What gift(s) could I request for Christmas that would make my life more interesting, social, or creative?
December 9, 2009 2:41 AM   Subscribe

What gift(s) could I request for Christmas that would make my life more interesting, social, or creative?

I've been asked by my mother for suggestions of what she could get me for Christmas. Recently I've realised that I spend too much time reading books, watching movies and playing video games, and not enough time doing creative or interesting things, attending cultural events, or being sociable and meeting new people. This is particularly daft as I live in the interesting city of Brighton, an hour outside the even more interesting city of London.

What gift(s) could I ask for that would help me to have a more interesting, social, creative 2010? There's infinite interesting stuff happening in London (and Brighton), so what would give me an excuse to see/do more of it? There's infinite new creative activities I could get involved in (none of which I really engage with currently) so what would give me an entry into them? What would get me out the house? What would get me outside my comfort zone? What would bring a bit more culture, a bit more social scene into my life?

Absolutely any and all suggestions welcome, I'd love a wide grab-bag of ideas. Thanks!
posted by Kirn to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A subscription to your local alternative arts and culture publication, so you actually know what's happening that you can go to?

There may also be a local theater that does concerts and plays, you could ask for a membership, something to simultaneously encourage you to get out of the house with friends and guilt you into using it so the money isn't wasted.

And, I'm just reaching here, but perhaps a new pair of excellent, stylish shoes that are good for walking around town? There's nothing quite like the right pair of shoes to make you feel comfortable out and about. Maybe you don't have them yet?
posted by Mizu at 2:52 AM on December 9, 2009

Best answer: A year's membership of the Institute of Contemporary Arts. They showcase contemporary film, visual art and music; the membership's £35 and includes free screenings and members' discounts on other events.
posted by chrismear at 3:16 AM on December 9, 2009

Best answer: I took a wine tasting course at the local college in the evening last semester. It was a great way to meet new people and learn more about wines. It was very unpretentious and something I really looked forward to. It seems Varnadean College has a course for 70 pounds. Or, you might prefer one of the other adult education courses they offer.
posted by brambory at 3:18 AM on December 9, 2009

Best answer: This might sound too obvious, but if I were you, I would honestly ask for a week's stay at a moderately priced hotel in London. With that, you have a central location from which you can explore the city and its goings-ons without having to make the hour-long commune each way to Brighton and back every day. Speaking from my own experience, not having to worry about the last bus/train out of town open up all kinds of possibilities, and allows me to relax as I take my time finding things I might enjoy.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:27 AM on December 9, 2009

Response by poster: Great suggestions, membership at the ICA looks good. Keep 'em coming!
posted by Kirn at 4:13 AM on December 9, 2009

Best answer: Ask her to pay for any kind of class that's offered locally -- a cooking class, improv lessons, riding lessons, any of that sort of thing. The key to making this creative AND social is to make sure it's a series of group lessons, rather than a one-off. You'll have a chance to get to know your classmates over the course of 8 or 10 lessons, and hopefully develop a new hobby and new friends who share that hobby.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:48 AM on December 9, 2009

Best answer: Long time Brighton resident here & part time London worker. Finding out what's going on in Brighton isn't too much of a problem...

The big arts month here is May. You have the Brighton Festival, Festival Fringe & The Great Escape. A 'Friend' of the first two gets priority booking opportunities (essential for some of the more popular events). There are opportunities to get involved with the festival too which can broaden your cultural network. There are loads of free events (e.g. Artisits' Open Houses) too.

Venue gift vouchers..? I'm not a fan of some of their dubious business practices but Komedia do them but bigger venues (e.g. The Dome which encompasses three venues) don't seem to.

Slightly boring, but very helpful if you are toddling off to London, is a Network Travelcard which is valid for a year & gets you 33% off train tickets in the south east (check the restrictions) which means you can get a day return Brighton > London at the weekend with a London all zones travelcard for £13 (just watch out for the dreaded rail replacement services when they are doing track maintenance at the weekends/bank holidays.

Courses? Phoenix are an artist-led organisation that have some good exhibitions and run a number of courses. Two universities in the town plus a number of FE / Adult ed colleges.

More later...off to buy pie 'n' mash for my mother-in-law ;-)
posted by i_cola at 5:22 AM on December 9, 2009

Best answer: The BFI (British Film Institute) is similar to the ICA and, well, if you want culture you can't ask for much better. You don't have to get membership, but if you do you get discounts off pretty much everything as well as priority booking for the London Film Festival, which is usually held each September. There's always something on, and the selective nature of the institution means you're unlikely to get a crap film if you pick at random (which, if you do that at your local multiplex, is not an infrequent happening).

What else… well, from what I hear in the press, the ENO has vastly improved, so there's that. The Royal Opera House is great too, and there are quite a few things to see at the British Library.
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 5:32 AM on December 9, 2009

Best answer: Interesting, social AND creative, all in one: enrolment on a night-school course in something you've always wanted to do, but never tried until now - playing the guitar, photography, painting. Using the time you're currently spending on reading, watching movies and playing video games.
posted by Holly at 6:07 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Membership to the British Museum?
posted by misha at 11:22 AM on December 9, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, think it's BFI membership for the win.
posted by Kirn at 2:44 AM on December 11, 2009

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