Local Area NewsMar 2014
St Patrick's Day - Trafalgar Square
St Patrick seems to be the only patron saint whose memory is celebrated with enthusiasm in London and the reason is social as well as religious. It's true that five hundred years ago, the Protestant reformation put paid to any veneration of the saints but bishops always had a soft spot for Patrick seeing that he was a bona fide evangelist and not a jumped up Libyan mercenary like St George and his fictitious dragon. When the wave of catholic Irish immigrants arrived to build London's roads, railways and monuments they brought with them a love for the old snake charmer that survives to this day (St Pat was supposed to have miraculously driven all the snakes out of Ireland).
Focusing around Trafalgar Square, the St Patricks Day celebrations will showcase Irish music, dance and food. There will be live performances from Riverdance, The Commitments and Kila as well as Irish dance lessons and food. The infamous Guinness beer will be in plentiful supply so following the two mile parade around Central London will seem like a piece of cake (or soda bread!). With large Irish communities in the north west of the city, it might be worthwhile travelling up to the pubs of Kilburn or Willesden in order to sample an even more authentic Dublin experience.
Late Night Jazz - Elgar Rooms
The Hot Club is a retro jazz residency at the Royal Albert Hall that harks back to the days when jazz was challenging without being intellectual. In pre-war Paris, American jazz musicians found a fresh context for their exhilarating dance rhythms together with a welcoming and inquiring audience. Just a short taxi ride away from Space Apart Hotel, home grown virtuosos like Django Reinhardt absorbed jazz while retaining their own distinctly European influences. Benoit Viellefon pays homage to these times with his hard swinging outfit of talented musicians whose double guitar attack is augmented by double bass and horns.
The Shirt Tail Stompers are retro and proud of it. Their niche is the no-frills barrel room swing that made Fats Waller such a superstar in the thirties. Superb musicianship and a sly sense of fun are the main ingredients that make the Stompers such a great night out and it's hard to believe that they've only been together for a couple of years.
The Ideal Home Show - Earl's Court
With London strolling confidently out of the shadow of the recession, homeowners are looking to spruce up their living spaces with an eye to maximising their value. The Ideal Home Show is a timely creative shot in the arm for those of us in need of inspiration apart from being a fun day out for the whole family. Earls Court will host this week long showcase with tons of ideas, projects and expert opinion.
The show is divided into several zones with each concentrating on ways to give your home that added X-factor. Garden makeovers, home improvements, entertainment guides and building tips are just a few of the many subjects covered and explained. The makeover boom is, of course, largely fuelled by the success of numerous television shows in which experts show us how easy it is for families to build their very own underground biosphere, using just old bicycle parts. These very same gurus will be appearing at Earls Court so it's a chance to watch them put their money (or someone else's) where their mouth is.