A Scrooge's guide to escaping Christmas in London
If you’re yet to surrender to the festive spirit, get involved with this lot
Not A Carol Service
MGMT, Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, Dec 13
Public service announcement: MGMT are still good. So forget dragging yourself to a freezing cold street side, quaffing lukewarm mulled wine and singing O Come All Ye Faithful three octaves below everyone else, and go and see the Connecticut duo instead. Their latest album Little Dark Age is packed full of miserly takes on the modern condition that’d make Scrooge proud. “I’m constantly swiping it, tapping/ It’s not that relaxing” runs the opening track, to which the only appropriate response is to scream “preach, brother!” from the middle of the mosh pit (two 13 year olds who accidentally grazed into you). Take yourself to hipster food hub Eat17 first to prove that Hammersmith really is worthy of that little dot in your Google calendar.
Not A Christmas Market
Alexandra Palace Farmers Market, Dec 9, 16, 23
No shortage of Christmas markets in London fella, no Siree. Can’t move for ‘em. Can’t move through ‘em. And while the quality can range from tacky Santa’s grottos run by blokes who look like the gunslinger from that episode of Nathan For You to some admittedly quite decent fare like the Nordic market in Rotherhithe, many of them are just kitsch nonsense justified by the flimsiest relation to yuletide. Well, you needn’t worry about being bombarded by tacky stalls and fakery at this hyper-authentic number. “Lovely day here in Ally Pally”, you’ll say, swanning between stalls and effortlessly fitting in with the locals as you pick up a fresh smoothie and some delicious root vegetables that’ll absolutely bang in a batch cook.
Not A Boxing Day Walk
The Wandle Trail
Technically one of the more pleasant Christmassy activities, the digestive aid that is the Dec 26 hike. Or at least it would be if you didn’t have to wander at a snail’s pace while your Auntie skewers your career choices and your cousin insists that Earth is flat. Get a proper stomp under your belt – and clear your head and yer lungs the right way – with a big ol’ hike down the Wandle Trail from Croydon to Wandsworth. Just remember to wear walking boots and the Big Coat to end all Big Coats, because this is a hardcore 14-miler that will leave novices looking like something out of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Oh, and stop by The Merton Apprentice for a sharpener. You’ll deserve it.
Not A Christmas Dinner
Peruvian flavours at Ceviche Soho
If the closest thing to Noël you’ve experienced this year is watching Mr Edmonds chew his way through a bucket of fish eyes, then this is the roast turkey alternative for you. Once you walk through the doors of Ceviche in Soho you’re no longer in Soho, you’re transported to sunny Peru. Take a seat at the bar and work your way through the corn fritters and classic ceviche (seabass, sweet potato, choclo corn, lettuce), paired with a Mezcal Negroni or Pisco Sour (wayyyyyyy better than Eggnog) and let the magic send you right back to warmer months. The tangy flavours will bounce around your palette like popping candy and you’ll forget all about the eight hour Christmas shopping stint you’ve got to do on Amazon the next day.
Not A Christmas Shopping Trip
Self indulgence at Coal Drops Yard
Ah, being so disorganised you’re too late for Amazon deliveries to arrive in time, and ending up spending a hellish Christmas Eve in Westfield. Happens to the best of us, and will happen to the best of us again this year – why fight it? So bury your head in some particularly glorious sand with an obscenely selfish trip to Coal Drops Yard to cop yourself some Highly Wonderful goods. A new pair of specs from Cubitts? Why not. Iconic threads from Fred Perry? Feels right. Something woolly from American Vintage? Would be criminal not to. New-year-new-me Scandi clobber from Cos? In for a penny, in for many, many pounds. All that remains is to pop by Coal Office for some deliciously indulgent Middle Eastern cuisine and a soppy, blubbering call with your accountant. Best. Christmas. Everrrr.
(Main image: AllStar)