Ever felt like you’d quite like to join a choir but never have for fear of ‘not being good enough’ or embarrassed of singing in public? Well perhaps this is the answer for you. Vocality Clapham is a fun and friendly singing group led by an experienced musical director. Their unusual repertoire of songs from around the world includes traditional folk, spiritual, pop, gospel and ethnic tunes, from as far afield as Eastern Europe and Africa as well as the home nations. Vocality founder Catherine Dyson commented: “Our approach is rather different from many choirs: there are no auditions, we don’t use sheet music and it doesn’t matter if your voice is a little rusty. It’s all about giving people a chance to experience how fantastic it feels to sing beautiful songs in harmony with others. And if you’re having a bad week, it’s just the ticket – people go away feeling uplifted and energised.” If you’d like to find out a little bit more about it click here which will take you to their webpage. Happy singing!
Friday 11th February is Cancer Research Race for Life’s official Clapham launch date, with members of the team out and about at commuter times kicking off the 6 month build up to what they hope to be an epic fundraising day on July 30th. Last year Clapham Common was transformed in to a sea of pink with women of all ages taking part in the 5 and 10k runs raising a fantastic combined total of over £350,000! This year it’s going to be BIGGER and BETTER with target totals amounting to £700,000, Race For Life are encouraging all women to don their trainers and walk, jog or run their way round the Common to help fight the disease that touches one in three of us at some stage in our lives. So if you’re thinking of doing an event close to home this year, on your own, with friends or family, have a look at this link and sign up to be part of something great with one million other women across the UK. I’m doing the 10K – so see you there!
Are you moving in the Clapham area? Well LoveClapham has put together, with the help of our Twitter followers, a list of where we think the Top 5 roads are to live in and what makes them so good!
An edgy little street right at the heart of Clapham that offers The Picture House, Venn Street Records bar and once a month the awesome farmers market. It’s a 3 minute walk from just about everything – the tube, the common, the old town, Sainsbury and Infernos (should you be that way inclined!). Ideal for those wanting to ‘get involved’ in Clapham’s bustling life – if a little too involved on a Friday and Saturday night! Slightly steering towards the expensive side but totally worth it for such a prime location.
Ah the heart of nappy valley! The bustling market stall lined street brimming with ladies that lunch, mummies that are yummy and young business men spilling out of lush little boutique shops and cafés. Not the cheapest street on our list with a 2 bed flat coming in at anywhere between £1350 and £2200 a month, but trendy, charming and very appealing to couples and young families. Situated at only a short walk from both Clapham and Wandsworth Commons – nicely placed in the Wandsworth Council tax zone – it offers a lot to do and see for residents with restaurants, bars, antiques shops, galleries on the door step. Transport links are great with Clapham Junction station 5 minutes away
The underdog of LoveClapham’s top 5 roads – but give or take a metre it’s the closest to the Common, ASDA and all the bars Lavender Hill, quiet parking and close to both the overland and the tube– what more could you want?! And out of the 5 it’s the best in terms of rent prices – woohoo!
This came up a number of times with our twitter followers as one of the most desired locations in Clapham. It’s an exclusive private road at a stone’s throw from the common, that has just over 70 residential properties some of which are touching the million pound plus price tag – wowzers! But it’s quiet, beautiful, slightly like the Desperate Housewives street and ideal for those wanting a little corner of luxury at the centre of Clapham
We couldn’t possibly miss out Clapham’s heart and soul, with tubes at both ends its vibrant atmosphere, ‘plethora’ of bars and restaurants and quirky shops. We found that rent prices fluctuated a great deal with some bargains and other extortionate fees for properties not a great deal bigger than a garden shed! It positively buzzes from early morning to late at night, which for a lot of you sounds like hell but for those wanting to be right in it with everything within rolling distance then this is the street.
Your street not here? – let us know if you think it should be and why!
The beginning of a new year tends to be time for resolutions, trying new things and meeting making new friends. If you’re single and thinking about socialising with a fresh group of Clapham people in a pressure free environment then a Grapevine event might just be for you.
An evening of wine tasting, tapas, dancing and getting to know other single Clapham residents at the Flame Bar on the High Street awaits you. These are monthly events that blend together the best bits of dating, socialising and exciting your palate through sampling a variety of wines and h’orderves. The night also includes a quiz about the wines with prizes issued for the winning team.
