Tag Archives: The lido Cafe

The Weekend Ahead in Brixton

Friday 18: It’s time to transport yourselves back to the 1970s with a little bit of funk from The Soul Immigrants, playing at Upstairs in the Ritzy for their ‘Around the Decades‘ night. 8.30pm, free, The Ritzy

Saturday 19: Another new market for Station Rd  – the monthly Retro and Vintage market starts today from 10am-5pm. Once you’ve got your glad rags sorted, head to Plan B for the Reggae Roast Jamdown session. Reggae Roast, Plan b, from 9pm, £8 Advance and £10 on the door. 

Sunday 20: A perfect autumnal Sunday in Brixton = brunch at The Lido Cafe, a walk to the top of the hill in Brockwell Park for views of the City, and – after a big Sunday lunch – catching the highly recommended film, ‘Weekend’, at The Ritzy at 9.15pm.

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The Lido Cafe: Winner of the Time Out Best Park Cafe

Congratulations to the Lido Cafe for their Time Out win and five star review in the Eating and Drinking Awards 2011.

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Primal scream – a midwinter swim at Brockwell Lido

Ashleigh Young reports on unexpected screaming and Arctic temperatures at Brockwell Lido’s Midwinter Swim

We were promised sunshine at 12 noon, just in time to kick off the annual midwinter swim at Brockwell Lido. Instead we get a glowering sky and one of those ice-picky breezes gouging across the water, firmly reminding us that it’s winter and no good pretending otherwise. Even the cheery Caribbean drummers under the poolside gazebo don’t fool anyone that it is, in fact, ridiculously cold.

At least the dog was wrapped up warm

After a garbled safety briefing through a loudspeaker – the gist, I think, is “tell us if you get cold” – the swimmers shuffle off to line up at the pool’s edge. Some of us are wearing woolly hats over our swim caps. Some are fully encased in wetsuits. The hardier ones are in Speedos or bikinis. I recognise a few fitness fanatics from the gym. There are even a few kids quivering behind their parents. I elbow them all aside to get to the front: for some reason I’m quite excited about all this. There’s an atmosphere of jollity and determination amongst the crowd. A man standing next to me has a grin that’s become an otherworldly rictus.

We’ve been warned by officials to enter the water slowly (“do not jump or dive!”) but a friend who swims year-round has advised me that the absolute worst thing you can do is go slow and/or hesitate. If you hesitate, your brain will take over, quickly and efficiently laying waste to your best laid plans. So I decide to enter the water by way of a good old-fashioned bomb.

The loudspeaker blurts: “3…2…1…” and madness is unleashed.

As soon as I hit the water something weird happens: I start screaming. The scream comes from somewhere ancient and primal. It’s a scream passed from our prehuman ancestors down through the ages. All around, I hear the same kind of screaming – a great ululation not of terror or pain but of sensation so overwhelming that a scream is the only possible response. Maybe this is what Beatlemania was all about? Bodies are flailing and flubbering. After the sensory shock, my entire body becomes numb. It’s as if I’ve been doused in liquid nitrogen. Even though I’d planned to breaststroke calmly from one side of the pool to the other, I’m dimly aware that my hands are clawing at the surface of the water and that my feet have curled in on themselves like a retired ballet dancer’s. My body is in mutiny. I try three times to haul it out of the pool. When my limbs finally obey, my skin floods with warmth. The air – once Arctic – now feels like heated thermal underwear. I’m pink as a newborn and filled with a strange desire to sing.

Like me, most swimmers have hurled themselves over the nearest wall, but a few superhuman souls are still paddling around happily. They’re not even screaming. These are the ones, I’m sure, who will tell you that regular winter swimming keeps you hale and hearty – that icy water is great for the heart, immune system, and bottom; that it kickstarts circulation, flushes out impurities, and revitalises a flagging libido. (It must be said, though, that all this depends on how healthy you are to begin with. If you’ve got a dodgy heart, jumping into an icy pool could finish you off.)

