More for less: Events
After Christmas extravagance comes inevitable New Year belt-tightening, but you don’t have to go cold turkey on culture just for the sake of saving a few pounds; cheap and free events and attractions abound across Glasgow and Edinburgh. Here are our suggestions to help keep you out-and-about, but still in pocket
Starting with cheap comedy (the best kind, surely?), The Stand Comedy Clubs in Glasgow and Edinburgh offer laughs for less, with the Edinburgh branch hosting free event Whose Lunch Is It Anyway? with Stu & Garry on Sunday afternoons, and legendary have-a-go comedy night Red Raw on Mondays (entry only £2, though be prepared to cringe as well as cackle). Glasgow’s Stand also has a £2 Red Raw night on Tuesdays, and the Ivory Hotel plays host to free comedy festival Ha Ha Raw every Sunday evening. See www.thestand.co.uk for details.
If you can’t afford that ticket for JLS at the SECC there are many other more nourishing live music events, and all for free. In Edinburgh, Whistlebinkies has free live acts every night of the week until 3am, and the Blue Blazer’s intimate Sunday evening session Listening Rooms is highly recommended. On Thursday nights The Tron hosts open mic night Out Of The Bedroom, and creditable new band night The Mill shifts between Cabaret Voltaire in Edinburgh and Òran Mór in Glasgow on alternate weeks (Edinburgh Thu 21 Jan, Glasgow Thu 28 Jan. See www.themill-live.com). Elsewhere in Glasgow, The Liquid Ship has hosted intimate gigs for over six years at the Free Candy Sessions on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The Backroom Acoustic Club takes place at The Common Rooms every Sunday evening, and if you fancy performing, you’ll receive a slap-up meal in payment. Lastly, Tchai Ovna offers offbeat music most weekday nights, with jazz, blues, folk and world all available for £2 a time.
For free films (without the aid of BitTorrent) there are free screenings in Edinburgh at The Jekyll & Hyde pub every Monday at 7.30pm, or every day at Brass Monkey at 3pm. Glasgow’s CCA offers regular screenings of hearty art-house fare either for free, or the princely sum of £3 (£2), as well as regular free exhibitions including current five-star show Votive, on until Sat 30 Jun.
There are plenty of theatre discounts to be picked up as long as you get there at the start of a long run. The Citizens Theatre in Glasgow sells preview tickets at £4, and Edinburgh’s Traverse theatre and Dundee Rep’s preview seats are £5. Tickets for the List-sponsored First Look Fridays at the Lyceum in Edinburgh also go for a fiver, however these sell fast – book now for the next show, Every One in March.
On the clubbing scene, there are a huge number of free nights available, yet sadly many of these cater to the less discerning (and more disgusting) clubber. Generally, going by venue is a good bet. Cabaret Voltaire is home to Sick Note and Killer Kitsch. Sneaky Pete’s hosts Sneaky Beats, Fake, Nu Fire, Coalition and the epic Wasabi Disco. Voodoo Rooms boasts Gumbo Funk and Soul Spectrum on its roster. Bongo Club is well worth a look, especially for JungleDub on Wednesday nights, and Hive has Sections to look forward to on Sundays. In Glasgow, Nice ‘n’ Sleazy is always worth a punt, and usually free before midnight. Spirit at Sub Club costs a measly £2, but if even that’s a stretch, get hold of a flyer for free entry. Our recommendation at the pricier end of the scale (a whopping £3-£4!) is Mixed Bizness/R-P-Z at the School of Art every Thursday – good tunes are guaranteed, with the occasional guest thrown in as well.
There are a variety of great spoken word events, most notably the story-telling legend that is the Guid Crack Club, held on the last Friday of every month in Edinburgh’s Waverley bar (and paid for by donation – around £3 is the recommendation). Down the way, Tchai-Ovna in Glasgow has the Better Crack Club, and two other poetry/short-story nights, three Fridays a month, for free. In talking about free or cheap events, it’d be a crime not to mention the Forest Café in Edinburgh – in fact, they could probably field a whole article on their own. In the space available, we’ll just have to restrict ourselves to mentioning the Golden Hour, their monthly music-and-reading extravaganza. More information about all their events is at www.theforest.org.uk