ADVENT 18: Akira The Don's Festive Guide To London

Just Jack asked me to list my five favourite places in London, so I decided, what with it being Saturnalia Superman time and all, I'd make it a festive special. And it went a lil something like this:


I have lived in London now for 12 years, which is plenty of time to get to an awareness for the highlights and intricacies of a city, although it would take a life time to truly know them. London is like cities in Terry Pratchet novels, in that it never seems to stay still – shops pop up and disappear as if by magic, and whole roads seem to move and morph, as if sculpted by the ever changing will and mood of the populace. Never is this so true as at Christmas time, or Saturnalia, or WInterval, or whatever you wish to call it. Now time – when the snow threatens to fall and fairy lights adorn the rooftops and poor people swarm the town’s twin Westfields to spend fake money auto-generated by loan forms and little rectangular plastic cards on useless tat they’ll be filling Chinese landfills with by this time next year. And so, without further ado, let me list for you my five favourite festive places in London.

Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park: If there is one thing guaranteed to put me in the correct frame of mind for this time of year, to fill me with the requisite Christmas Spirit, it is a visit to the traveling German Winter Carnival that posts up at Hyde Park for the December month every year, bringing with it a myriad of rides, stalls, giant snowmen, and a cubic acre of fine beers. Ride a roller coaster with a jug of ale in your be-gloved paw! Take hilarious photos with giant Santa statues! Dance frenziedly to German Euro Techno as DJed by pot bellied 47 year old bald men! Wet your drawers with mirth at the giant joke-telling tree! Last year a squirrel jumped on my lap while I was sat down having a drink. If that ain’t Christmassy I don’t know what is.

The ice skating rink, The National History Museum: The National History Museum is awesome all year round, but add the glorious wintery wonder of an ICE SKATING RINK and you have yourself a bonafide saturnalian city essential.

Southern Hospitality Boxing Day special, The Westbury: What could be more festive than going apeshit with a room full of the dopest and happiest humans on earth to contempi-rap anthems like AKA Frank’s My Dick Aint Racist and MGK and Waka FLoka’s Wild Boy? Nothing, that’s what. The Southern Hospitality crew consistently host the most glorious and crunk rap parties in the world, and the Christmas one looks set to cap a year of mighty and AWK-esque Hard Partying in a truly bacchanalian fashion.

Stratford Picture House, Stratford: I am a massive fan of the Picture House as an institution, and became a member this year, one of my better decisions. For under £50 you get a fistful of tickets, which pays for the price in itself, and then for the rest of the year your cinema tickets cost £4 and under AND you get money off your popcorn and soft drinks and whiskey. Add to that the friendly and educated staff, the great selection of movies, that you can happily swig back all the booze you like from the comfort of your seat in front of their five big old screens, AND the free mulled wine they give to members at Christmas and you have yourself the ultimate cinema, all year round, but especially at Christmas.

Victoria Park, Hackney Wick: One of the Christmassiest and cost effective things a person can do these in these so-called days of austerity is post up in one of London’s vast and beauteous parks with another sexy human and a bag of mushrooms. This is how me and my woman plan to spend New Years Eve, anyway, and we will be choosing Victoria Park, as it is vast and multifaceted and has a great big fuck off slide in the middle, is surrounded by the emerging Olympic Stadia/alien landing sites for next year’s planned fake-alien invasion , and is also handily right by our house, so we can flee indoors and watch It’s A Wonderful Life on the projector if it gets too gnarly/cold.

Go see the fine folks at Just Jack here.