You don’t have to be a health nut, or any kind of nut, to take part in a midwinter swim. But you should be prepared to temporarily abandon all commonsense. I would recommend it as an excellent legal high. If nothing else, it’s a very good way of reminding ourselves – cossetted as we are by centrally heated buildings, down jackets, and fluffy earwarmers – what it feels like to be really, really, really uncomfortable.

A triumphant Ashleigh Young - commonsense restored


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The Brixton Weekend Ahead

The winter is stretching before us with no apparent end, but it’s the first weekend of the 2011 (or rather, the first non-hangover weekend), so here are some tips to spend it wisely, healthy swim included.

Saturday: It’s the mid-winter swim at the Brockwell Lido. Vaseline, wetsuits, warm towels and a brave heart all essential. Or just go down and watch from the side. The Lido Cafe will be open and serving warming goodies afterwards. 12noon and free entry to all with charity collection. And in the evening, the Duke of Edinburgh on Ferndale Rd is hosting the Cassetique, a night of electronic DJs.

Sunday: Brunch at the newly opened ‘Duck Egg‘ on Coldharbour Lane, in the seemingly cursed premises that once hosted ‘Honest Foods‘ and then ‘Burning Bread’ in 2010. I haven’t been yet but eggs are the mainstay of the menu so it must be good. Right? Then across the road for The King’s Speech, which opened this weekend and is showing at The Ritzy at 12noon, 2.40pm, 5.15pm and 7.50pm.


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The Brixton week ahead

You’d expect this weekend to be a bit of a comedown after the revels of the Lambeth Country Show. But tonight Brixton is buzzing – Erykah Badu is playing at the Academy, there’s an after-concert ‘jam’ at Plan B and the Alabama 3 are at Brixton Jamm with Outlaw, Acoustic and Unplugged and Alan Mcgee (DJ Set).

And there’s lots more to come this week:

Sunday 25: Set to be 26 degrees –  park, park, park, park. In the evening, enjoy the ‘Sunday Blues‘ music at Upstairs @ The Ritzy at 8pm.

Wednesday 28:  The Lido Cafe is holding the Summer Party, #2. There’ll be live flamenco guitar music and a BBQ. Nothing can bring back the dreamy BBQ parties of the pre-Fusion days – this is the next best.

Thursday 29: It’s the first public meeting to discuss the Co-op Council, from 6-8.30pm – see here for details and then go shout about what you want to happen. And at 7.30pm, a new zine is being launched at The Grosvenor Pub by the I Digress residency – it’s an illustration and short fiction zine put together by a group of local artists and authors who meet regularly at The Grosvenor. [UPDATE 27/7] And later in the evening, Gold Panda is playing at Rest is Noise – for free!

Friday 30: Six-piece reggae band, ‘The Drop’, are launching their EP at Hootananny, accompanied by Mr Benn and Serial Killaz.

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The week ahead in Brixton

Tuesday 22 June:  ‘Please Give‘, the new ensemble comedy film from Nicola Holofcener starring Rebecca Hall, is showing at The Ritzy at 6.45 pm and Jazz Hands at Upstairs is on afterwards – a night of bluesy soul, funk and New York comedy .

Wednesday 23: Watch England embarrass themselves against Slovenia at 3pm at home/at work/in the pub. Then take in some high culture at the open-air performance of The Tempest on its first night in Brockwell Park, 7.30pm. Runs until Sunday. See here for tickets.

Thursday 24: The longest day of the year! Check the weather, swim at the Brockwell Lido [it’s cheaper after 6pm] and then join the Midsummer party, BBQ and live music at the The Lido Cafe. You can book on 020 7737 8183.

Friday 25: Deadly Rhythm soundsystem returns to Plan B with the official launch party for Kode 9’s DJ Kicks CD.

Saturday 26: Get over the fact that you’re not at Glasto. Wander through Brixton Market, picnic in the park and enjoy the sun* (*subject to Met Weather change)

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