Contrary Life is back again with An Alternative Guide to Valentine’s Day. We’ve dug out some great quirky events taking place in London this year. Whether you are in a couple, going out with a group of friends, or looking for an escape from kissing couples, we have some sneaky suggestions for you. And don’t worry, if you’re not in the capital take a look at our alternative guide for the UK.
Love, life and death at Nature Morte
When: 16th February 2018, 7pm – 10pm
Where: Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, London EC2V 5AR
£: Tickets cost £15
What is it?
This year, the Guildhall Art Gallery is offering an alternative Valentine’s Day experience, inviting you to celebrate something that we all have in common; life and death! Inspired by the gallery’s Nature Morte exhibition, this Late event promises a night of music, art, drawing, and cocktails.
Watch a Victorian entertainment show, take part in activities such as still life drawing, flower pressing or tote bag making, and hear a talk about ‘ethical’ taxidermy with Jazmine Miles-Long. Art Macabre’s Death Drawing workshop should provide that much-needed antidote to all things slushy, and performances by the Don’t Go Into The Cellar! Theatre Company will provide some light-hearted entertainment. And to help things along, DJ Museum of Vinyl will be providing a life and death-inspired soundtrack to the evening.
More info: www.eventbrite.co.uk and www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/visit-the-city/attractions/guildhall-galleries
Arabic Poetry of Love & Lust at the Queen of Hoxton
When: 14th February 2018, 7pm – 10pm
Where: Queen of Hoxton, 1-5 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3JX
£: Free, register in advance via queen-of-hoxton.eventcube.io
What is it?
Forget the candlelit dinner and head to the Queen of Hoxton’s cosy Moroccan Wigwam for a breath-taking collaboration of art and poetry this Valentine’s Day, to celebrate feminine wit and desire. This event will be showcasing poetry by classical female Arab writers and the bold responses to their verses by contemporary female artists.
There’ll be rooftop readings on the night, bringing to life poetry spanning 5,000 years, from the insatiable elegance of Hafsa bint al-Hajj Arrakuniya’s verses to the gleeful scorn of Wallada bint al-Mustakfi. These female voices, who refused to remain silent, are still inspiring artists working today. A selection of art from the touring exhibition Radical Love will also be on display throughout the evening. So how about it? A one-night-only excursion into a vibrant world that transcends love and liberation.
More info: queen-of-hoxton.eventcube.io
Juliet and Romeo: A Guide to Long Life and Happy Marriage
When: 14th – 24th February 2018, 7.30pm
Where: Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, London SW11 5TN
£: Tickets from £12.50
What is it?
Not content with watching a cheesy romantic comedy this year? Then Juliet and Romeo: A Guide to Long Life and Happy Marriage, broadly based on Shakespeare’s deeply pessimistic teenage love story, should be more your thing.
This aptly-titled production opens on Valentine’s Day, and offers a 21st century version of the world’s most tragic romance, exploring contemporary culture’s celebration of youth and how it creates unrealistic expectations around love, sex and relationships.
Juliet and Romeo have somehow survived into middle age; living together they wonder how they got here and what they managed to lose along the way.
The work explores the rougher edges of honesty in relationships, the sometimes humbling shared humanity and how on earth anyone progresses from there. Combining dance, comedy, contemporary text and theatre, this captivating show is a humorous and heartfelt investigation into love, loss and longevity.
More info: www.bac.org.uk
This is Not a Valentine’s Pub Quiz
When: 14th February 2018 at 7.30pm
Where: Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6AB
£: Tickets cost £25 each or £125 for a table of six
What is it?
This Valentine’s Day, Toynbee Studios will be urging you to ditch the red roses and consumerism for something different instead. They’ll be hosting an anti-Valentine’s pub quiz, with artist Richard DeDomenici as quizmaster, for an alternative night out with surprise interventions from guest artists along the way.
Guests can enjoy a free cocktail on arrival and celebrate the special day by flaunting self-love, bidding in a live auction or indulging in anti-Valentine’s treats from the Arts Bar & Café.
More info: www.artsadmin.co.uk/events