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October: We Love You

1 October 2014 | Josh Barrie

There’s a lot more to October than Halloween and conkers. And we’re not just talking about the final of Great British Bake Off (though we’ll definitely be tuning in).

The ever-intriguing Elephant and Castle continues its rise – arguably back – to wonderment this month, as the hyper-local festival Elefest begins tomorrow (October 2).

After Paperworks launched to much enjoyment over the summer, bringing tasty pop-ups and cocktails to a small square of relaxation amid the busy south London neighbourhood, this next event will likely get ‘northerners’ finding themselves back down below the Thames.

The event looks to “celebrate one of the most maligned and misunderstood areas of London,” explains director and founder Rob Wray, with a host of “cultural and creative diversity” on show brought to the fore by the people who live there and talent beyond.

Now in its 12th year, organisers say Elephant and Castle is again on “the verge of a massive change” – and will showcase its latest evolution through a programme looking at the past, present, and future of the place.

Entertainment includes a pop-up cinema, live music, a night market, a skate festival, and all sorts of other community-led, more offbeat happenings. The “Piccadilly of the South” festival takes place over October 2-5.

No sooner does Elefest end than London Cocktail Week begins, as it trumpets the capital’s enduring love for fine tipples with a host of pop-up events, tastings, masterclasses, and other indulgences.

The programme sees the likes of parties in Shoreditch and Seven Dials, rum club food pairings in Notting Hill, and just about everything and everywhere in between.

Partnering up with brands such as El Dorado, Nikka, and Kettel One, it’s a monumentally more sophisticated and acquired week of booze. The last time we were this excited about something of a similar nature was freshers’ – though we feel it’s probably unfair to compare the two…no shots of cheap tequila here.

Anyway, all manner of London’s high-end bars and drink purveyors are involved, making sure to satisfy the discerning tastes of all who imbibe across town. Whether gin, vodka, rum, or whisky is the choice for the glass, it seems all alcohol is covered and all our cocktail culture encompasses discussed.

The biggest draw is perhaps the £4 wristbands though: “Wearing an LCW wristband is like being part of the best members club ever.

“A quick flash of the band opens doors to bars all across the capital who are ready to make you a delicious cocktail for just £4. Drinks are unlimited…”

LCW may well hurt your brain, but hopefully not – or maybe hopefully more? – than London’s next Battle of Ideas. Who knows, either way both are likely to cause quizzical faces on those taking part.

The Battle of Ideas is two days of “high-level, thought-provoking, public debate organised by the Institute of Ideas at the Barbican.” Knowledge procurement aplenty, then.

Basically, it offers 80 sessions of discussion and deliberation, seeing more than 350 speakers, alongside attendees – who can participate – mull over the issues of the day. Talks include delving into highbrow musings like the ‘science of public health’, ‘business bashing’, and ‘lessons from Asia’.

While probably intense, it’ll no doubt be a stimulating and evocative exploration into global and London-centric ideas, with some of the finest minds available to tap, and readings on some of the most relevant and inspiring works around. It all takes place between October 18-19 and tickets are available through the website.

And then in a blend of what’s sliding towards highbrow – let’s face it, art fairs usually are – with inclusivity abound, Battersea’s Affordable Art Fair will round off October between the 23 and 26th.

Dubbed the ‘friendliest art fair’, the aim is to help starters get going on a collection, or at least a purchase, and collectors without bank balances the size of Switzerland to carry on appreciating creativity at its finest.

“Welcoming art lovers, art connoisseurs, and art novices alike”, say organisers, the event allows everyone to have a look around and add to or make a start to a collection, with talks and workshops also planned.

There are works by thousands of artists, more than 112 galleries involved, and everything exhibited, paintings and sculpture and photography, for example, is priced between £100 and £5,000. Tickets pre-booked cost £10 (more on the door).

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