afforded me the delights of a special UK
preview of the latest teen 'romp' flick 'Road Trip'
at the expense of a friends company
who rented out the theatre
for their clients (of which I am clearly not one!).
The film itself was a mildly amusing relatively un-PC knob gag style affair in the mould of American Pie but not quite as funny, the meal prepared by said friend afterwards of Steak au Poivre, swede, carrot and butter mashed potato and corn on the cob was a more memorable affair, but the journey from work to the cinema was perhaps the highlight of the evening.
It's not that it was a wild and crazy affair with all sorts of capers, conundrums, coincidence and the like, it just kind of reminded me why I like London at night.
The car ride from where I work (Canary Wharf, Docklands) to Soho takes me past tobacco dock, the Tower of London, London Bridge, along the embankment of the River Thames, through Trafalger Square and Nelson's column, Picadilly Circus, Shaftesbury Avenue and into the depths of Soho itself, a square mile of sleaze, excitement, trendiness, sexuality, crime, drink, drugs, wealth, and poverty all rolled up into one glorious maze of interlocking streets, alleyways and phone-booths extoling the virtues of flesh-for-sale.
After somehow aquiring a free parking space (which is no mean feat as anyone who frequents the area will tell you)I strolled down Carnaby Street, past the mods and trendies, onto Berwick Street, past the rotting vegetables left over from a days trading, a smell which, when combined with the smog of London produces the aroma which is distinctively Soho.
It alwasy amuses me that not 5 yards from this market which serves old ladies, as well as young children are doorways with badly handwritten notes taped to the gaudily painted walls saying simply "Models" which lead to the £20 a time ladies of the night (and day). It always surprises me that the cross section of males willing to procure said ladies "services" is so varied, young, old, rich looking, tramp-a-likes, ugly and goodlooking all require relief from the sex workers of Soho.
Around the corner in Wardour Street the night is kicking off in the uber-trendy bars, clubs and restaurants where celebs can be spotted in abundance if you know the right place to look.
As I passed down to cross the road at Shatftesbury avenue towards Leicester Street you literally have to barge your way past the orientals emerging from Chinatown and the tourists exiting the Angus steakhouses (why they eat there, on display with the horrid red velvet seating and vile green serviettes I'll never know) and heading for the many tourists shops to buy their Union Jacks and the "My friend went to London and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" t-shirts.
As I took the last few back streets on the way to Leicester Square I encountered the other Londoners who were also using these little known thoroughfares to avoid the masses.
As I enetered the square itself the usual collection of street performers, musicians and peachers were there to greet me.
And then my night began.