Things to do
LONDON SHORT FILM FESTIVAL: The 17th edition of the London Short Film Festival begins today, to entertain you with dramas, documentaries and animations. There are plenty of new releases to see, as well as short films that have placed in international competitions — naturally, we like the sound of London Lives, an insight into surviving life in the capital. Various locations and prices, book ahead, 10-19 January
HIDDEN HYDE PARK: How well do you know Hyde Park? Join this Royal Parks walking tour to discover some of the secrets of the sprawling green space, and hear about the pet cemetery, the stories of criminals who died at the Tyburn Tree, and how Speakers’ Corner began. Hyde Park, £10, book ahead, 10.30am-12pm
THE MOUNTBATTENS: Biographer Andrew Lownie talks about the subject of his new book, The Mountbattens: Their Lives and Loves. He covers some of the more controversial episodes in the lives of former Chief of the Defence Staff Louis Mountbatten (recently portrayed by Charles Dance in The Crown), and heiress turned humanitarian Edwina. National Army Museum (Chelsea), free, book ahead, 11.30am
COMEDY: The world is on fire, so let’s do a show is the premise that brought together some top-notch comedians for tonight’s gig. Megan Crabbe, Joeley Bishop, Sofie Hagen and Scottee are among the acts aiming to make January a little less… well, January. Union Chapel (Islington), £20/£15, book ahead, 6.30pm
LONDON MARI LWYD: Unless you’re Welsh, it’s unlikely that you’ve heard of the London Mari Lwyd… we hadn’t but now we’re intrigued. Everyone, Welsh or otherwise, is invited to join in, following a decorated horse’s skull, visiting pubs and performing songs to celebrate the new year. London Welsh Centre (Gray’s Inn Road), free, just turn up, 6.30pm
LIVE COMEDY: Robin Morgan is getting in early on this year’s Edinburgh preview shows. The comedian tries out an hour of new jokes, leaving you to decide what they’re worth. The Taproom (Islington), free (pay what you want at the end), book ahead, 6.30pm
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT: Screen 25 shows 2019 comedy drama film Blinded by the Light. Set in 1987 in Luton, it’s the story of a teenager growing up in a Pakistani family, who comes to understand life through the songs of Bruce Springsteen. Harris Academy South Norwood, £9/£7/£5, book ahead, 7.45pm
VILE CABARET: The story of composer Kurt Weill is told through satirical and dark songs in The Vile Cabaret. Weill was born in Germany in 1900, and fled to Paris during the second world war. The show gives an insight into the social and political climate of the time. The Other Palace (Victoria), £20, book ahead, 8pm
SKATE LATE: For the final time this season, the Somerset House ice rink stays open late. DJs from Shoreditch club night Night Dreams provide the soundtrack as you glide, twirl and stumble your way into the weekend. Somerset House, £17, book ahead, from 8pm
Tube ponderings with Barry Heck
Our resident tube fancier dishes out daily thoughts on the London Underground.
Got nothing on for Sunday? Literally? Then take part in the No Trousers Tube Ride. It’s that perplexing annual event when students and superannuated students travel the network in their underwear. Why? Nobody seems to know. But it’s all a good laugh, and provides a guaranteed boost to pageviews for grateful online publishers. Sign up via the Facebook event page.
Follow Barry on Twitter @HeckTube… but only if you keep your overclothes on.
Good cause of the day
Want to get fit in 2020? Sign up to take part in the Walkie Talkie Tower Climb in February, and get training. Race up 896 steps over 36 floors and raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. Find out more and sign up.