Sunday, 12 August 2012

Randomness at the South Bank

I confess it freely, I do love the South Bank. The stretch of riverside from the London Aquarium up to the Tate Modern is so chock-full of options, from culture to caf├ęs and markets to mojitos, that you can just wander around until inspiration strikes. Another quirk of mine is that I love randomness - odd, unexpected, intriguing, inspired things - and as you already know, I'm a Girl About Town on a budget. So here, faithful readers, is my hit list of free randomness at and around the Southbank centre this summer.

Get lost in books - literally - at aMAZEme. Two Brazilian artists have created a maze of 250,000 books in the shape of writer Jorge Luis Borge's fingerprint on the floor of the Clore Ballroom in the Southbank Centre. You are invited to browse the top layer (as long as you replace the book) and wander in the labyrinth with fellow bibliophiles as literary quotes are projected onto a huge screen. Over two metres tall in some places, and with one section topped with books in Braille, all the books will go to charity when it is dismantled.

Take a ride in a singing lift. Right next to aMAZEme is a glass lift. Wait until it's empty then hop in and press Level 6. When you get there and you've stopped laughing, press Level 1 (it's more fun if the lift doesn't stop in the middle). Now you know what to expect, hang around on Level 2 until someone gets in genuinely wanting to go up a few floors, and watch their faces. Thank you, Turner Prize winner Martin Creed, this is genius.

Find yourself. Head out to the Riverside Terrace and you'll see a large map of the world on the floor. That wouldn't be enough to qualify as random for me, but it's made out of one million Lego bricks. That qualifies.

Muse under a baobab tree. As part of the Festival of the World a giant baobab tree has been created by Pirate Technics and Textile Design students from Chelsea College of Art and Design. Traditionally the baobab tree is a centre of community gatherings or quiet contemplation; this sculpture has been made from rings of fabric from across the world, with each ring representing a different community, so there's plenty to think about.

Down a tequila in a shipping container. Wahaca have brought their award-winning Mexican street food to the South Bank with this quirky pop-up restaurant built from eight shipping containers and offering some pretty awesome views over the river. Okay so it's not free, but I was thirsty. Oh, and the food is great too.

These are some of the reasons that I love this city.

Yours, randomly

Girl About Town xx

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