The Alternative Top 10: Anti-Richard III in Leicester

I got a comedy coffee today. Winner.

Well, you all seemed to love my Top 10 of Richard III events in Leicester this week. Thanks for checking it out. However, I know you actually didn’t all love it and I am acutely aware that there are a lot of perfectly reasonable people out there who have no interest in the bones of a long dead king and actually would like to stay away from tourists, crowds, white roses and any spurious (and annoyingly misinformed) references to Shakespeare plays between now and the 29th March.

Well help is at hand! I am here for you! Although I am choosing to immerse myself in the Richard III commemoration, I am also stacking up a list of alternative events for when I want a moment away from the medieval extravaganza. If nothing else, I would love to add people watching as a perfectly legitimate Leicester pastime this week, as there are already a lot of extra people milling around and they are fun to watch when they get lost.*

But I digress. Leicester, as we all know, is a lot more than Richard III and there is a lot more happening here beyond the commemorations. Behold – the alternative top ten. What to do in Leicester this week if you don’t care about anything before Dior’s Vertical Line was in fashion.**

Since writing the list I have also realised that it is an excellent guide for those looking for something to do after Richard III stuff has finished for the day. Sorry about that. I can’t help multi tasking.

10. A Slice of Saturday night

The Little Theatre
16 Mar – 21 Mar 2015, 7.30pm 
£14 (£12.50 concessions)

“A pleasurable, lightly satirical revel in sixties manners and music… with bite, kick and hanky panky”—The Guardian

A musical spoof on the Saturday night rituals of teenagers. Being a teenager. Being a teenager, with a 60s soundtrack. Bob Dylan, The Beatles and other people who weren’t so good, like Cliff Richard and the Shadows. It’ll get your nostalgic juices flowing, even if like me, you don’t remember the 60s. I’ve come to believe if you remember the 60s, you weren’t there. Got to be worth checking out.

9. The launch of Mooch and the Secret Salon

Mooch and The Secret Salon, 69 Queens Road
Friday 28th March, 5.00pm-8.00pm

Queens Road, for those of you sneaking a peek from outside of Leicester, is essentially our out of town ‘hip’ street. If you like independent shops, tapas, a literally fantastic bookshop and so forth, then Queens Road is for you. It isn’t that far. The people are nice there too – just like everywhere in this crazy town.

And I’ve found a little gem for you all.  There is a new face on The Road, and it comes in the form of fabulous interior design and a new hair salon. Mooch provide an eclectic mix of old and new – fabrics, furnishings, accessories. And if you can’t be arsed to do it yourself, then you can take advantage of their interior design consultation service, for both private and retail clients. The Secret Salon is a hairdressers who offer hair services, Evo hair products and extensions. Of course, I am currently in love with Danique Hairdressers right now because they done make my hair so purdy, so they’re going to have to work hard to tempt me away, but I’m sure they are lovely, lovely people.

Anyway, I can’t wait to see what Mooch and the Secret Salon are like, so why not pop down with me for a drink and some nibbles and see what the score is? Anywhere that sells fabric I can’t get anywhere else is at the top of my ‘to visit’ list right now – especially with 10% off on the night.

8. CLUB MILK Presents: 
Menace Beach + Autobahn + Black Honey
The Cookie, High Street
Saturday 21st March, 8.30pm
£8.00 advance

The Cookie have been putting on fabulous comedy (winners of Best Small Venue yet again at this year’s Dave’s Comedy Festival) and gigs for a number of years now. Oh, and their breakfast menu is awesome. You should go.

You should definitely go to see Menace Beach. They were described by the Guardian as a ‘fuzzily enthusiastic alt-rock pastiche’ which is basically enough for me to want to go see them, whether or not the Guardian considered that a compliment is another matter. Great music at a venue where you can currently see one of my artworks festooning the entranceway.

