Posts Tagged ‘London’

Building Kingdoms, Chasing Dreams

Happy new year to all of you! 2016 has been a rather interesting year for all of us, but I believe 2017 would be a better year for all of us if we act upon our dreams and our goals, and be motivated and passionate about our ambitions. I too, have personal dreams and goals – both short term and long term – and by living each day driven by the will to become better, we experience circumstances that acts as stepping-stones that bring us closer to our aspirations. In my own opinion, our education is one of these stepping-stones. There are in fact numerous simple things that you can do now that will contribute achieving greatly in university or even after. Here are some things that I personally do:

 

  • 1. Manage my time, by having a calendar beside my study table and on it are upcoming events or deadlines.

 

  • 2. Keeping my room always organised, and not only when I feel like cleaning up!

 

  • 3. Set up a ‘goals and to-do’ list, as if making SMART goals, but less strict with the time limit, for example, ‘Go to Bermondsey and eat Padang food’ and ‘patch my jeans,’ as you can see in the picture below!

 

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Above all these, I believe that there is one thing that will motivate you, drive you, keep you fuelled up and burning with passion – your purpose. Finding your purpose liberates you from work that you may see as burdens now. Finding your purpose is not at all easy and can be time-consuming. It is a slow process, but it is an investment. I am also still in the process of discovering myself. I wouldn’t say that I have found my purpose, but it seems to me that I would love to become an inspiration to others, and this idea of becoming an inspiration has encouraged me more than ever before. Other than that, pushing yourself beyond your own limits and being a life-long learner are just as vital.

At Queen Mary, how are you doing? Are you pushing yourself in understanding the materials in the lectures, or do you have a more apathetic attitude towards learning? Remember, again, education plays a major role in achieving your dreams. Most importantly, keep in mind that “your mind has to arrive at the destination before your life does.” Let us all not just create new year’s resolutions, but act on it! #hustle2k17

Sunsets, Science and Sunflowers

Exploring London is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable elements of living in this city.  From scouting out hidden treasures; obscure coffee shops and underground bars; to being able to weave through the crowds of tourists and relax with a book on parliament square with Big Ben in view, the quote “When a man is tired of London; he is tired of life” has never felt more true.  Here are 3 of my best-loved outings at the moment:

 

Columbia Road Flower Market
Between the hours of 8:00 and 15:00 every Sunday, Columbia Road transforms into a vibrant floral paradise.  After popping to The Hackney Coffee Company for my early Sunday morning caffeine fix, a stroll through the bustling flower market is the ideal way to begin my day.  The incredible aroma of the plants intertwined with hint of coffee coming from one of the many independent shops along the street, as well as the hundreds of people socialising whilst boasting their large bunches of sunflowers and attempting to balance their over-sized orchids on under-sized coffee tables makes Columbia Road Flower Market my happiest place in the city.

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The Science Museum
London boasts an impressive range of Museums and Galleries, however the most significant one for me is, of course, the Science Museum.  I could spend hours meandering through the Space section, gawking at the rockets suspended from the ceiling.  Every so often the museum opens its doors after hours and hosts a range of unique workshops and interactive experiences, as well as a silent disco.  An evening spent talking to astronaut impersonators and dancing to Beyoncé below a suspended United States Scout was undoubtedly one of the most memorable evenings I’ve ever had.

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Primrose Hill
After 15 minutes attempting to navigate the streets encompassing Regents Park in what felt like arctic conditions following a rather temperamental phone which occasionally told me to “make a legal U-turn”, I finally noticed a rather large hill poking out from behind some houses.   Honestly, the difficult journey and slight dizziness just made the view from the top even more satisfying.  Roughly 65 metres tall, Primrose Hill offers panoramic views of the entire city and on a wintery evening at sunset, it is one of the most spectacular things I have ever laid eyes on.  At the top very top is a stone with a William Blake inscription, reading “I have conversed with the spiritual sun. I saw him on Primrose Hill.”

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I have an ever-growing list of favourite places; and an ever-growing list of places I want to visit.  I am so thrilled that I have another 2 and a half years in this city; although I highly doubt that this is an adequate amount of time experience everything London has to offer.

