Extravagant weekend in London

Last weekend was my first living in London and if it is any sort of indication of what life in London will be like, I’m excited 🙂

The band getting ready to play

We started off the weekend Friday evening meeting at the Tower of London after work for The Tower Festival. Ann had managed to get us tickets for two days at the festival and Friday it was The British Philharmonic Orchestra playing Classic Extravaganza. Before the concert we met up with a couple of local CouchSurfers at a pub and went to the venue with them afterwards. The concert was good and it was quite amazing sitting outside in central London listening to classical music. Here are two short video clips of the concert.

Saturday we went to The Barbican Centre which is a huge modern complex in the middle of London. It is a maze to figure out and although some call it The Ugliest Building in London I kind of like the place especially the inside has a very clean design in a 70s way with wood and concrete.

Handel Concert at the Barbican

We went to hear a special concert to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Händel’s death called Handel Remixed. For that celebration they had asked a couple of composers to reinterpret some of Händel’s works. The composers were at the concert as well taking applause after their piece had been played. I wasn’t really expecting much before the concert but was blown away once it started. Compared to the day before the sound was so crisp and clean. The music was also very captivating and I really enjoyed it even though I don’t know much about Händel or classical music.

Sunday we went back to The Tower of London for a day of World Music at The Tower Festival where five bands were playing. It started in the afternoon and they had encouraged people to bring a picnic, so that was what we did.

Ann at our spot

The bands we saw were Siyaya from Zimbabwe, Abdullah Chhadeh from Syria, Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara from UK/Gambia and Tony Allen from Nigeria. They were all good in their own ways but the one I enjoyed the most was Adams on electric guitar and Camara on a one stringed ritti playing “Afro-Blues”. It doesn’t get more worldly than that 🙂 Here is a short video of them playing.

What a weekend! Three separate events and we had more things planned that we didn’t make it out the door to. I’m looking forward to keep exploring London 🙂 Ann has written a lot more about the event’s of the weekend. Here are here stories for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Being in a big city like London there is such a multitude of things to do that our biggest problems are finding out what’s going on and choose what we want to do.
We have started an open calendar for the events we would like to do in order to keep track of things. If you are in London feel free to subscribe to it and let us know if you wan to join us for something.

Zizkov celebrations

We live 100 meters from the city hall in Zizkov (Prague 3) and Tuesday was Masopust in Czech which means goodbye meat – they last day before lent.


In Zizkov this is celebrated with people dressing up and walking in parade from Jiho z Podebrad to Zizkov city hall where the city provides free food and beer. So we had to check it out.

As in other Christian celebrations, Masopust has elements of much older traditions involving fertility rites and celebrating the coming of spring. In Masopust these elements take form in the masks and costumes traditionally worn by revelers, representing various mythical characters and creatures. Like the guys in this video with wipes and strange face paint and costumes:

Later on the parade made it down to the town hall and the party got an extra lift from the free beers and food that plenty of teenagers and hobos also seemed to enjoy. Here is a cheeky Czech guy who offers Femi a drink of vodka and then later asks him for money:

Because of the cold weather (sigh!) we only stayed for one beer and by then we had seen a lot of the gimmicks. A funny thing was the odd mix of people with old women, students, young school children, expats and tourists – everyone with a big smile on their face.

Wednesday offered more entertainment in our neighborhood as Helge, a Danish friend, had invited us out to Akropolis. An Nigerian artist calledTony Allen was playing afrobeat with his band.


It turned out to be a fantastic concert and Akropolis has great atmosphere much in the same way as Vega in Copenhagen. After the concert we all went to a bar to celebrate Helges birthday, more people joined and the good times continued. We were about 8 or 10 Danish speaking people so it almost felt like being home.

In 10 hours Im on the plane to Stansted. Ann and I are spending a weekend together in Cambridge :)