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Hg2... London Review 4 Favourite Venues Jan 2011

Hg2 is an abbreviation for A Hedonist's Guide to... - a luxury city guide series coveted by travellers who value both style and substance when it comes to soaking up a city. Hg2 has teamed up with Run Riot to deliver monthly recommendations for things to do and see in London Town. Check out their website: http://www.hg2.com And, specially for Run Riot readers, you can get access to a free online guide courtesy of Hg2, click here: http://www.hg2.com/partners/run-riot Click here to read our interview with Fleur Britten, Editor of Hg2 London on her top tips on the changing ways of Hedonists.


m in London - full of foody treats and lifestyle nods and winks.




The Design Museum

With a museum that champions the equal merits of style and substance, form and function, there are high expectations for its own architecture. Needless to say, the Design Museum is the apotheosis of good taste – an angular, whitewashed former warehouse in the style of the Bauhaus Dessau, built in 1989 under the direction and financial support of Sir Terence Conran (the man behind Habitat, the Conran Shop and, now, The Boundary Project). Now under the dynamic steward- ship of Blueprint founder and one-time Domus editor Dejan Sudjic, this temple to design pays tribute to the best of all areas – product design, graphics, fashion, architecture and engineering – and hosts the annual Designer of the Year award (previously won by Apple’s Jonathan Ive). For recharging one’s batteries, there’s the excellent Blue- print Café (a restaurant established by Conran, no less) with binoculars set out on the tables for spying on design in the distance – being riverside, there are panoramic views of architectural feats old and new, from Tower Bridge to the Gherkin.




Bethnal Green Working Mens Club

The BGWC is a members’ club with a difference – money, power and good looks won’t get you anywhere here. Since 1953, it’s been a social club for real East Enders and until 2002 was a closed shop. However, faced with financial ruin, the committee opened the doors to local events producer Warren Dent, who let in non-members not of the workingmen variety, whose beer money has kept the club a-go- go. The 1970s interior is unchanged (mock teak panelling, swirling red carpets, leatherette chairs and laminate tables), and an authentic scuzz lingers. Members have their own private floor downstairs while Dent’s delights take place upstairs – the BGWC has one of the most creative and fun party programmes in London. There’s all kinds of ’oke, cabaret (from amateur show- offs to out-there performance artists), dance classes and, of course (it’s a club after all), live music, DJs and dancing. It’s crawling with sharply dressed scenesters (‘So ironic!’ they squeal), though the charm (and cheap prices) of a workingmen’s club lives on. And now with infamous guerrilla artist Banksy’s Yellow Lines Flower Painter painted on its outside wall, the BGWC has been granted immortality.




Dennis Severs' House

We could advise visiting the National Gallery, the Wallace Collection or Somerset House, for reasons of extreme cultural importance, but dragging your museum legs around acres of passive art won’t improve your life. A far more engaging – if obscure – occasion may be found at the home/ museum/‘experience’ of the late American artist Dennis Sever, who lived here from 1979 to his death in 1999. The cultural significance is two-fold: firstly, the building, dating from 1725, is a Huguenot townhouse, originally inhabited by French silk weavers. Secondly – this is where the eccentric Severs comes in – its 11 beautiful rooms, from cellar to parlour to smoking room to bedrooms, are atmospherically set-designed (variously Hogarthian, rococo, baroque) to conjure an authentic picture of domes- tic life from 1725 to 1919, with ghosts still lingering around half-drunk coffee cups, open books and burning fires. But this is no twee pastiche; rather, you – in strict silence and, after dark, by candlelight – become part of the theatre. Enough – it doesn’t do to know too much. However, if you count the fact that artists such as Gilbert & George, Tracey Emin and Gillian Wearing also live in these historic Spitalfields houses, that brings its significance up to two- and-a-half-fold.




The Photographers' Gallery

Depending on when you read this, The Photographers’ Gallery will either be a very progressive ‘location-independent’ space (up till late 2011), or (from winter 2011, we are promised) resident in its vast, gleamingly whitewashed new home with three galleries, a space for talks and events, a café and its excellent shop selling collectors’ photography books and hard-to-find equipment (handmade pinhole cameras and, yay, Polaroid paraphernalia). Until then, director Brett Rogers, ex-British Council curator, will be having much fun hosting the public gallery’s typically wide-angle (groan) programme of contemporary British and international photography – including its acclaimed Photography Prize (previous winners include Richard Billingham, Juergen Teller and Paul Graham), photographers’ talks, screenings and seminars, as well as 2011’s 40th anniversary celebrations – all offsite. It could even be more exciting than what’s promised in bricks and mortar, with access to edgy, original spaces (check website). Perhaps that promise will be delayed.