 

Breathing the London Air

Hal: Palace of Westminster Moving in to London, a bustling metropolitan city saturated with cultural differences and varied social backgrounds is to me an exciting challenge. During the first few weeks I moved in, I was busy with opening my student bank account, sorting out all the books that I need to purchase and decorating my room. Mingling with people here at first is difficult, especially when the kind of humour is different from where I come from – Indonesia! (If any of you wonder what and where on earth Indonesia is, it’s a tropical country home to Bali located in the Maritime of Southeast Asia.) The weather to me is a shock, perhaps more shocking than the cultural differences as the chilling wind stung my skin and made me shiver constantly. I underestimated the cold…I really did.

As a slightly socially awkward person, making friends and breaking the ice was tough. It took me time to find people I became comfortable with, and eventually spend time studying and playing around with.img_5232 Transitioning from school to university isn’t too rough if you keep this in mind – be open-minded! I’m glad to say, some first year modules supported the process of this transition, simultaneously refreshing your knowledge of the course that you are taking. Moreover, studies isn’t everything – you need your fun. I have joined the rowing club amongst the other hundreds of societies that the institution offer and I have been enjoying it to its fullest extent. Overall, eventually things get better over time and as the days and nights go by, Queen Mary and London feels more and more like home. Now I wonder what will London surprise me with next!

Awkward Hugs and Problematic Ovens

After pacing up and down the corridor a few more times, I looked down at my trembling hand to check my watch. I had been stood outside my flat mate’s door for roughly 4 and a half minutes. I lifted my arm once again, hoping that this time, I would have the courage to knock. Just before I could finally tap the door, it opened. I was now eye to eye with a stranger that I was going to have to live with for an entire year. Standing in his doorway, slightly perplexed as to why I was loitering directly outside his room, he introduced himself. Not thinking, I went straight for a hug. We’re now good friends.

The first week of university was a complete whirlwind of excitement intertwined with a little anxiety and a dash of homesickness. Moving from a small town in South Wales to the capital city was a shock to the system to say the least. Leaving a home with a supportive family and wonderful friends is always going to be difficult; especially when you realize after 3 days of living in halls that you have absolutely no idea how to work your own oven or iron your clothes. However, I’m so happy to be able to say that after 3 months I am well and truly settled and completely content with every aspect of my new life; and, after an hour on Facetime with my mother, I was able to resolve all my oven related issues.

After the craziness that was Freshers Week, I came face to face with an overwhelming realization. I know absolutely nothing. Or at least, very little.. As a Maths student I attend roughly 15 to 17 hours of lectures and tutorials a week, and in each of those hours, I would learn completely new concepts that I couldn’t have even imagined existed whilst sitting my A-levels. The jump is big, but I learnt to view it as an exciting challenge, rather than an impossible task. From learning the exam content to being introduced to some of Maths’ greatest problems; The Goldbach Conjecture, Fermat’s Last Theorem, The Riemann Hypothesis; I am more engrossed in Mathematics now than I have ever been.

Now that first semester is almost over, I am thrilled to be taking a well-earned break. As enjoyable and fascinating as it is, university can be difficult. Sometimes I think it’s important to remind myself that not long ago I was in a small school close to my house, which contained teachers who knew me well, friends who had known me my whole life and I was learning material that I was very comfortable with. I am very ready to unwind somewhere homely and familiar over the Christmas break but am happy to say I am thoroughly enjoying my first taste of the university experience.

Shakespeare’s Globe

This summer I have been fortunate enough to attend three different theatre productions at Shakespeare’s Globe. All three plays were absolutely phenomenal. The tense and eerie atmosphere in Macbeth, the genuinely hilarious scenes in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the unsettling feelings that The Taming of the Shrew created, stayed with me long after the curtain call.

Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT

Shakespeare’s Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT

I have to confess – this is probably a cardinal sin for an English Literature student – but I was not always a big fan of Shakespeare. Studying Shakespeare in the lower years at secondary school was a frustrating ordeal. We spent absolutely ages analysing just one metaphor! I could not engage with the old-fashioned language, and I remember finding it incredibly difficult to concentrate in class. It was especially bad when I had double English on a Friday afternoon. The words just felt dead on the page.