7. Beats and Treats

James’ Cafe Bistro
Saturday 28th March, 5.00pm-11.00pm

The sort of thing Leicester is great for (The Black Horse on Braunstone Gate does something similar I think on a Thursday, which is wicked fun), but based in one of our lesser known restaurants, go down for a bit of a jam with their two pianos, guitar and a glockenspiel! Following that they spin some tunes on the decks. My guess is that this is more Fish than house. This is a great place to grab something to eat too and the event runs every Saturday.

7. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole

Curve Theatre
Saturday 7th March – Saturday 4th April
Tickets from £15.00

Based on the hilarious and compelling novel by Leicester’s own Sue Townsend, this show has opened to absolute rave reviews. I know when a show finishes every night because my Twitter feed goes mad with people saying how excellent it is. They laugh, they cry, they stand up and clap at the end because the performers are so wonderful. You’re truly missing a trick if you neglect to see this homegrown show.

Donna Disco

6. Donna Disco

Upstairs at the Western
Saturday 28th March, 7.30pm

Not sure about my choice of Adrian Mole, the musical? Perhaps you’d rather hear the trials and tribulations of a fourteen year old girl who is “bland, bespectacled and, if she’d ever heard of The Beautiful South, she’d adore them.” But really, Upstairs at the Western is another one of those non-Richard III reasons why Leicester is super awesome. Theatre, poetry, music, all served up in the first floor of a pub operated by a local brewery. And there are always, always pub dogs to stroke. GO and experience it for yourself.

5. Cafe Scientifique

Cafe Scientifique is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Laidback discussions for everyone, in a non-academic environment. Sounds awesome and I feel bad I have never attended one of these previously.
4. Slice Mondays and the Pub Quiz 
Rutland and Derby, Millstone Lane
Every Monday evening, check for times
This event ranks so highly because my friends and I went to this particular quiz for about 9 months and we used to win! We won chocolate and free drinks and all kinds of groovy things. Maybe you can win too. It is a good quiz though too, to be fair.

Plus, now they also do buy one, get one free on their handmade pizzas, which was certainly not the case when we used to go, otherwise we would have eaten pizza every Monday, like legends.
3. One Man Breaking Bad

Wednesday 25th March, 7.30pm

Sixty Episodes. One Show.  Yo!
I’ll be honest. I haven’t watched Breaking Bad, but I have heard so many of you banging on about it endlessly that I think you’ll like this. I really do. I imagine it’d be over my head. But the sheer mass peer pressure forces me to put this so high up.
2. The New Incunable Print Shop
Friday 16th January – Tuesday 31st March
This is a great little exhibition that I would encourage you to check out. As a participatory exhibition this naturally has to rank very highly in this particular top 10, but I will let them tell the story in their own words:
“We’re displaying a collection of 3D print blocks and prints in our café bar 
– all created by the public at our New Incunable Print Shop exhibition 
during its successful run at Lightbox Studios, LCB Depot in November 
– to give you a real flavour of the exhibition and the brilliantly original artworks produced.
This participatory exhibition, run in partnership with artist collective Juneau Projects
invited people to make print blocks, 
and use them to design their own artworks and posters to order.”
1.  The Burlesque Society “Girls on Film” Special
Friday 27th March, 8:00pm11:00pm
£5.00 on the door

See some of your favourite films enacted by The Vixens – including The Lion King and 50 Shades of Grey. Never let it be said that Leicester’s repertoire was limited. There’s even a prize for the best dressed on the night, so get yourself burlesqued up and have some fun!
 If you’re interested, Firebug have a huge number of other events happening this week too, including a quiz, a metal and rock night and an Indie-Pop all-dayer (which is tomorrow – on Saturday 21st March) – pretty much something for everyone.

* You can help them if you like. I for one have given (the correct) directions to five separate groups of people today whilst walking between High Street and Town Hall Square.
** Please pick which time the vertical line was in fashion that is relevant to you and delete the rest as appropriate.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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