George Michael Closes Games, Royal Bling: London Weekend

'London Road'
"London Road" by Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork at the National Theatre in London. The local residents turn up at the court to see Steve Wright, a taxi driver, charged with the killings of five young women. Photographer: Mark Douet/National Theatre via Bloomberg

London is entering the final lap of Olympic hysteria. For those left without tickets, BT London Live has screens in Hyde Park, Victoria Park and Trafalgar Square.

Spectators can grab a drink, have a picnic and watch the last medals get handed out. The free shows include live performances from Ocean Colour Scene, Feeder and the View.


There’s also a large screen at the House of Nations pop-up venues at King’s Cross Station and the Tower of London. Information:

Those avoiding sport can head for the South Bank, where the Meltdown Festival continues for a second weekend, with the grizzled veteran Lou Reed the star tonight. He’s accompanied by his touring band in a show called “From VU to Lulu,” meaning from the Velvet Underground to his Metallica CD.


Also on the South Bank, the acclaimed “London Road” is at the National Theatre. It’s about the creepy serial killer who murdered five prostitutes in Suffolk six years ago.

The production is based on real-life interviews with the locals, and their verbatim responses -- including the throat clearing and the hemming and hawing -- are set to minimalist music.

Moving moments, such as the prostitutes’ struggle to give up their drug habits, are interspersed with comical ones.

This original blend of musical, documentary and speech is brought to you by Alecky Blythe and Adam Cork. Information: or +44-20-7452-3000.


The most titled Bond girl in history is putting her diamonds on show.

Queen Elizabeth II is entertaining throngs of visitors at her palace while she’s away on summer holiday. The 2012 exhibition is “Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration” (through Oct. 7) which also marks her 60 years on the throne.

On show are seven of the nine stones made from the largest diamond ever found, the Cullinan Diamond, and Queen Victoria’s tiny crown, only 10 centimeters in diameter yet crammed with 1,187 diamonds.

As you tour the palace on your way to the royal bling, pay attention to the paintings. There’s a magnificent Rubens self-portrait, which he sent to London hoping to impress the future King Charles I. The Rembrandt on the wall is not bad either: It’s “The Shipbuilder and His Wife” (1633), where the man holds a compass while his wife hands him a note.

Information: or +44-20-7766-7300.

Saturday Night

John Lydon, who turned down a chance to play Sex Pistols songs at the London Olympics, has been concentrating on his post-punk outfit Public Image Ltd.

The man once known as Johnny Rotten and now recognized for a butter commercial will be reprising the album “Metal Box.”

Expect a lot of sneering, anti-monarchist and anti-just-about-everything rants, along with some ramshackle rock such as “Rise” and “This Is Not a Love Song.”

HMV Forum, 9-17 Highgate Road, NW5 1JY. Telephone: +844-847-2405.

The Bull & Last is a historic pub on the edges of Hampstead Heath serving seasonal British food. Dogs are welcome, as are humans attending the nearby Forum. Hampers are available, though maybe not entirely appropriate for a Public Image Ltd. concert.

Information: or NW5 1QS.


It’s hard to get away from Olympic Rings on every lamp post around London right now. A more original take on the five circles was produced by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

The pair made a striking silkscreen of the hoops with a black face superimposed by Basquiat. The work is part of an exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery, 17-19 Davies St., W1 (until Aug. 11). Information:

At the other Gagosian Gallery in London (on Britannia Street), Henry Moore enjoys a posthumous revival.

His colossal bronzes recall the Richard Serra sculptures that the gallery was built to accommodate. Moore’s towering “Large Two Forms” from 1966 is, like Serra’s work, large enough to walk through. And it’s proof that Moore’s late works were stronger.

At the Gagosian Gallery, 6-24 Britannia Street, until Aug. 18. Information:

Sunday Night

Franco Manca serves some of the finest pizza in London, and if you’re going to the Olympic Park, you might eat here first. There’s a branch (the third) in Westfield Stratford City mall offering the same quality ingredients and low prices as the mother ship in less glitzy Brixton, south London. Information: or +44-20-8522-6669.

George Michael heads the musical lineup at the Olympics closing ceremony. Queen, Annie Lennox, Madness, the Pet Shop Boys and Ed Sheeran are also due to perform, according to music-industry sources. Blur and New Order will belt it out in Hyde Park.

Pink Floyd and Noel Gallagher have issued statements denying their participation.

The flame will be extinguished as London hands over to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 games.


(Farah Nayeri and Mark Beech write for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are their own.)

Muse highlights include James Russell on architecture and Jason Harper on cars.

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