My attitude began to change somewhat near the end of GCSEs, and it changed completely after I began studying English at Queen Mary. This is because I started watching theatrical productions of Shakespeare’s plays. Reading a play is not enough to understand it. Plays are meant to be performed – it is why they are written. This seems very obvious but it is an important fact that is worth mentioning. When you watch a performance, the physical action of the actors, their tone and mannerisms bring the words to life. Hearing Shakespeare’s words out loud make them feel less alien than they appear on paper. The development of the storyline becomes more clear and easier to follow. For example, Macbeth is about a loyal soldier who becomes seduced by the lust for power. He kills his own King, and all those who get in his way, to take the throne.  The three witches utter one of the most iconic lines in the play, ‘Fair is foul, and foul is fair’. This is meant to foreshadow a sense of confusion, where nothing is as it seems. The witches represent evil and immorality, and they tempt Macbeth to create his own downfall. When you just read the witches’ lines on a page, you cannot visualise their wickedness or feel the sense of danger that they pose to Macbeth. Nevertheless, in the Globe’s current production, initially the actors playing the witches are all heaped together, like a mass of limbs. Then, they disentangle themselves into one menacing, conjoined being. Moreover, the use of prosthetic limbs, coupled with the eerie organ music gives them a sinister presence as they lurk about the stage. For the audience, the threatening evilness of the witches become a tangible reality.

Our £5 yard tickets to see A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Our £5 yard tickets to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Shakespeare’s Globe is my favourite theatre in London. Every time I go there, it feels like taking a walk through the pages of history. It is a faithful reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre which was built in 1599. There is a yard which is encircled by three floors of tiered seating. From a bird’s-eye-view, Shakespeare’s Globe looks like a massive ring doughnut because only the stage and the seating is covered by a thatched roof.

I always get yard tickets because they are the cheapest, costing only £5. The one drawback to getting yard tickets is that you have to stand for the whole performance. For me, however, this is not a problem, because I think the yard is the best place to watch the productions. You are the closest to the stage and the actors constantly interact with the audience. The plays are so entertaining and engrossing that time flies without you noticing. One of the things that I really like about Globe productions is how the plays bring Shakespeare to the twenty-first century by making it relevant to modern audience. For example, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the actors were dressed as Hipsters instead of Athenians. They made jokes about health and safety, sang David Bowie songs, and when Hermia told Helenus about her engagement to Lysander, the two best friends broke into a Bollywood infused rendition of Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies’.

The stage in A Midsummer Night's Dream

The stage in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

One reason why I decided to study at Queen Mary is because of its location. Not only does it have one of the best English and Drama Departments in the country, it is also in London. For me, London is the heart of culture, music, art and creativity. Going to a London university allows me to have access to fabulous places like the Globe. Also, there are numerous museums and galleries which are almost always free, and going to these places allows me to enhance my understanding of the contents covered in my course. The West End always has concessions for students and young people and I would encourage everyone to take advantage of that. For instance, the Donmar Warehouse is currently running a ‘Young and Free’ scheme which gives people aged under 25 free tickets to watch their Shakespeare Trilogy. I will include the link for more information below and I really hope I have persuaded you into going to the theatre very soon to check out some Shakespeare!

Donmar Warehouse: http://www.donmarwarehouse.com/mailing-list#xkGeHFHZ0WYEgvX7.97

Shakespeare’s Globe: http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/

London Marathon 2016- Time to Marshal!

Hi all, I hope revision is going well for you. I thought I’d share my experience of volunteering with QMSU Volunteering at the amazing London Marathon last week- one of my favourite annual events to volunteer or spectate at.

The London Marathon is 26.2 miles and runners pass sights including the National Maritime Museum and One Canada Square, finishing at Buckingham Palace. This year’s was the 36th London Marathon and the millionth participant ran the route too!

Sunday 24th April 2016- the runners’ big day!

It is barely 4°C at 9am when we set off along Mile 19 to choose our places to be stationed at!

