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Rich Guy Broke, Meltdown, Camden Beach: London Weekend

August 01, 2012


The new London double-decker bus by Thomas Heatherwick. Heatherwick has his first solo exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London through Sept. 30. Photographer: Iwan Baan/V&A via Bloomberg

Meltdown, one of London’s cooler festivals, raises the stakes with a stellar roster this year: Lou Reed and his other half Laurie Anderson are joined by Diamanda Galas, Marc Almond and Buffy Sainte-Marie.

The singers are all admired by this year’s festival curator Antony, of Antony and the Johnsons, whose predecessors included Patti Smith, David Bowie and Ray Davies, no less.

A welcome break from the goings-on at the Olympic Park, Friday’s concerts feature Anderson, Galas and Joan Wasser, whose albums, under the Joan as Policewoman name, have won acclaim. Information:

For Olympics junkies, BT London Live has set up giant screens in parks where the music is interspersed with sports. The Hyde Park lineup has Amy Macdonald and Cast on Friday. The Victoria Park shows are headlined by Soul II Soul on Saturday.



The Olympic cauldron was one feature of the July 27 opening ceremony that pretty much everybody liked.

Its inventive designer, Thomas Heatherwick, has his first solo exhibition at the Victoria & Albert museum. Though it’s small and packed with maquettes and vitrines, it references his other eye-catching creations: the porcupine-like U.K. pavilion for Shanghai Expo China, and the back end of the new London Routemaster double-decker bus.

At the V&A through Sept. 30. Information: or +44-20-7942-2508.

Saturday Night

The global financial crisis might as well have been scripted by William Shakespeare.

In “Timon of Athens” -- the play he co-wrote four centuries ago with Thomas Middleton, now in a National Theatre staging --a swaggering philanthropist famous for throwing lavish parties runs out of cash and, just as quickly, out of friends.

Director Nicholas Hytner makes the play all the more current by setting it in 21st-century London. The parliament building and the HSBC tower are backdrops. The bankers get tough. And when the impoverished Timon takes up class warfare, he turns into one of the Occupy London anti-capitalist activists who camped out in the capital earlier this year.

The clever production gets a further boost from actor Simon Russell Beale in the title role.

“Timon of Athens” is in repertory at the National Theatre through Nov. 1, and the final performance will be broadcast live in the U.K. and internationally. Information: or +44-20-7452-3000.

Wahaca’s South Bank Experiment is a temporary eatery built from eight recycled shipping containers outside Queen Elizabeth Hall. It has great river views, and each month has new Mexican dishes that might make it onto the menu in Wahaca restaurants. Information: or +44-20-7928-1876.


If you’re looking to relax on a beach somewhere, northwest London could be an option.

The circular Roundhouse in Camden Town has dumped 150 tons of sand on its wrap-around terrace to create a mini-Riviera. You can settle in a deck chair, play badminton or check out the margarita shack.

It all sounds great -- if the skies over London cooperate. Camden Beach lasts all of July and August. Information: or +44-844-482-8008.

Made in Camden, inside the Roundhouse, is a good eat-and- drink place. The chef used to work for Yotam Ottolenghi, the restaurateur known for his light, seasonal cooking. Plates to share include hake tempura and fig pannacotta. You can also opt for the weekend brunch. Information: or +44-20-7424-9992.

(Farah Nayeri writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer on this story: Farah Nayeri in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

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