We had a nice wander around snowy London today. Here are some highlights.
First up was Denmark Street, where we went in search of twee instruments* for our band, The Leytonstone Shitkickers. There we found the whole of London’s alternative music culture all squeezed into a tiny row opposite the hole in the ground where the Astoria used to be. There’s the 12 Bar Cafe, home of the London anti-folk scene and always full of interesting characters; a couple of recording studios; the wall of dreams, plastered with ads asking for vocalists, or bassists, or anyone, provided you really like the Foo Fighters; and of course, many music shops, most of them full of the kind of people who still think that wiggly-woo Guns & Roses style guitar solos are still the greatest cultural achievement of mankind. Which of course in some ways they are.
The shop we were after was the Early Music shop, cunningly hidden on the second floor of another shop. We opened the door to find it was still the 16th century, with the kind of instruments that would have once been played by minstrels, hopping up and down the country on one leg**, playing amusing ballads in exchange for their daily bread.
Then we made our way to Wardour Street for a cuppa, past one of those space invader mosaics which apparently are everywhere, but I’ve barely noticed them before because I’m too busy thinking big, important thoughts that will one day change or possibly destroy the world:
We ended up in Bar Bruno, an old-school proper Italian cafe, the like of which Soho was once stuffed with but are now sadly rare. It was full of chatty London-Italian staff, lovely booths, and cheap tea. All around us were people reading the Evening Standard and eating Spaghetti Bolognese WITH TOAST. The way it should be.
Opposite was a newsagents called The Hobbit. If anyone knows why there is a newsagents on Wardour Street called The Hobbit, please get in touch.
* I bought a glockenspiel and some pink egg shakers. We’re going to ROCK.
** There is in fact no evidence to suggest that ye olde minstrels were notably lacking in limbs