It is barely 4°C at 9am when we set off along Mile 19 to choose our places to be stationed at!

 

At around 7:45am, we had a rundown of the event (pardon the pun) as we’d been briefed on our role as marshals at uni on Friday. At 9am, we walked around to Mile 19 and I chose to be at a crossing point with three other volunteers. With a pair of us on opposite sides of the road, in charge of the crossing, we started cheering on the elite women, followed by the Paralympic athletes and then the elite men. We were directing spectators when they needed assistance. Soon, the masses started approaching us and hundreds of spectators on our road alone, us marshals included, began encouraging thousands of runners!

 

One of the elite runners approaches our section

One of the elite runners approaches our section on The North Colonnade

 

The whole day was brilliant. Though my hands were hurting from continuous clapping, icy wind and occasional freezing sheets of rain, I continued applauding the runners- the reactions of some runners when they saw everyone, even if it was just you clapping and calling their name at times, was my fuel!! My voice was going too and the responses of some concerned spectators saying “oh no, you’re going to lose your voice” was heart-warming. Some spectators were even cheering me on for cheering, aha!!!

 

A marshal portrays just how cold it can be during the London Marathon!

Tried to portray just how cold it was! This expression unfortunately doesn’t look like one of a cold me but a cautious me, aha- it was very cold indeed!!! I used my backpack straps to hold onto my useful event guide and free my hands, ready to applaud.

 

The great majority of runners were strangers (I did cheer on a colleague, a YouTuber and a former teacher, though) but I still genuinely believe they are ALL CHAMPIONS for running the marathon! Mile 19 can be one of the most gruelling miles. One of my favourite received reactions was people actually speeding up or starting to run when we cheered for them. And my reaction to that? Well, I was thrilled each time and jumped up and down cheering even more excitedly for them as they sprinted past me yelling a “thank you” or smiling from ear to ear at me while I mirrored the smile or laughed!

 

A wonderful event to marshal- substantiated by my sore and freezing hands at the end of the day and my now-croaky voice in need of a rest!

A wonderful event to marshal- substantiated by my sore and freezing hands at the end of the day and my now-croaky voice in need of a rest!

 

Well done, one and all, what an accomplishment, what a feat (that one was intentional)!

Be proud of yourselves for completing the London Marathon! A huge congratulations to Eliud Kipchoge who smashed his 2015 course record and Wilson Kipsang’s 2014 course record, setting a new course record for the elite men and to Jemima Sumgong who overcame some horrible falls and even an inconsiderate intruder on the course to win the women’s elite race!

 

Fact: The first event I can ever remember volunteering at was the 2011 London Marathon. Yes, eesh, half a decade ago!! Thus, volunteering at this year’s marathon marked half a decade of volunteering for me (not at every Marathon event but volunteering in general- 5 years ago is when it all started in volunteering for me)!

Fact: The first event I can remember volunteering at was the 2011 London Marathon. Volunteering at this year’s marathon marked half a decade of volunteering for me (generally, not at every Marathon).

Best cafés and places to work from in London

Best cafés and places to work from in London

I often find myself lacking focus when working from home. I constantly get distracted by food (lots of snacks!), things on my desk and messages on my phone. The worst part of it is, I get bored of my room, which (I think) instigates this lack of focus, and consequently demotivates me. Working in an environment in which you sleep in, just does not help. Instead, I force myself to go out for some fresh air and find a cosy little café, so I can get settled into the ‘working groove’. There are so many cool, calm and quirky work cafés/places in London and I am going to share my favourites with you…

 

East London

As a university student from East London, I am forever on the look out for the trendiest coffee shops to suit a chilled, afternoon work session. You’d be amazed at how many there are in East London.

The Attendant:

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This little food bar space was formerly a Victorian toilet (can you believe it!) The Attendant is one my absolute favourite places to work and to go for brunch with friends. It has been transformed into a unique and comfortable space, and is the perfect setting to get started on that dreaded essay you’ve been assigned. The cosy seating area, which features gigantic armchairs and wooden tables, along with the green Victorian floor tiles, really makes it extra special. It is the ideal place to retreat to on a Wednesday afternoon. You must try the banana bread and the mocha! (Thank me later!)

