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"Both the BBC and a number of independent production companies provide free tickets to recordings of their comedy shows."
- Gemma Pitcher

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UK

No such thing as a free lunch
by Gemma Pitcher, 26, London, United Kingdom
July 18, 2000

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Comedy

You want to experience the talent of Britain's stand-up comedians but without the hefty ticket prices in the West End theatres? Try the Cosmic Comedy Club, which plays host to new and upcoming acts. Entrance is free on selected evenings.

Cosmic Comedy Club, Fulham Palace Road, W6 Nearest tube: Hammersmith Tel: 020 7381 2006

Television

Fancy hearing yourself guffaw in front of an audience of millions? Both the BBC and a number of independent production companies provide free tickets to recordings of their comedy shows.

BBC television: Call 020 8576 1227 or email tv.ticket.unit@bbc.co.uk for tickets. Most shows are recorded at Television Centre, Wood Lane, W12. Nearest tube: White City.

Avalon productions: Call 0700 2222 111 for tickets or send an email to: audiencetickets@avalonuk.com. Most shows are recorded at the London Studios, South Bank. Nearest tube: Waterloo.

Music

Music is on offer at all the festivals we've already listed, as well as during the day in the foyers of major concert venues such as the Barbican or the Royal Festival Hall. But the best bet if you want to see big name acts for free is to keep an eye on the major London record shops. Artists often play short sets to promote new releases. The gigs may be followed by record signings, media interviews and photographs.

Virgin Megastore, Oxford Street, W1. Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road. Call 020 7631 1234. Gigs in the past few months have included Tom Jones and David Bowie.

HMV, Oxford Circus, W1. Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road. Call 020 7631 3423 for details. Past artists appearing have included Whitney Houston and Bush.

Tower Records, Piccadilly Circus, W1. Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus. Call 020 7439 2500.

Newspapers

Metro, London's only morning newspaper, is available from tube and rail stations, not to mention stuffed in every litter bin, blowing along the street and on the seats of underground trains all day. If you need a paper with a more national flavour, McDonalds generally have copies of most of the daily tabloids and broadsheets. Aussies, Kiwis and South Africans get their own magazines, including TNT, Southern Cross and SA Times. Find them in special bins outside selected underground stations.

Food

The Hare Krishna Restaurant offers visitors the chance to eat delicious vegetarian food with the members here, who believe that the act of giving provides spiritual blessings. Don't abuse their generosity by constant visits.

The Hare Krishna Restaurant, 9 Soho Street, W1 Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road

Internet Access

Keen to e-mail home and let them all know what a frugal time you're having? All the libraries in the borough of Westminster (the centre of London) provide free internet access. Start with the Charing Cross library at 4 Charing Cross Road, and they can tell you where the rest are. You may have to book in advance.

Charing Cross Library, Charing Cross Road, W1 Nearest tube: Leicester Square/Charing Cross Tel: 020 7641 4628

Gemma's trip to Africa

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