With the summer temperatures climbing, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to look for some indoor entertainment in London this month. The coolness of venues like the National Portrait Gallery or the Roundhouse can be seen as a good counterbalance to the fierce August heat, especially if you have kids in tow.
Enigmatic to the point of spooky, Michael Jackson was nevertheless an ever present indicator who signposted the changing face of western culture in the late twentieth century. His main gift to us is not his sound or success, but his “movement” – a phenomenon of fluid kinetics that is both timeless and immediate.
This is what this exhibition taps into. On The Wall is not a document about the life and times of MJ, it’s a spotlight that illuminates his effect on art in the broader sense. Artists are undoubtedly inspired by Jackson’s eyes and feet which they tend to see as independent entities. Paintings, sculptures and installations all point to an artist that was complex, graceful and tragic all at the same time.
The rebranding of the London cabaret scene is one of the great successes of contemporary culture in the Capital. Hiring world-class novelty acts while retaining an intimate speakeasy vibe is not an easy feat, but the guys behind La Soirée and La Clique have come up trumps with this latest incarnation of the raunchy circus schtick.
Club Swizzle retains a lot of the cheeky atmosphere that endeared us to its predecessors, but now turns audience participation up a few notches. Bar tenders suddenly turn into juggling acrobats before your very eyes and don’t be surprised if you get co-opted into an impromptu pole dancing competition. A fantastic hot jazz ensemble keep things cooking along and the MC manages to be both sarcastic and hilarious while looking like he just wandered in of Chalk Farm Road.
There might be a joke in the title of this sixth instalment of the Tom Cruise espionage franchise. As super-spy Ethan Hunt, Cruise has fallen out of all manner of speeding vehicles: planes, trains, submarines etc. All this has been in an effort to thwart a succession of doomsday scenarios while also exploring the nature of deep-state treachery.
By the time we catch up with the latest incarnation of the MI gang, Hunt is unsure of the way forward and is seriously considering his options. All this gets pushed aside, however as a series of deadly set pieces pull the team together in a desperate fight for survival. Also stars Alec Baldwin, Henry Cavill and Simon Pegg.
A massive urban dance music festival on the southern branch of the Northern Line transport system has to be an end of summer no-brainer. Every August bank holiday, SW4 occupies a large part of Clapham Common and shines a spotlight on a large slice of underground beats and rhymes.
This year, the focus is more on streetwise genres. The hard dance DJs will all be present and correct, but the likes of Chase & Status will be grabbing headline spots and injecting some welcome grit into proceedings. Food stalls, record shops, mobile tattoo parlours and all manner of merchandise points will contribute to an amazing weekend of bass, beats and bombastic rhyming.