(Awarded Runner Up Best Coffee Shop in London 2013 and 2015)

 

Ace Hotel:

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If you don’t mind a communal workspace, then the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch is just right for you. It is situated in the lobby of one of London’s chicest hotels. Not only that, but this workspace is available to you for 24 hours with free Wi-Fi! So instead of pulling an all-nighter in your university library, upgrade yourself and head down to this swanky hotel. The different zones are separated with furniture, glass and steel screens, which are used as partitions. If you have a group presentation or a work meeting that needs to be organised, this is the best workspace location for you. It features a long 16-seat table and even has a bar so you and your workmates can treat yourselves to a pint or two after a hard-core work sesh! There are also sofas at the back of the room, where you can put your feet up and relax. This workspace has the best of both worlds; a chilled, yet brilliant working environment.

 

The Book Club:

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Now I know this may seem like an odd suggestion, since The Book Club is a great place to go to for a fun night out, but in fact, it is also a funky café. If you yearn for a more enthusiastic and energetic working environment, then this is your place. It is spacious, bright and airy; the ideal location to get creative thoughts flowing. You and your friends canlinger in a soft modern, minimalist space packed with eccentric antique. If work gets too much, you can play a game of ping pong with a group of friends and grab some lunch or even a yummy milkshake. (I recommend the Mixed Mushroom Gnocchi’ – it’s to die for. The best kind of fuel for productivity is ‘food fuel’ right? – well, I think so anyway!)

 

Central London

 

Mozzino

mozzino

Located in my favourite place in London, (Carnaby Street), this cute little coffee shop is one of my greatest finds. I always come here after a long day of shopping or to escape from my uni/home area. There’s something about this place that is really special. It’s cosy, vintage feel and acoustic music, is just absolute bliss. They play all sorts of acoustic music along the likes of Jack Johnson, Lianne La Havas and from time to time, they whip out some old school, smooth classics. I love coming here with friends for a catch up, or on my own to have a light-hearted study session. Their home-baked cakes are delicious and their coffees are made with a smooth caramel dark roast, accompanied with a medium body and sweet finish. What more could you want?

cake1 coffee sanwich

 

Joe and the Juice

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Not only does Joe and the Juice sell the most insane shakes and scrumptious flatbreads, but the working vibe is perfect for young adults, seeking to complete that deadline by the end of the day. If you’re looking for a more contemporary feel, then this is ideal for you. The store is filled with simple, brown leather interior and captures an element of Nordic design. Whilst working, you can tuck into an Avocado Flatbread (a favourite among all of my friends) and the ‘Hell of a Nerve’ shake; a beautiful blend of strawberries, bananas and elderflower.

 

Flatplanet

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If you’re looking to be inspired, feel energised, share good ideas and hatch plans, then Flatplanet is here to help! Their purpose is to provide vitality and inspiration, which are essential qualities that are needed if you want to be productive and successful with your work. They serve nutritious, yet delicious food all day to assist you in getting through your work load. Downstairs, there is a lounge/dining area which even features a guy on a piano! So, maybe after you’ve completed your work, you could head downstairs and get into good spirits! Flatplanet really captures that earthy, airy and motivating feel, which as a student, I would take full advantage of! Why not try one of their healthy topped flatbreads, whilst you’re at it?

 

South London

 

The Lido Café

lido

This is a picturesque and charming little café to work. It has a charismatic Parisian feel, which creates the perfect working vibe. The good thing about this place is that is overlooks Brockwell park which is ideal, if you fancy escaping out into the fresh air to get away from revision/work. If you happen to be here during the summer, you can take a dip into the Lido pool after a long, hard day of studying. The Lido has free Wi-Fi and is not too busy, so you should be able to get down to work without any distractions. Spoil yourself with a mimosa or two to keep you going throughout the day!

