21/12/12: The date to party like it's the end of the world
But remember the bar bill just in case...
Ben Ross is Head of Travel at The Independent. He has worked for the paper for over a decade, and began reporting on travel in 2001. Before joining the travel desk full time, he ran The Independent's special projects department. He started his journalistic career at the BBC working for its commercial arm, BBC Worldwide.
Thursday 20 December 2012
The ancient Mayans predicted that the world will come to an abrupt end tomorrow, 21 December 2012. But rather than get down in the dumps about the rumoured Doomsday, revellers are being offered the chance to celebrate their final hours in style.
Savvy entrepreneurs are cashing in on the interest surrounding the Mayan apocalypse by putting on a number of themed events across London.
Revellers can now see in the end of the world by dining in the hull of a boat, indulging in their wildest fantasies or hearing annihilation theories being panned in a one-off comedy gig.
Emma Ireland, a senior creative events manager at Halo Group, is involved in a pop-up dining experience called The Last Supper Club, which offers guests a three-course apocalypse-themed meal served inside an ark.
Ms Ireland said: "It was topical, it was current. It was something we knew a lot of people would probably be tapping into over Christmas.
"I don't know what it has been like in other cities but in London there has certainly been a big celebration of the end of the world. So it just seemed to suit the times."
The Last Supper Club has been running for two weeks in Shoreditch, east London, serving 200 people each night at a cost of £35 a head, and dishes out its last meal tomorrow - when, according to some interpretations, the Mayan calendar says the world will end.
The Friday 21 December doomsday claim has been fuelled by internet speculation, but widely questioned by academics and dismissed by everyone from Nasa and the US Government to the Vatican.
The Last Supper Club venture is not the only one aimed at capitalising on the publicity surrounding the apocalypse, with a handful of end of the world parties happening in the capital.
Flames And Fortune have been running apocalypse-themed parties for years and have taken advantage of the heightened interest to hold a joint event in east London and Los Angeles.
Ally Wolf, events organiser at Flames And Fortune, said that the opportunity was too good to miss.
"Everyone is talking about the fact that the world is going to end on Friday. All the media are talking about it, it is on the news," he said.
"So if you are going to put on an event you might as well put it on when everybody is talking about the end of the world."
Punters who buy one of the 750 tickets on offer will be treated to an "indulgence room" where staff dressed as Greek gods will massage you, feed you grapes and fulfil your wildest desires, according to Mr Wolf.
There will also be a giant countdown to 2.45am, the time when supposedly the end of the world will arrive.
And what happens then? "As with all apocalypses, it ends with a massive glitter cannon and a huge sing-a-long," Mr Wolf said.
Other forms of entertainment have also got in on the act. Comedian Robin Ince and scientist Professor Brian Cox are holding a one-off end of the world show at Hammersmith Apollo tomorrow night.
The gig will feature a selection of apocalypse-themed music, appearances from comedians and scientists discussing the various theories for annihilation.
A spokesman for the pair said: "It is purely (inspired by) the well known fact that the Mayans happened to believe that December 21 is the end of the world.
"And they are scientists, so they are obviously going to try and disprove that in some way, shape and form, ideally by all of us leaving the theatre at the end of the show."
All 3,600 seats have been sold out, according to the spokesman, at a cost of between £25 and £40.
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