Saturday, 16 January 2010

Soho Square W1

Soho Square - if not the geographical centre of Soho, definitely the social hub.  All the tribes of Soho can be found here on a sunny summer's day (remember those - they seem a distant memory in chilly January) - the drunks, the junkies, the preening shirtless muscle marys, the scruffy oh-so-cool media types, the working girls, the gorgeous and the bizarre.  Sit on a bench in Soho Square for an hour and you can see so many mini dramas and comedies being played out - I love it.  Good to see that the mock tudor gardener's hut in the centre has been spruced up (see left).  As well as the people watching, I feel like Soho Square is integral to so many of my London experiences - it's one of those squares that you walk through on the way to or from somewhere or someone significant.  Big nights out, assignations, job interviews, break-ups, first days, last days, in all sorts of states - I had this great idea once that you could take a photo of someone over a period of time every time they walked through the square and track how their lives had changed.  Anyway I'm rambling - but I do have a real fondness for Soho Square and I particularly like the Eglise Protestante Francaise de Londres on the north east corner of the square  - it's such a beautiful building and I have this fantasy about turning it into my house, which is unlikely to happen, but hey a boy can dream.   These days I most often walk through Soho Square on my way to Milk Bar - I love the fact that you can stand at the southern end of the square and look down the slightly urine-scented laneway (weirdly called Bateman's Buildings) and at the end, like a beacon of coffee goodness, is Milk Bar.  I also used to like the walk down Sutton Row to get to the Astoria (a minute's silence please for that sadly departed institution) and I liked the scruffy, dodgy, dog-leg of Falconberg Mews (home of legendary nightclub The Ghetto), but that has all gone to make way for Crossrail - boo hiss.  I tend to mourn the passing of the dodgier, seedier part of inner city living - not that I want to live in a crime-ridden, unsafe city, but I do feel that every city needs it's shabbiness, it's seediness, just as it needs its glitz and glamour - it's all about the contrast in my opinion.  Anyway - here endeth the lesson once again (note to self - do not use blog to preach...) - this was meant to be a paean to one of my favourite places in London - good old Soho Square.  Roll on summer-time.

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