 

Birdhouse

birdhouse cofee 2

Equipped with retro furnishings and jovial images, this coffee bar emits a vibrant ambience thanks to its joyful colour scheme. It has everything you need to unwind and relax. Whilst working, you can indulge into their yummy banana bread, tuck into their hearty sandwiches or enjoy a smooth espresso. You can do all of these things, whilst working in a laid-back, easy going environment. So next time you’re in South London one afternoon, take a trip to the Birdhouse, open that laptop and work away!

 

Zack’s Deli

zacks

Situated in the stylish streets of South Kensington, Zack’s Deli provides a delightful ambience for those looking for organic homemade food and a fine, little place to retreat to for an afternoon work session. In the deli, there is a communal table where you and your friends can work from and enjoy the benefit of the free WIFI.  They also serve delicious food ranging from pancakes to stews, so don’t worry about bringing a packed lunch! If you’re working hard, you need to make sure you reward yourself with an exquisite juice, along with a cake or two – right?

 

 

 

 

 

Choosing to go to university

Last week I watched a video starring some of my student ambassador friends, talking about their decision to go to university, and I realised I had never shared mine. There are lots of different choices that go into making that big decision, because generally, you’ll be spending three years or more studying just one subject, so you really need to make the right decision. Other factors include whether or not you want to stay at home, move away, live in a city, live on campus…there’s so much to think about. Just by watching the video, you’ll see what sort of different decisions everyone has to make – each story is different.

No one in my family had ever gone to university, so I was what you call ‘first generation’. However it meant that I didn’t have anyone close to ask what university was like for them. No one could tell me what the university experience really was, and so I had to find out for myself. I had always been interested in English – I loved reading from a young age and it was easily my favourite subject at school. I decided from quite early on that I wanted to go to university, it was just the getting there that seemed to be the hard part.

I did detailed research on UCAS, by searching ‘English’ and looking through each of the universities that offered it. I then made an Excel spreadsheet, (embarrassing but practical!) categorising them first into whether the grades were achievable and then whether I wanted to go there. My mum then took me to look around all the campuses – on ‘Open Days’. It was at this point that I had decided I wanted to be in London, having grown up in fairly rural areas – Cornwall and the Isle of Wight, the city seemed interesting, exciting and had buses that ran more than once an hour!

I decided on my universities of choice and took these to my form tutor to check through, but I hit an issue. She wanted me to apply for places with much lower grade boundaries. Although I tended to do reasonably well in exams, she thought I was putting too much pressure on myself. I had to discuss her and my parents what she thought, but felt sure I could handle the pressure. I knew that I wanted to go to university, but not for the sake of it. I was going to go to one I actually wanted to or not at all. Although it was quite a stressful time, I’m glad I had faith in myself.

After waiting for what seemed like forever, I got offered conditional places at all of my choices. I attended my interview at Queen Mary and though it was scary, I loved the campus and the location. It was exactly what I had been looking for – somewhere exciting and interesting, plus the course involved a lot of choice, and wasn’t as traditionally strict as other universities. Queen Mary had the highest entry requirements of my choices so yet again my form tutor had her concerns. She didn’t seem to understand that I didn’t just want to go to any uni, I wanted to go to one I had really set my heart on. So I had to meet with her and let her know that it was Queen Mary or nothing. If I didn’t get in, I’d come back and re-take. And I was genuinely prepared to do this. I wouldn’t let my mum buy me anything for university until I knew for sure because I was also nervous I wouldn’t get the grades required.

All my stuff packed for university. I only finished packing ten minutes before we left!

All my stuff packed for university. I only finished packing ten minutes before we left!

After this, my form tutor was very supportive, as was my mum and all of the other teachers at my school. They really helped me in trying to get the best grades I could. When it came round to results day I got up as early as possible to check whether I had got into university, and after UCAS crashed about a million times, I found out that I had. I was incredibly relieved, as was my whole family because they knew how much I wanted it. I rushed into school as quickly as possible to find my teachers and thank them. I found out that they had been just as anxious as me and had already looked at my results!

After that it was a rather panicked time of buying pots and pans and bedding, and the first year flew by. At Christmas I went back to my high school for our sixth form award ceremony, and was awarded the prize for English and also for perseverance. I’m so glad I stuck to the choice I genuinely wanted and didn’t back down. At the end of the day, the choice can only be yours, and as long as you do the research, you’ll know you’re making the right choice.

