Things to do
GHOST STORIES: All this week, actor James Swanson performs a trio of Dickensian ghost stories in the house where author Charles Dickens himself once lived. Book ahead to hear A Christmas Carol, The Haunted Man, and The Chimes told in a rather atmospheric setting. Charles Dickens Museum (Bloomsbury), £22, book ahead, 9-15 December
WINTER CHOIRS: Starting today, visitors to Southbank Centre are treated to free, twice daily performances by Winter Choirs. A selection of community choirs have been chosen to serenade the crowds with carols, and sing-along versions of classic Christmas tunes. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 9-19 December
PORTRAIT OF A CITY: New exhibition London: Portrait Of A City opens today. It brings together some of the millions of images of the capital held in the London Metropolitan Archives, showing the varying formats and mediums that artists have used to represent the capital, from the 16th century to today, from watercolours to engravings. London Metropolitan Archives (Clerkenwell), free, book ahead, 9 December-8 July 2020
CARIBBEAN CHRISTMAS: Find out what Christmas in the Caribbean is like, at this evening of food, music and culture. Legendary reggae artist Dennis Al Capone and founder of Winstons One Love Fahrad Noir kick the evening off with a discussion about the golden era of reggae music. This is followed by a Caribbean-inspired, plant-based meal. Jones & Sons (Dalston), £30, book ahead, 6pm-11pm
CHRISTMAS CONCERT: The Idler holds its Christmas concert in Hammersmith, with The Idler Choir and Danny Wootton’s Ukulele Ensemble performing Christmas tunes, and special songs by guest musicians. A bar is open all evening with beer and wine available to buy. St Matthew’s Church (Hammersmith), free, book ahead, 7pm
SEX POSITIVE MARKET: Here’s a Christmas market with a difference. The Sex Positive Christmas Market and Social is a feminist and queer friendly space where you can buy alternative gifts, meet new people and start the holiday season with live music, mulled wine and a raffle. Colours (Hoxton Square), £6.84, book ahead, 7pm-10pm
POLARI CHRISTMAS: LGBTQ+ literary salon Polari hosts its Christmas special, with Lisa Jewell as a special guest. Author Jewell has published 16 books including psychological thrillers, and tonight chats to Polari founder Paul Burston. Will Brooker, Ben Fergusson and Carolyn Robertson also read from their latest work. Southbank Centre, £5, book ahead, 7.30pm
CHICAGO: Come on babe, why don’t we paint the town… at this screening of 2002 musical film Chicago. Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones will have you doing the Cell Block Tango in no time as they play two murderesses in jail together as they await trial. Dulwich Picture Gallery, £10/£8, book ahead, 7.30pm
A CHRISTMAS CAROL: Musical duo GreenMatthews and special guest Jude Rees take Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol back to its Victorian fireside roots, using an array of traditional and modern instruments and authentic musical arrangements to tell the festive tale. Water Rats (King’s Cross), book ahead, £12, book ahead, 8pm
WEIRDOS PANTO: The Weirdos Comedy Panto describes itself as ‘sort-of pantomime, sort-of sprawling comedy art experiment’ — which sounds a lot more appealing than another rendition of Cinderella. A bunch of performers from London’s alternative comedy scene attempt to save Christmas, and the local pub, and the show raises money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. Bloomsbury Theatre, £20/£15, book ahead, 8pm (repeated tomorrow)
Tube ponderings with Barry Heck
Our resident tube fancier dishes out daily thoughts on the London Underground.
My Roundel of the Week comes from the northern end of the Victoria line, at Walthamstow Central. It is one of four tube stations in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, which was designated Borough of Culture 2019. In just three weeks, Brent takes over the mantle. I wonder if any of its 21 tube stations (yes, it really does have 21 tube stations) will carry a special roundel? Follow Barry on Twitter @HeckTube.
Good cause of the day
Charity Missing People holds its carol service at St-Martin-in-the-Fields tonight. Share music, words and light candles to remember those who are missing this Christmas. All funds raised go towards the Home for Christmas Appeal. Find out more and book tickets.