Guest are given dating cards at the start of the evening which are handed back before they leave with all the people they want to keep in touch with listed. The hosts then send all guests an email on Monday. Anyone that you ticked will get your email address, and you will get the email address of anyone that ticked you. The rest is up you!
For more information and to book yourself a place click here
So you’ve kept to the New Year’s resolution and you’re religiously attending your pre/post work gym session, body pump, jump, rock/roll, slide, bend and/or stretch classes and even though you’re perhaps not feeling completely elated everytime you darken the doors of your fitness haven, you’re sticking to your guns and doing it for the greater good! However… how are you feeling about the gym you’ve joined or classes you’re taking? Are there plenty of new, clean, state of the art machines to use? Is there a wide selection of classes catering for all abilities, do you have your own space a in a sparkling clear pool and most importantly…are you getting value for money?
I surveyed a group of people at random who are members of 3 particular gyms; Esporta, Fitness First and Virgin Active and this is what I found….
Esporta (Clapham’s closest site is Wandsworth Riverside, Smugglers Way)
These clubs offer their members a rather luxurious training experience, with high quality gym and studio facilities, 20m pools and indoor tennis courts on almost every site. Many of their clubs have an adults only policy which creates a relaxed atmosphere allowing for people to focus solely on training. Contract prices tended to be at the higher end of the scale with the average membership at £80pcm, however they can offer good student and off peak reductions. Changing rooms are said to be of a very good standard. Esporta have been offering 3 free personal training sessions when you sign up and free day passes to test out the facilities. Some people surveyed have found difficulty in getting out of contracts having to sometimes give between 1 and 4 months notice. Check before you sign up! Esporta came in with an overall rating of 7 out of 10.
Fitness First (Clapham’s closest site is Clapham Junction Station)
Perhaps rather unsurprisingly this club faired best in the ‘price of contract category’ with some people paying as little as £25 pcm. As the largest gym chain with over 170 facilities up and down the country, it offers a ‘what you see is what you get’ structure with every location providing its members with treadmills, cross trainers, exercise & spinning bikes plus weights areas and PT only zones. Some people said that in peak hours there was often a small queue for treadmills, but appeared not to be too much of a problem. Many gyms offered saunas, steam rooms and beauty treatments but sites with pools were less than other chains. Classes generally run 7 days a week and long term members of Fitness First have said the variety has gradually improved with ever popular classes such as Zumba and Pole Dancing joining the weekly agenda. Most people were happy with the shower and changing facilities and said that the swipe card system for the lockers was a great deal better than the coin or padlock system adopted by other gyms. Fitness First came in with an overall rating of 7 out of 10.
Virgin Active (Clapham’s closest site is 4-20 North Street, Clapham)
Richard Branson’s gyms are one of the fastest growing chains in the country with over 600,00 members worldwide. They offer pristine gym facilities in spacious locations, with an extensive range of classes that run 7 days a week such as Gymnastics , Hulaerobics , Kettlebells and Powerplate to name only a few. There are experts on site who can advise on training and fitness. Most VA clubs have laned pools and at certain times the have kids hour, perfect for members with young children. Contracts do tend to be on the pricey side coming in between £80 and £100 with little room for negotiation. Virgin Active came in with an overall rating of 8 out of 10.
Looking for a certain something to spice up your Monday nights? Then look no further. London’s finest Burlesque classes have arrived on your door step. Gwendoline Lamour, one of the UK’s most exclusive and celebrated performers of High End Burlesque will guide you through a 6 week course of learning to dance, shimmy and shake like the Neo-Burlesque queen Dita Von Tease.
The Peacock Bar in Clapham Junction plays host to Gwendoline’s classes which teach you to dance, pose, use props and strut your way through the classic strip tease! They are open to all ages and abilities and such fun to take part in with a group of friends.
By the 6th week you will have learnt a whole routine and feel like true burlesque performer, so why not let loose and explore your inner show girl this month! You can also book special nights for Hen Parties and Birthdays.