My first day in student accommodation, all unpacked.

My first day in student accommodation, all unpacked.

Moviegoing in London

As an avid cinema-goer and having now studied in London for over three years, I know a thing or two about the best places to go to the pictures in the capital. London is one of the best cities to be a film student, partly because there are so many cinemas. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favourites, keeping the student budget in mind:

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Barbican Cinemas, Beech Street, EC2
In addition to its theatres, exhibitions spaces and countless cafés, the Barbican Centre also has three cinemas, mostly showing new releases. If you’re 14 – 25, then you can get £5 cinema tickets from Monday to Thursday with a Young Barbican account, which you can sign up for online for free.

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British Film Institute, Southbank, SE1
The BFI is the cinephile’s Mecca, showing 2,000 films a year across four screens and if you’re under 25, then it’s probably the most affordable cinema in London – bring ID and get a £3 ticket, available 45 minutes before the film starts. I can’t overstate how great this place is, on any given day there’ll be something worth seeing: classic Hollywood movies, the obscurest of obscure World cinema, experimental film, old TV series even. Upcoming seasons include retrospectives of Jean-Luc Godard and Quentin Tarantino. They also have two restaurants, a shop, library and Mediatheque where you can access an archive of film and TV for free.

Ciné Lumiere, Institut Français du Royaume-Uni, 17 Queensberry Place, SW7
The Ciné Lumiere, located in the Institut Français near the Natural History Museum, specialises in French, European and World cinema, hosting Q&As with filmmakers and actors and showing a classic French film every Sunday. It’s like a corner of West London that is forever France; the box office staff greet you with a ‘bonjour’ and the signage is all in French, c’est charmant. The building itself is very nice and the seating is spacious with ample legroom. Student tickets are £6 for matinee screenings.

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Close-Up Film Centre, Brick Lane, E1
Having recently moved into a new premises just off Brick Lane, Close-Up houses a café, a DVD library with 19,000 titles and a small cinema which seats 40 and shows films in ‘glorious 35mm’ (as the chalkboard outside declares). Tickets are £10, which sounds pricey but it’s worth it for the experience; every time I’ve been there’s been an exciting atmosphere and a sense of occasion. As well as films by the likes of Cassavetes, Tarkovsky and Fassbinder, Close-Up specialises in little-known works which are yet to be digitised.

Genesis, Mile End Road, E1
Genesis is the go-to cinema for every QM student – just five minutes down the road and tickets are only £4.50 on Mondays and Wednesdays. It has five screens, one of which is the luxury Studio5, as well as a bar and pie shop, and the films are a mix of blockbusters and more niche fare, including NTLive broadcasts. It’s something of a carrot-cake cinema, recently refurbished with distressed wallpaper and exposed lightbulbs and serving that most hipster of pastries, the cronut. Genesis also hosts monthly Cinema Italia screenings where you can see brand new Italian films which are yet to get a UK release (as well as some classics) and generally there’s a Q&A afterwards.

The Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, SW1
Secluded from the hustle and bustle of Trafalgar Square, the ICA is easily missed from the outside, but it’s worth looking out for. On its two screens you can see arthouse new releases, art films as well as retrospectives (previous retrospectives include Chantal Akerman, Luis Buñuel and Paul Thomas Anderson). There’s a bookshop where you can stock up on Derrida, Sartre and all your critical theory needs. Student tickets are £8, and a cinema ticket will also grant you ‘day membership’ to the art gallery.

Odeon Panton Street, SW1
While this list is mostly independent, arthouse cinemas, I’ve included this crusty little Odeon because it primarily shows films which were released a few months back. Located on a backstreet just off Leicester Sq., if you missed something when it was released but you still want to see it on the big screen, then it’s worth checking the Panton St listings. It could do with a lick of paint, but it has a certain ramshackle charm; one gets the sense that the place is aware that it can never compare with its fancy Leicester Sq. cousins, so it’s given up making an effort. Student tickets are £6.00

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