Year 2, Week 66: A Rainy Night In Soho

I’m too much of a city person, I’m afraid. I finally went down into Central London, and darted around the narrow afternoon streets with my sketchbook and my memories, in and out of shops, picking up cds and dvds on sale like super mario or something. I even met up with my brother, who happened to be in town, and he drove me around in a similar fashion disguised as white-van-man with the missions of black-cab-man. Soon I met my oldest friend, with whom I spent many evenings as an early-twenty-thing in the Wardour Street area. He was off to Korea the next day for a new life, with his Japanese wife, neither of them had ever been to Korea before, so the adventure begins for them. Bit later, met up with my best man plus another anonymous creativist (not creationist), and then another, and then the drinks did overflow. I was drinking strongbow cider, because I’d had this dream a couple of weeks back, and there was someone who’d turned into a turkey and was attacked by giant crows outside the British Museum… I’m not explaining my dreams right now.

The evening ended up in the Intrepid Fox – but not the one I know. The one in Wardour Street, one of my favourite pubs about a decade or so ago, a rockers haunt (and I was a bit of a rocker, without the boring rocker clothes and hair) (or music, mostly) (basically I play the guitar, that’s good enough for me). I was saddened to see that this historic Soho mainstay had closed, boarded up and empty, possibly to become another loud corporate-style bar, where toilet attendants try to spray you with perfume while you piss (let’s just say the bogs at the Fox were not like that at all… ). However, it has actually moved, to a space on St.Giles High st, behind New Oxford Street, much closer to the guitar paradise of Denmark Street, and now it is open until 2am and you can actually move around there without spilling some huge biker’s snakebite. And I remember when that place used to be a trendy over-priced bar! The reverse has happened – it has become the rock-pub, though the nearby former Hellfire Club has long since disappeared. So this is London in my absence.

I woke up next morning, and Saddam Hussein had been hanged. I had a pretty big hangover myself. New Year’s Eve came and went, a couple of glasses of wine in Burnt Oak, while Big Ben struck and the London Eye erupted on the telly. I’m back in America now – we got back on New Year’s Day, tired and dreading work, and San Francisco was sunny when we landed. we drove on to the Valley, past the strip malls and big-box outlets and the flat brown land that stretched all the way to the now-snow-capped Sierras (an awesome distant sight). I really enjoyed being Home though. I feel like when Superman flies up above the clouds and reinvigorates himself in Earth’s yellow Sunlight (guess what I watched on the plane). But now it’s back to Davis, back to work, back to wide roads and cars-big-as-bars, and I have to think up some New Year’s Resolutions, which will have to start this weekend I’m afraid. Happy 2007, I hope it’s full of peace and love.

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