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Things To Do In London In April

1 April 2014 | Josh Barrie

April is awash with sensory promise: our eyes will gaze upon Sundance London; our ears shall be pricked to The Pixies’ new album; and our taste buds will ignite with the flavour of coffee. Oh, and we may be all covered in feathers…

The most exciting event of April is not Easter, but the third Sundance London at the O2 Arena. Fine, we all love a chocolate egg, but since branching out to the capital from its Utah home in 2012 the festival has allowed a wider UK crowd to enjoy its mix of acclaimed independent film, live music, panel discussions and mingling. It does so over 25-27 of this month.

Movie offerings again follow the tested, revered setup of a cross-section of narrative features and probing shorts; from the well-known to the excitedly emerging.

This year’s cinematic offerings include Frank, a home-grown piece about an out-of-depth would-be musician by Sundance debutant Lenny Abrahamson; the international premiere of Tim Sutton’s Memphis, which tracks a singer of ‘God-given’ talent; a short called Phantom Limb about a near-miss on the road; and documentary Hybrid Vigour: when music, art, and documentary collide.

Director John Cooper said of the event: “We look with great excitement to hosting the third Sundance London in April as an opportunity to once again engage with passionate and adventurous UK audiences and to introduce them to the new work of independent filmmakers.”

He will of course feature in one of the many panel shows with countless more notable attendees, while music from the likes of Dele Sosimi, of Afrobeat fame, and the Festival Hub at the venue’s new Brooklyn Bowl will also prove to be programme essentials.

As if such sensual treats weren’t enough, the Pixies have, much to many peoples’ profound delight, confirmed details of their anticipated new album, Indy Cindy.

Fans will note it’s their first since 1991, when Trompe le Monde came out to trumpeted acclaim. The likelihood is that this too will inspire – and although co-founder Kim Deal left last year, the likes of Black Frances, David Lovering and Joey Santiago are sure to propel those dominant sounds with all the instrumental prowess we’ve encountered in past records.

The studio album’s set to come out under the band’s own Pixiesmusic label on April 28 in the UK and Europe. It was recorded in 2012 at Rockfield Studios, Wales and, as well as material from the preceding mega, biting EPs, will feature comeback single Bagboy. It’s all a positive sign the group has by no means ‘lost it’ – despite a period of transition and alteration.

It’s been coming for some time, as Lovering pointed out: “We started seriously talking about recording new music about four years ago.

“New music seemed like something we just had to do, we just couldn’t continue to go out and tour without anything new. So the talk evolved into writing and recording, and we’re all very happy with the way everything worked out.”

Songs from one of the precursor EPs were brought out for download on the band’s website at the end of March. And concerts follow this summer, including June sets in Victoria Park.

Slightly earlier this month – but by no means an excuse for missing out – is the London Coffee Festival; with 20,000 visitors expected to this year celebrate the capital’s rich, earthy scene. The event will again see dozens of – excuse the buzzword – artisan coffee stalls, nestled alongside food pop-ups, workshops and demonstrations. And while coffee is very much the satisfyingly awakening order of the day, cocktails, albeit based on the drink, music and art exhibitions are also planned.

Taking place over April 3-6 at the Old Truman Brewery on the outstandingly coffee-centric Brick Lane, 2014 also marks the inaugural Milk & Sugar, a curated showpiece described by organisers as “an immersive environment for our guests to explore and experience unique features, collaborations and creations”.

But if coffee isn’t really your thing – or if you’re just startlingly energised having drunk gallons of the stuff – International Pillow Fight Day may well prove a rewarding pursuit and comfortable way to exert some buoyancy. According to the event’s website, it appears once again that cushioned barbarism shall rein.

It takes place across cities all over the world – and London unsurprisingly plays a part. On Saturday April 5, at precisely 3pm, hordes of pillow-clad revellers are set to descend on Trafalgar Square to engage in bedroom-styled warfare.

It’s a notable way to spend an afternoon, really, and with feathers a-flutter, thereafter there’s ample opportunity to rest in a nearby park – St James’ is said to be a favoured spot among participants.

Indeed, we should probably say a quick Happy Easter. But while egg hunts, lunch with the family and dressing up as bunny rabbits are all admirable ways to spend the weekend in daylight hours, The Lock Tavern in Camden’s where you need to be as darkness falls.

The venue’s got four nights of live music, food stalls and exhibitions over the four-day break, and entry – which includes pizza – is free. Recovery by way of a large piece of chocolate may be safely prescribed.

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