January City Events
London has some of the best events in store for you at the beginning of the year.
Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair at National Portrait Gallery (Free Exhibtion) – 29th September – 24th March
The original blonde bombshell and the very definition of a “star” Marilyn Monroe has inspired generations of women with her self-affirming and glamorous approach to life, and the silver screen. 50 years after her tragic death Marilyn is still a legend and the National Portrait Gallery is celebrating her with their free exhibition. The original blond bombshell is shown as British photographers saw her. With professional shoots, magazine covers and more casual pictures you cannot help but fall in love again with one of the 20th century’s most glamorous stars.
Random International: Rain Room at Barbican Centre – 4th October – 3rd March
Many visitors to the UK are warned that it never stops raining, and now, courtesy the Curve at the Barbican Centre you can experience it inside too. There is something magical about watching raindrops falling and you can be transported by simply watching this unusual installation. However, if you are a bit more adventurous you can actually walk around and through the rain and not get wet. The deluge simply melts away in front of you as you walk forward and then closes in behind you. This is an unexpectedly surreal experience, and it’s totally free. It is a good idea to make sure you get there early in the day as the queue builds up quickly and can often force a wait of more than two hours.
Rock’n Roll Baby!
Blood Red Shoes at O2 Empire Shepherd’s Bush – 22nd January
Rock out at the Empire Shepherd’s Bush with Blood Red Shoes. The fiery relationship of Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell feeds the creative energy of this band. With roots in punk and alternative rock this Brighton based duo has a sound powered by driving guitar riffs, pattering drum rolls and anthemic pop lyrics. Carter plays guitar, Ansell drums and they share the vocals. Their latest and third album “In Time to Voices” is a much more ambitious work and has received rave reviews from Kerrang!, Artrocker and even the BBC.
Asking Alexandria at O2 Academy Brixton – 19th January
If you like your music with a metal edge to it then headbang with Asking Alexandria at Brixton Academy this month. Having only been formed in 2008 the band has had three names, spanned two continents and had a total of 12 different members. Ben Bruce is the force behind the band and his lead guitar helps to temper the raw thrash sound. Their first two albums “Stand Up and Scream” and “Reckless & Relentless” hit with critical acclaim and they are just about to release their third this year.
Alt-J at O2 Empire Shepherd’s Bush – 18th – 19th January
The brand new, shiny and unusual indie band ∆, pronounced Alt-J, are back and fresh from winning the 2012 British Barclaycard Mercury Prize. Expect this quartet from Leeds to be on a high. Their debut album “An Awesome Wave” won against stiff competition like rapper Plan B, singer Jessie Ware and Sunderland brothers Field Music. Playing at London’s iconic O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire for two nights these are a must see if you like your indie rock a bit off kilter, cerebral and with a large chunk of quirky.
Twilight tour of Tower of London – 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th January
OK so it’s not Halloween anymore, but if you fancy a scare then head to the Tower Of London after hours any Wednesday in January. Every corner of this huge medieval pile has a ghost story to share. Yeoman Warders lead the tours and they share their huge knowledge of the history of the Tower plus all sorts of ghost stories. Hear about objects flung from rooms on the top floor of the 13th-century Beauchamp tower, a gentleman in doublet and those looking mournfully down from the battlements and the nasty children in the funny clothes and the two princes murdered here. Although you can pretty much do the same tour during the day, if you are a keen photographer then having the place to yourself is a great chance to take some stunning pictures without all the annoying tourists getting in the way. You will need to book in advance online to make sure you get a place.