An Anti-Capitalist's Guide to Valentine's Day
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We've begrudgingly decided that we will celebrate Valentine's Day after all. BUT we're gonna do it on OUR terms. We're refusing to just spend, spend, spend like the capitalist machine expects us to. Instead, we're gonna use our money outside of the ever-grinding cogs of industry, or not at all! And no, we're not just being cheap - this is political, comrade. This is our ten-point manifesto for an anti-capitalist Valentine's Day.
No, honest, we're not just being cheap...
1. Embrace alternative historical narratives
This curious basement museum and bar hosts a loose collection of oddities from throughout history. From priceless marvels of the natural and scientific worlds like dodo bones to the interesting aesthetics of McDonald's Happy Meal toys, there's plenty to inspire romance here no matter how freaky you are (we're not here to shame). It's a mere £2.50 for entry on Thursdays and you can hit the cocktail bar upstairs afterwards for a debrief and a smooch.
2. Laughter is not a commodity
Write this down: laughter is a vital part of love. So finding a comedy club that can be depended on to supply some chuckles is essentially like finding someone to do some romantic leg work for you. This will leave you to focus on other matters like sounding interesting or constantly tensing your muscles.
The Angel Comedy Club - downstairs at the Camden Head and at its second venue, The Bill Murray - is our favourite spot to catch some free comedy. You get a good range of new comers, open mic-ers, and experienced comics testing new stuff. Just be ready for the request for a donation at the end.
3. The palaces will be stormed
Nothing says, 'I refuse to engage with the rampant consumerism of Valentine's Day but I do appreciate beauty and romance' like a stroll around these crumbling remains of Edwardian extravagance on Hampstead Heath. Hill Garden and Pergola is one of the most stunning places to get a taste of the wealth of old, relishing in grandeur that has been reclaimed by the public... or the council or whoever.
4. Performing arts for all
Vault Festival is all about putting theatre back into the hands of the people. It's a platform for the wilder side of performance to be seen and heard for prices that anyone, even you and bae, can afford. Our pick for Thursday would be the fantastically premised Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist, but there's plenty on across that weekend worth scoping.
5. Urban exploration is a basic right
Inner-city walks don't get enough love on the dating scene, and especially not on Valentine's Day. But walking mitten-in-mitten, lost in conversation is the perfect way to kindle a little amore. The winter chill will draw you close to each other and you can always find a bush to make out in if the mood takes you. End up at a cosy pub and you're laughing all the way to romance-ville.
6. Cultural institutions will be open after dark
The Barbican's Curve Gallery is open late on Thursday, perfect for a little after dinner art of the free variety. Daris Martin's current exhibition there is a poignant look through the dreams and memories of her family, which could be just the ticket to helping you and your date build dreams, memories and maybe even a family this Thursday.
7. Rebuild the bridges of interpersonal compassion
Cosmic Love is an evening dedicated to helping break down those barriers between you and your loved one through a series of physical activities like tantric breathing, blindfolded feeding, tango and conscious adoration in a safe space. It's not the cheapest evening around, but can you really put a price on the unification of two souls drifting through the cosmos? Yes, it’s 60 quid.
8. Reclaim film from the megalithic multiplexes
House of Vans are currently running a season of feel-good movies for free in their underground cinema and Amélie is on Thursday. It may not be the most romantic of settings, but grab a perch on the back wall and you should be able to get away with some medium-to-heavy petting.
We appreciate that engaging with this kind of experiential marketing is not very anti-capitalist, but if you vow to never buy anything from Vans for the rest of your life, then we come out on top. Right?
9. Open the waterways
There's something inherently romantic about taking a boat to an art gallery, even if it's more of a water bus than a private yacht. The Thames Clipper is a great way to see the architectural beauty of London whilst simultaneously doing the whole, 'I'm flying!' bit from Titanic. Just tap on with your Oyster card and hop off somewhere like the Tate to soak up the greatest aphrodisiac of all - culture.
10. Pay back the community
Really stick it to Cupid, AKA The Man, by having dinner and drinks at a community-driven establishment. Dalston Curve is one such spot - it hires disadvantaged people from the community and is open to all to come and sit in the woodland under the fairy lights. There's a bar and they sell wood-fired pizzas for £7 with profits going towards running the garden and helping local folks who need it.