— Ellie Broughton

Arts & entertainment


Spring is in the air, and for chocoholics that can only mean one thing. Easter eggs are inspired by the traditional symbolism of the egg as promising new life, but for anyone who’s started a new life as a vegan or is dairy intolerant, they can evoke sad memories of an easier life when you didn’t have to check ingredients lists before buying.

Luckily the dairy-free egg market gets stronger every year, and we found plenty of quality, tasty options to try.

Click here to head over and see the best in show.

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I am a huge fan of LitHub – an American website started by a team including the founder of Electric Literature. I got a commission from features editor Jess Bergman via Twitter (a first for me) to cover literary bots.

Linguist and programmer Esther Seyffarth defined a bot in a Medium post last year as “a program or agent that generates content and posts it to Twitter automatically, following some schedule or reacting to some trigger.” In the case of Twitter’s literary bots, or “corpus-fed” bots, programmers take a body of work—for example, the text file of War & Peace as it stands at Project Gutenberg—and build a program that “reads” the novel, 140 characters at a time, “aloud” by publishing sensible whole-word extracts as tweets from a dedicated Twitter account.

Literature, in the manic context of Twitter, feels like a novelty—the joy of witnessing something, somewhere, committed publishing an entire work. But at times, the bots feels uncanny too. Coincidences that arise between their tweets and the memes, gifs and beef that frame them can be as disruptive as it is delightful. Novels, titles and poems “out of place” unsettle us: not amping our anxiety like the news does, but sounding through the fog to wake up something deeper. We double-take, re-read and find originality in repetition. (Read more on the site).

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Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 13.46.52 Dana Lixenberg’s portraits of LA citizens like the one above are just one of the brilliant highlights at this year’s Deutsche Borse prize exhibition at the Photographer’s Gallery. I picked this, and eight other brilliant exhibitions, for Refinery29 UK reader to diarise in January.

Big retrospectives for Basquiat and Wolfgang Tillmans dominate the calendar, while the centenary of the Russian revolution brings not one but three major exhibitions to the city’s galleries that will cover everything from architecture to poster design.

Fashion fans also have treats in store: the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death gives the Royal Palaces an opportunity to display all the pie-crust blouses that made her the original people’s princess, and the V&A delivers a drool-inducing exhibition of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s work – a UK first.

For more features on the London events calendar for 2017, check back regularly, or see a special on London literary events I made for the Time Out website last year. Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 13.47.12

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Long before I ever moved to London, working at Time Out was pretty #careergoals, and this year I’ve been really happy to have had nine months of shifts with the magazine. I joined under Ashleigh Arnott, who’s now working for Waitrose, met Louise Schwartzkoff as she developed the new Culture & Events section, and now work with Sonya Barber who’s managing the launch of that section.

First day back from holiday and I get to see my street guide in print. Nice 🌞

A photo posted by Ellie (@elliebroughton_) on

Recently I’ve written street guides for Essex Road and Hanbury Street – both packed with great independent venues and cool new arts projects – as well as trying out a chiaroscuro class at the Royal Academy, learning about London’s black heritage in Tudor times, compiling this year’s online feature on New Year’s Eve parties for Olly Keen’s Nightlife section, writing and editing the listings for the mag, and writing about London Christmas rituals for a big collaborative feature in the front of the magazine. Lots of it is featured on my Muckrack page, as well as other features I’ve done this year, and I’m looking forward to filling 2017 with more brilliant London walks, talks, dinners, coffees, exhibitions and parties.

Walls of nudes at the chiaroscuro class at the RA. My dodgy rendition not pictured

A photo posted by Ellie (@elliebroughton_) on

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For many casual cinemagoers, the Picturehouse venues look like they have all the kudos of an independent cinema with all the perks of being part of a network. The programming is great, food and drinks are good quality and the staff are super helpful.

But look behind the scenes and the story’s quite different. Staff at Picturehouses in both Hackney and Brixton have committed to strike over the network’s failure to pay London Living Wage.

Independent cinemas are not without their wage disputes either – for example, staff at the Dalston Rio went on strike last May over wages and job cuts. But if you were a Picturehouse fan until the strikes, you might want to show solidarity by taking your ticket money elsewhere.

The map above covers the following cinemas in London, so you can find the nearest indie to your home and work, or just explore cinemas you’ve never visited before:
Regent St Cinema
Close Up
Prince Charles Cinema
Rich Mix
Genesis Mile End
Dalston Rio
Institute Of Light
The Barbican
Finchley Phoenix
The Horse Hospital
Arthouse Crouch End
Ciné Lumière
The Lexi

A note on the ‘independence’ of cinemas featured on this list: the Arthouse, Prince Charles, Phoenix, Lexi, Genesis, Peckhamplex, Rich Mix, Horse Hospital and the Rio are independent, the BFI is independent registered charity, Close Up is part of a company that reinvests is profits into film resources, and Ciné Lumière is part of the Institut français, which is funded by French public funds.

The Electric Cinemas in Notting Hill and Shoreditch, although lovely, aren’t featured – they are owned by the Soho House Group – and Picturehouse cinemas (owned by Cineworld) aren’t  featured either.

Curzon cinemas, since they are not part of a giant like SHG or Cineworld, are also featured: unlike Picturehouse, the brand pays staff London Living Wage.

Cinema clubs and temporary venues for screening are not featured – everywhere on the list is a dedicated bricks-and-mortar cinema.

To add something to the list, make suggestions or syndicate this information, email elliebroughton@gmail.com.

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