Day 12:00 am
…as time passes by I think that increasingly the spirit of Soho in my mind has less and less space in the actual streets of that square mile or so of London… the machinery and money of progress are making it so…
Along which lines, I recently I came across the piece of writing below by Ms Vicky Butterfly. It seemed to capture that change and its associated ending, to contain a very evocative wistfulness and maybe even sadness…
“Recent walks through Soho left me feeling homesick for another time and place that I recognise has vanished forever… My father was a Soho landlord in the 60s and his and my mother’s world before me had seemed so exciting and mysterious – a glistening world of dark shadows and neon….
Sometimes at night I could get my father to walk us back through Soho. I loved the signs, lights glistening of tarmac, the promise lurking in the windows, the girls, the clubs, the smoke. I longed for the day when I could explore this adult world I only overheard in the conversations between my parents and friends.
As I began to tread those roads for myself, I never realised I was seeing the end of an era: the lights went out in the windows, the neon signs were switched off for the last time, the sex shops were replaced with boutique juice bars, whole swathes (containing some of my favourite dens of iniquity) were demolished for Crossrail and many of the faces that had drawn me there vanished.”
So, here’s a tip of the hat to the melting away of streets, rogues, beloved rascals and indeed the heart of town.
There is a sense of layering, exploration and research that underpins her work and which you could well follow a line from back to the stories, spirit of and souls from those disappearing Soho streets.
Visit her in the ether here.
The above text is from her article When The Rain Falls… The Night Flowers Bloom, which can be found here.