London, The Music Capital

Everything you need to know

For many, being a student in London is a dream come true. You could live your whole life here and not know all its secrets – with its images, people, atmosphere and staggering, staggering history, London has so much to offer.

Most people consider it to be THE world music capital and an ideal place to network, play and get into the UK’s music scene. It’s home to leading recording studios, many of the best music management companies, and top record labels such as Island Records and Warner Music.

London has an incredibly vibrant and diverse music scene. On any given night you can check out acts from the four corners of the globe in every style imaginable. Whether a hotly-tipped grime act in East London, legendary Jazzers at Ronnie Scott’s, cutting-edge alternative bands in Camden or some delectable soul in a super cool club, music in London is eclectic, exciting and always evolving. And with the greatest range of venues of anywhere in the UK, if not Europe, the capacity for exploration is almost daunting.

And venues are indeed everywhere – from the cavernous O2 Arena to the grunge of the Camden Barfly and the splendour of Koko. Free magazines such as Time Out will keep you up-to-date with what’s going on, particularly with regards to the clubbing scene which moves really quickly. Away from music, London’s great for film and theatre, both in the West End and in artier places like the Prince Charles Cinema or the ICA. The bigger problem is more likely to be narrowing down the wealth of options available to you.

London is also an unrivalled environment within which to experience other cultures, in everything from fashion to food to film. This cultural mix is very much part of London life – from palaces to street markets, the Notting Hill Carnival to Shoreditch on a Friday night, the sheer scale and variety available in the city is truly staggering; there’s few other places in the world where travelling just a few stops on the Underground can change your surroundings so completely, or place you so utterly with the present, past and future all at once.

Indeed, it’s often remarked that London is more a collection of villages than a coherent city, a collision of different communities smashing up against one another. Spend any amount of time within the vibrancy of Brixton or the counter-culture of Hackney and it’s incredible to realise that you’re just a few miles away from the glass towers and sober suits of Canary Wharf or townhouses and mansions of Kensington. But best of all is when all these varied peoples come together, hemmed in and sharing each other’s sweat as the house lights dim at Brixton Academy or XOYO.

London is the perfect place for this. In fact, it’s pretty much the perfect place, full stop.

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