Early Saturday evening, mid-August, Charing Cross Road, which I used to call my favourite street in London (there were more bookshops in those days). Also the place of too many Night Buses. This is Molly Moggs, a little pint-sized pub on the corner of Old Compton, which despite walking by a million times I’d never been into before, though I did pop in with my friends Roshan and Big Lee shortly after sketching this. Across the street from here is Macari’s music shop, which is where I bought my current acoustic guitar, back in 1996. London is full of old stories for me. Molly Moggs was named after a lady in a poem by John Gay, “The Ballad of Molly Mogg” (“The Fair Lady of the Inn”), about a real woman who worked at a tavern in the eighteenth century. From the decor inside it seems to be a very popular place for performances by drag artists, cabaret, burlesque type of thing. We didn’t stay long enough to see any, moving on to an old favourite pub of mine, the ever-unchanging Ship on Wardour Street. There was no more sketching that evening, just lots of catching up with good old friends.
Okay so here’s what I want, a black rickenbacker guitar (12 string would be nice), and you can get it from this shop, Macari’s. Ok, fair enough, a nice pair of socks will do. Anyway, I was out in Central London having a wander and I stopped on Charing Cross Road to draw the shop itself. It was here that I bought my acoustic gitar, the one I still play, 12 years ago.
So, Christmas. How many mince pies have I eaten this week? I’m eating one right now actually. As Santa’s representative on earth I get one on christmas eve. What’s going on in the UK? Woolworths, now that was sad, going in there today to look at empty cleared shelves, people rummaging through nothingness while the former best place to buy christmas gifts rolls over and dies, and as of today it takes zavvi (formerly virgin megastore) with it, which is an utter disaster for me. That big store on the corner of Oxford Street was a home away from home for me growing up. This downturn is just hitting so hard here you don’t know what will collapse next.
On that cheery note (what am I, the new Eastenders?), from a country where although you might hear the names Jordan and Peter Andre too often, you never hear the name Sarah Palin (and that is such a good thing), I wish you all a Happy Christmas.
(incientally, i drew this with a new pen I’d not discovered before now, a uni-pin fineliner 0.1, bought from paperchase – bloody god it was too)