Covent Garden as the lights are switched on

Things to do

QUEER FILM FEST: Fringe! Queer Film Fest is a volunteer-run festival celebrating London's queer creative scene and telling LGBTIQA+ stories through film. The opening screening tonight is about the history of drag festival Wigstock, while other highlights include a revenge fable and a Madonna symposium. Various locations and prices, book ahead, 12-17 November

MUCH ADO: Theatre group Shakespeare at the Tobacco Company marks its 20th anniversary with a run of Much Ado About Nothing. The comedy takes place at the end of a war, with Benedick and Beatrice tricked into confessing their love for each other, and Claudio duped into rejecting Hero at the altar. Wilton's Music Hall (Limehouse), £10-£27, book ahead, 12-23 November

CHRISTMAS MARKETS: Today's the day to start your Christmas shopping, as a variety of markets and fairs take place across the capital. The Charterhouse in Clerkenwell hosts over 50 stands selling crafts, homewares, food and drink (11am-8pm), while the Rugby Portobello Trust launches its 30th anniversary Christmas market (6pm-9pm). It's also the preview evening of the Trinity Hospice Christmas Fair in Wandsworth (6.30pm).

Much Ado About Nothing opens at Wilton's Music Hall

MATHS AND VOTING: Gresham Professor of Geometry, Chris Budd OBE, gives a timely lecture about maths and voting. Find out about the mathematical flaws of our current voting system — and how similar problems exist in the Eurovision Song Contest. Museum of London, free, just turn up, 1pm-2pm

COVENT GARDEN CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: Today's the day that Christmas begins in Covent Garden as the Christmas lights are switched on. Gather in the Piazza to see 115,000 lights on the surrounding streets and buildings, including 30,000 on the towering Christmas tree. A special celebrity guest, to be revealed, does the honours. See when London's other Christmas lights are illuminated. Covent Garden, free, just turn up, 5.30pm

MISSING MEGAFAUNA: The Zoological Society of London — the charity behind London Zoo — hosts a panel of experts to talk about the extinct species of Madagascar, and what can be learnt from them. The island has undergone an ecosystem collapse, with giant lemurs, hippos and elephant birds among the historic species wiped out. ZSL (Regent's Park), free, just turn up, 6pm-7.45pm

See the Band of the RAF Regiment perform

IMPERIAL LATES: Imperial College stays open late for an evening themed on the infectious. Meet staff and scientists, learn about their work, and take part in discussions, debates and activities — a ball pit and a free drink are among the offerings this month. Imperial College (South Kensington), free, book ahead, 6pm-9pm

SCIENCE ON SCREEN: AI and Robotics professor Noel Sharkey (you may have seen him on Robot Wars) introduces 1951 sci-fi film, The Day The Earth Stood Still. Watch the alien/robot invasion film, with background context about the real robots which were being developed in the 1950s. Barbican Cinema, £10.50, book ahead, 6.20pm

MEDIOCRE WHITE MALE: A dark, comic monologue about ancient history and the lies we tell ourselves, Mediocre White Male is a work in progress show by playwrights Will Close and Joe Von Malachowski. It's the story of a 30 year old man, still living in his home town and stuck in a dead end job. Pleasance Theatre (Islington), £10, book ahead, 7pm

We're not sure what this dog has to to with maths or voting, but he's cute, so who are we to argue?

BLACK UNION JACK: Race theorist Paul Gilroy, writer Derek Owusu and author Jeffrey Boakye discuss Gilroy's seminal work, There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack. 32 years after it was published, they reflect on contemporary and historical black culture, and the black stories that still need to be told. British Library, £13/£6.50, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

RAF BAND: The Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment celebrates the history of the RAF with a concert reflecting some of the biggest events in the force's history. Director of Music Flight Lieutenant Tom Rodda leads the band. Winston Churchill Theatre (Ruislip), £17, book ahead, 7.30pm

SMOKE COMEDY: Jordan Brookes headlines the final Smoke Comedy show of 2019, trying out new work ahead of an appearance at Soho Theatre in December. He's joined by Richard Todd, Emily Woods, Liz Guterbock and Maddie Campion. The Sekforde Arms (Clerkenwell), £5, book ahead, 7.30pm-10pm

Tube ponderings with Barry Heck

Our resident tube fancier dishes out daily thoughts on the London Underground.

Did you know that around 1.3 billion journeys are made on the tube every year? That's equivalent to a sixth of the world's population catching the underground (though, of course, these are not 1.3 billion individual people, but a much smaller number making multiple journeys). Incredible. If the stats on Wikipedia are to be believed, though, this makes London's only the 13th most busy metro system in the world. Paris conveys 1.5 billion people, and New York 1.7 billion. Beijing is the champion, though, with an annual ridership of 3.9 billion people — equivalent to half the world's population.

Follow Barry on Twitter @HeckTube.

Good cause of the day

Sign up now to take part in The World's Big Sleep Out on 7 December. The London branch of the worldwide event takes place in Trafalgar Square, with people sleeping there overnight to raise money for The Big Issue Foundation and other homelessness charities. Find out more and sign up.

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