Click here to sign up and for more class details http://www.polepeople.co.uk/burlesque-classes.php
It occurred to me recently when accompanying my extremely enthusiastic partner on an evening run around Clapham, how many people are out running on their own through the dimly lit, tree lined paths of the Common. I’ve never really considered the area a dangerous or threatening place and I’ll quite happily walk home alone after an evening out. However having observed the jogging members of the Clapham community, I noticed how many people were blending in to the shadowy surroundings by wearing dark colours, taking short cuts through paths with no street lamps and somewhat unaware of what or who was approaching them as they appeared lost in the music pumping through their headphones.
With busy schedules and limited hours of day light a lot of us only find the time to run in the early morning or at night. So listen up … if you are intent on going it alone – make sure you’re visible by wearing bright or reflective clothing, stick to lit paths, try and ditch the music and most importantly let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to be back.
For more guidelines or information about running with a group, please visit http://www.pioneersrunning.com/ – Clapham’s biggest running club who take people of varied abilities on group routes in and around Clapham.
What do you think about running after dark on your own?
You thought the party season was over? Wrong! Clapham Aussies are about to show us how they live it up southern hemisphere style! January 26th is Australia Day and if you’re looking for a place to celebrate check out LoveClapham’s top 4 Aussie party venues!
Why not kick it off early on Sunday 23rd with The Church at the Clapham Grand where the Australia Day party is ALWAYS a sell out with beers, prizes and fancy dress! Or head over to Infernos on Clapham High Street where the party will already be jumping at 10am with free drink on arrival, Jumbuck’s pies and awesome DJs to see you through to midnight! On the 26th Bison & Bird at the top of the High Street will be offering live music, Aussie burgers and £2 bottles of VB beer. And finally Gigalum, close to Clapham South tube will be playing host to all those wanting to carry on the Aussie party in to the small hours of Monday morning – start preparing your excuses for work now!
The Queensland area of Australia has been devastated by floods over the past few weeks and some 25,000 homes are either partially or totally flooded. 30 suburbs have been hit and people will be under water for days to come. This crisis is far from over and if you want to read more about what action is being taken and donate, click here http://www.redcross.org.au
Calling all Clapham book lovers! Want to give away 48 copies of one of your favorite books to your friends and family for FREE? Then you have just over a week to sign up to World Book Night!
On the 5th March 20,000 people from across the UK will be chosen to donate the books however they choose. When you sign up you will be asked which title you want to give away and why – there are 25 exciting titles to pick from including One Day, Life of Pi, Northern Lights and The Blind Assassin to mention just a few.
The lucky givers will be notified by the start of February and a box of books will be delivered to them by March 5th. Visit the site for more information and to sign up. Let us know if you are selected and who you decide to give them to! www.worldbooknight.com
If you live in the Clapham South / Abbeville Road area you may have heard that Sainsbury’s would like to open a new local store on Abbeville Road itself amongst the local shops. It will go in the large retail space that used to be Dexters restaurant (where you could amazingly buy a full English breakfast with the works, tea, coffee and a fruit just for about £8 – no wonder it went under!) This development is proving to be fairly controversial, dividing residents right down the middle. Some want to keep the road local shops only, while others welcome the idea of an affordable local supermarket. No doubt the supermarket will get its way regardless – but what do you think? Interestingly, the even more controversial betting shop that opened on Abbeville Road has now closed, after only a couple of years of poor trade.
Bored Clappers. WE HAVE BEEN BORED. With a lack of things to do in the evening in Clapham, us Clappers have had to turn to either binge drinking, paying extortionate prices for meals or jogging around the common. All of which sound good in principle but leave you with an empty, soul destroying feeling afterwards in their own unique ways. So it’s with a massive sigh of relief and a cheer that Love Clapham can announce that The Funny Side… of Clapham Common comedy nights are now every blinkin’ Thursday at the Alexandra on Clapham Common south side (by the bus stops!) Check it out, it’s a bargainous £12.50 and you can still binge drink, eat and perhaps jog home. Wonderful.
Love Clapham has received an email from the disasters historian, John Withington, who has a book out called London Disasters. In the book is a piece on Clapham disasters which is an interesting, if tragic read. In the book John explains how at the Arding & Hobbs store in Clapham Junction (now Debenhams) in the run-up to Christmas in 1909, a fairy light bulb exploded in the window and set fire to tinsel and cotton wool decorations. Continue reading