Wednesday 31 December 2014

Soho revisited.

Christmas is a time for nostalgia. And in that spirit I was back in my old haunts yesterday for a Soho pub crawl. The Dog & Duck, The Blue Posts, The Star & Garter, The Red Lion and finally The Clachan. 

In truth there are not many things or people  that I miss from my former life, but I do miss Soho. Or more precisely my memory of Soho rather than the hipster-theme park it increasingly resembles.

I've not been back there for almost a year but plus ca change. The place that used to sell artisan Cornish pasties now sells artisan hot dogs - and that restaurant that specialised in authentic Korean street food now specialises in authentic Cambodian street food. The same shops that still sell vinyl, the fixed wheel bike shops and of course some  more artisan coffee shops. A lot more fucking artisan coffee shops.

But there are still a few of the traditional Soho pubs. The pubs that played a central part in my working life when I was the production manager of an artwork studio.  Our clients were largely the ad agencies of Soho - and the pubs were where the deals were made, the briefs given out and the proofs taken for approval. Part Roman forum, part 18th Century coffee house. 

This is now a  lost world that disappeared rapidly with the introduction of mobile phones and the relaxation of the licensing laws. And life got more corporate, more superficially 'professional' - and ultimately much more joyless. 

In fact, come to think of it, the decline of the traditional pub pretty much parallels my prolonged disenchantment with life in the print. 

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