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November in London

1 November 2015 | Josh Barrie

Yes, it’s getting cold and dark and people are suddenly less inclined to go out to that show with you on a forgotten Thursday evening. Well, never fear, for they’ll come round eventually. After all, there are fireworks to gaze up at, and the Hindu calendar’s Diwali festival is sure to brighten up even the saddest, gloomiest November afternoon. As is this lot…

Definitely one of the tastiest and coolest things you can do this month is go and sit on a barge to eat oysters and drink fine Italian wines. The pop-up seafood restaurant London Shell Co. operates a sort of nomadic existence, travelling London’s canals in search of mooring space upon which to transform a little vessel into a glittering banqueting hall of shellfish and blankets.

London Shell Co. is a new concept from Leah Lobek, once a financier in the city – and, oddly, a garage MC – who acts as front of house; chef Oscar Humphreys, once of London hot spots Barrafina, Pollen Street Social, and River Café; and Harry Lobek, former sommelier at Pollen Street Social and Vinoteca. Obviously, he does the wine.

The trio works an enterprise based on their experience at classy establishments, but cools it down a notch to create a more relaxed and intimate vibe. It's private dining, with as many strangers as bookings. Past dishes have included salt cod, torched bonito, and pear frangipane. They change regularly and this month’s theme is Basque – the Spanish region much adored by a certain Ernest Hemmingway. November dates are November 12, 13, 19, and 20, and tickets are £60 (for five courses and booze).

Let’s skip back a gear now, and hop on something you can dive into from the beginning of November. And while you can’t do it by way of the capital’s canals (at least we don’t think you can), it’s a pleasurable pursuit nonetheless.

November 2 marks the start of the London Korean Film Festival. It’s every bit as cultured as you might hope. Korea is a glorious country for film production – if we must mention Old Boy, so be it. But then our mentioning that movie proves a vital point: there’s so much more to its industry than that classic.

We thought to mention this event as it’s to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The 2015 programme includes 52 films, features and shorts, many of which are UK premieres.

The festival will host retrospectives, new directors, and documentaries to help you better grasp a nation that put that kimchi in your dinner bowls probably more times than you can count this year.

“The 2015 festival offers UK audiences a fantastic opportunity to discover the very best in Korean cinema,” say organisers. “With works from established filmmakers including Bong Joon Ho, to up-and-coming directors and renowned Korean actors, this showcase guarantees to offer something for everyone.” More info about screenings and movie options here. The Regent Street Cinema hosts.

Something else we’ve got a ‘hole’ lot of love for this month is crazy golf, underground, at Waterloo. Yes, it’s The Vaults, and from November 11 you can stun your mates – or you Tinder date – by showing off your classic technique honed on the dainty putting greens of southern Spain. You remember that holiday, right?

Birdies Crazy Golf comes courtesy of the guys behind Underground Film Club who, needless to say, favour things below ground level. The golf course sounds decent, too – loops, an elevated drop, half-pipes, and sharper angles than you’d want after a drink make the platform a challenging one. But then there are prizes to be won, so say the organisers, so it’ll likely be worth the effort.

Alongside such sporting endeavour, naturally, are cocktails and street food. We feel we’ve got to mention it. Food comes from Rockadolla – links to Hawksmoor – and drinks will be amplified by resident DJs and party vibes. Subterranean and chic. Or something of that ilk. Who knows – but it’s bound to be better than that can’t win course you played at Butlins. It costs £9 to get in and begins on November 11.

Finally this month is something a little more powerful. The annual World Press Photo contest is a mind-boggling display of artistic skill, pinpoint reportage and visuals our world evokes.

Held at the Royal Festival hall, submissions come from a plethora of talent. Works from nearly 6,000 photographers stretching over 130 nationalities feature, each individual capturing a moment the human race can’t, shouldn’t, and indeed mustn’t forget.

This year’s shots include the European migration crisis, the Ebola outbreak in west Africa, great sporting events, and the bitterness of war.

Often moving, sometimes disturbing and always captivating, each image – there are 100,000 submitted – has been shortlisted to 140 winning pictures. They’ll be exhibited in 45 countries over the coming months and the London edition starts on November 5, running until 29.

“Our aims are to inspire, engage, educate, and support,” the World Press Photo Exhibition notes. More details here.

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