London pop culture: 6 different ways I experienced it in 2015
As I begin to understand some of the slang, it’s time to update my London pop culture knowledge and start a list of things I can’t miss.
I’ve been to some, I’ve missed some (basically because I wasn’t looking for them) and some I didn’t even know were there!
Growing up with plenty of British references – mostly humor (Monty Python, Black Adder, Mr. Bean, The Office) and music (Beatles, Joy Division, Clash, Oasis, Blur, Jools Holland show) – I still feel I need to update them.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum (221B Baker Street)
Ah, getting to know the house of the most famous detective in London, Sherlock Holmes! But wait. Wasn’t he a fictional character? No matter how many times I repeat that to myself, I still treat him like a real person.
Instead of visiting the museum that day, we went straight to the souvenir shop (which is where you also buy the tickets for the museum, by the way).
In that environment, it’s tough to remember he’s not real. The museum may as well be one of the most popular tourist traps in London, but if you’re a fan of the character, you can’t help to drop by for a visit.
By the way, my all-time favorite Sherlock Holmes so far is the one played by Jeremy Brett (he was so dramatic all the time). And well, we all kind of know by now that Ian McKellen will rock it too, right?
Closest Tube Station: Baker Street Station, Marylebone Rd (Bakerloo Line, Circle Line, Jubilee Line, Hammersmith & City Line, Metropolitan Line); approximately 5-minute walk.
This one I can scratch off the list, although I didn’t visit the neighborhood for the movie.
So, remember when Spike poses for journalists and the paparazzi in front of the blue door? Apparently, that’s a huge deal. It’s like an “it happened here” kind of moment.
Well, I’ve been there already, I might go back for another stroll, but I don’t intend to chase a blue door. By the way, the whole area is nice just in case you haven’t seen the movie or (like me) don’t remember how it was.
Closest Tube Station: Notting Hill Gate (Central Line, District Line, Circle Line, Hammersmith & City Line); approximately 10-minute walk to Portobello Road.
Running into a wall (Harry Potter style)
This one is definitely on Dhanish’s list. Visiting Platform 9 ¾, that is, not literally running into a wall. He’s the hardcore fan who’s read all the books and saw all the movies; I’ve watched the first movie and maybe ¾ (pun intended) of the second one.
Ok, to the fans, I’m being blasphemous, I know. Let’s assume I haven’t found the magic yet and that I have to dedicate some heart and soul to it, alright? It’s on my list.
Closest Tube Station: King’s Cross Station (Circle Line, Hammersmith & City Line, Metropolitan Line, Northern Line, Piccadilly Line, Victoria Line); the trolley that disappears into the wall is free, and it’s inside the station (skip the overpriced souvenir shop).
Isn’t it JUST a zebra crossing?
Ok, so let’s talk about Abbey Road and The Beatles. I love The Beatles. I grew up listening to their records with my dad. But to cross the same zebra crossing as they did for the cover of their eleventh studio album with the same name as the street?
Maybe I give it a go but try something different or a new angle… Because this was the album released before the last one, but it was actually the last time they were together in the studio as a band.
So, I have mixed feelings about it. Let’s see if the famous zebra crossing speaks to me in any way (if it doesn’t, I’ll let you know).
Closest Tube Station: St. John’s Wood (Jubilee Line); approximately a 5-minute walk to Abbey Road Studios.
The most famous serial killer of all time
What’s our idea of family fun? Why a Jack the Ripper tour, of course. Isn’t that what all families do for fun? An enthusiast of crime mysteries and the Victorian period (Dhanish), a fan of all that’s gruesome and scary (me), and a student who wants to work in criminology (my son).
Please, we’d be the groupies leaving the tour with t-shirts and signed book copies! We did our own walking tour of Jack the Ripper murder spots in Whitechapel, but we’d love to do the Russell Edwards tour one day.
Closest Tube Station: Aldgate East (Circle Line, District Line, Hammersmith & City Line); meeting point is at the station, Toynbee Hall exit.
Horror Film Festivals
Boy, am I going to love this city and its three horror festivals.
FrightFest starts later this month, but I’ll have to skip it this year. I don’t have the time right now for proper research, watching trailers, and assess the level of fright to narrow down the movies I want to watch.
Kudos for the films that were at this year’s Fantasporto and that will be screened here too: Landmine Goes Click, Awaiting, III and Suspension.
Closer to the end of the year, in October ( a very appropriate month for spooks), it’s time for the London Horror Festival and the British Horror Film Festival.
I’m sure I can clear a day or two in my busy schedule to go see a couple of films and plays.