While coronavirus continues to scupper all but the most determined of fun-seekers, the London cultural scene is largely just getting on with things as best it can. In this new regular column, we fill you in on the the ever-changing restrictions and give you a list of ways to spend a perfect, Covid-safe Halloween Weekend.
Food and drink
The advice: The hospitality sector continues to be hard hit by Tier 2 restrictions, with no mixed groups allowed to meet indoors (although there is a grey area over business lunches, which it seems are allowed).
Taking those guidelines into account, we suggest you take advantage of this incredible, user-generated map of all the pubs in London with outdoor heaters.
With pins from Barnet to Surbiton, you’re sure to find a drinking hole where you can meet friends without having to pretend you’re having a weekend business meeting.
The map will be updated every two weeks, so if your favourite pub isn’t listed, it may be added soon. Happy Halloween weekend!
Halloween weekend and the Day of the Dead
This weekend would usually be filled with restaurants cashing in on the double-whammy of Halloween and The Day of the Dead.
This year is different, of course, with restrictions making most social gatherings all but impossible. Still, we have pulled together a guide for enjoying Halloween as best we can, from Bloody Mary doughnuts to beer and spooky decorations delivered to your door.
Day of the Dead, meanwhile, technically falls on Monday, but if you want to get into the Mexican spirit, here’s our guide, which includes the down-low on a guest bartender popping up in London Bridge’s Santo Remedio on Sunday.
If you’re in the market for something a little more traditional, our Life&Style editor Steve Dinneen visited Pantechnicon, a vast new eating and drinking complex in Knightsbridge, where the minimalist styles of Scandinavia and Japan meet in wooden harmony.
Pick between Nordic and Japanese food and enjoy a frankly bonkers list of cocktails that provide theatre as well as merriment.
The advice: Going into the weekend, the government advice around galleries and museums remains unchanged. This means no mixing between households in indoor areas, but most galleries are open as usual. It is strongly advised to book before you go, however, with timed tickets, cashless payments and social distancing mandatory.
Turner’s Modern World at the Tate Britain
The Tate Britain returns with one of the most beloved British painters, JMW Turner. This blockbuster exhibition is an “Imax-sized naval blockbuster”, a collection of masterpieces so vast you could comfortably drown in those exquisitely-crafted waves for an entire afternoon.
Nobody captured the grandeur and turmoil of the industrial revolution quite like Turner, and from our standpoint in 2020, it’s fascinating to get a glimpse of another age in the grip of vast and unknowable changes.
Soundhouse: Intimacy and Distance at Barbican
If you want to top up your dose of culture without having to ride public transport, the Barbican has launched a new audio-art project that you can tune into through its website.
Consisting of three “rooms”, Soundhouse: Intimacy and Distance invites artists Ariana Martinez, Axel Kacoutié and Arlie Adlington to curate a “shared listening experience” through which listeners can connect despite the physical distance between them.
The pieces cannot be skipped through and play on a loop, meaning each person is listening to the same thing. Through multi-layered sound, including music and speech, the free virtual exhibition explores ideas from “the political power of personal storytelling to the sculptural qualities of sound”.
The advice: With major cinema chains either closing or offering screenings at weekends only, there are major disruptions to anything approaching a regular schedule over the weekend, with the silver lining being that you can catch these releases in a few days on various streaming channels.
The Painter and the Thief
Norwegian documentary filmmaker Benjamin Ree (2016’s Magnus) brings us The Painter and the Thief, an unusual real-life tale of crime and reconciliation.
It follows an artist who strikes up a friendship with the drug addict who stole her paintings. It’s one of the most surprising, heartwarming documentaries of the year – who needs horror movies just because it’s Halloween weekend?
Riz Ahmed lays down his credentials as one of the finest actors of his generation with a bravura performance in Mogul Mowgli. Playing a rapper on the cusp of super-stardom returning to his London roots, it explores what it means to be an ethnic minority trapped between the desire to “fit in” and the need to express your true self, says James Luxford in our review.