The Culture List

Interesting things to see and do, from 5-18 February

The days are beginning to get noticeably longer, and if you’re like us, you’ll be looking around for some interesting things to fill them.

We’ve assembled a selection of great things to do or to order to your doorstep, from an evening with literary legend Margaret Atwood to a delicious virtual chocolate-tasting course.

Margaret Atwood seen from the shoulders up, smiling against a pink background
The Guardian Book Club with Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is one of our most celebrated living authors, and her profile has only increased in recent years thanks to the popularity of the television adaptation of her unsettling science fiction classic, The Handmaid’s Tale. In this latest, online installment of Guardian Live Book Club, Atwood will be discussing her 2003 dystopian novel, Oryx and Crake – appropriately set in a future ravaged by a plague. She will talk about the book and her creative process, as well as answering audience questions.

The Guardian Book Club with Margaret Atwood takes place on 11 February at 7pm

Two people wearing kimonos crossing the road at a zebra crossing
V&A Friday Forum: The Fashion for Kimono

The kimono has a fascinating history that extends into the depths of Japan’s past, and has been influencing global fashion for centuries right up until today. As part of it’s Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk exhibition, the V&A is hosting a day of online talks on 12 February. International experts including Akiko Fukai and Yamaguchi Genbei will guide attendees through the structure, artistry and cultural significance of the kimono, highlighting the stories and craftsmanship that make these garments so fascinating.

Book a place at Friday Forum: The Fashion for Kimono

Two hands reaching from either side of the image above a spread of meat, fish, vegetables, bowls of dipping sauce and a Hibachi grill
Valentine’s Day with Chotto Matte

The ordinary rush to book a table for Valentine’s Day is off this year, but that in no way precludes enjoying a professional-quality dining experience to mark the occasion. Japanese and Peruvian restaurant Chotto Matte is offering a unique experience with its interactive Love-Down Recipe Kit, which includes a tabletop Hibachi grill so you can get to grips with Japanese BBQ with your special someone. The meal comes with a selection of meat, vegetables, dipping sauces and gyoza, as well as a Peruvian chocolate and strawberry crema to round things off.

Order Chotto Matte’s Love-Down Recipe Kit

Francis Bacon's Three Studies of George Dyer - a triptych of three distorted faces against a pink background
Francis Bacon Online: The Fragmented Portrait drawing class

The raw, strange portraiture of Francis Bacon is instantly recognisable, capturing something about its subjects that is more than skin deep. Led by art historian and artist Luisa Maria MacCormack, the London Drawing Group’s latest class will explore Bacon’s amazing creativity, as well as offering practical advice as to what can be learned from his art and incorporated into your own work.

Francis Bacon Online: The Fragmented Portrait takes place on 11 February at 6.30pm

Musician Francesco Vila posing in a suit with his cello.
Francisco Vila online concert

Live music has, for many of us, been sorely missed during the preceding year, but organisations continue to explore and innovate ways of bringing great performance to us online, including The National Arts Club. It has partnered with the Sphinx Organization to present a series of classical concerts featuring outstanding young Black and Latino musicians. In this latest session, Ecuadorian cellist Francisco Vila will be taking to the virtual stage.

Francisco Vila will be performing on February 11 at 8pm

A chocolate bar broken into pieces with scattered chocolate dust.
Cocoa Runners Virtual Chocolate Tasting

Many of us choose to follow Christmas with an abstemious January, getting our diet and fitness regimes back on track. But come February, surely it’s ok to allow a little indulgence. To assist you in that endeavour, chocolate subscription service Cocoa Runners is offering a series of virtual tasting and cooking sessions for groups of up to six people. Appropriately for the season, they have teamed up with members club 67 Pall Mall for a Valentine’s Day wine and chocolate guided tasting.

Explore Cocoa Runners’ Virtual Chocolate Tasting Experience

Treasure your time

Though many of our plans have been curtailed by Covid-19, you can still get the most out of life with the help of The Platinum Card® from American Express and its great benefits. Book your spot for the hottest tickets in town – whether those are virtual today or back at your favourite venues in the near future – and earn a Membership Rewards® point for every £1 you spend. You can redeem your points quickly and easily on any device, from using them to pay for almost any item on your Card Statement or on your next Amazon order. What's more, Membership Rewards points never expire, so you can save them up and spend them on something you love when the time is right.

Think ahead

When we’re able to dine out again, American Express holds specially reserved tables for Platinum Cardmembers at some of the best-known restaurants as part of its exclusive Global Dining Collection. Reserve a table at your favourite restaurant ahead of time by booking directly through the American Express® App for something to look forward to. And when you're ready to travel again, the Platinum Concierge service offers expert, 24/7 travel and lifestyle advice wherever you are, day or night, as well as helping with booking for any kind of experience, whether in-person or virtual.

For more information and to apply for The Platinum Card, click here.

Annual Fee £575. Terms and Conditions apply.

Important Information

If you’d prefer a Card with no annual fee, rewards or other features, an alternative option is available – the Basic Card. Applicants must be 18 or over. Approval is subject to status, and Terms and Conditions apply.

Promoter American Express Services Europe Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Membership Rewards points are not earned on balance transfers, cash advances, American Express travellers cheque purchases, foreign exchange, fees and interest charges for returned payments, finance charges, late payment and referral charges, fees/charges including joining, annual and Membership Rewards fees. Membership Rewards Terms and Conditions apply to all Membership Rewards points redemptions. Visit membershiprewards.co.uk/terms.

Global Dining Collection reservations are based on a first come, first served basis. In the event of a reservation cancellation, the Cardmember will be subject to the restaurant’s cancellation policy, which will be communicated to the Cardmember by Concierge at the time of booking. Concierge is not responsible for informing the restaurant of your dietary restrictions or for the restaurant being able to accommodate the restrictions; we do ask that you provide this information directly to the restaurant. For full Terms and Conditions, please visit americanexpress.co.uk/platinum.


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