Thursday, March 19, 2009

Capital Moments

Spring has sprung, it seems. Out for a walk at lunchtime in the West End, the sky is brilliant blue and there seems to be that indefinable sense of everyone being a little bit happier. I walk down Berwick Street, pick up a bit of veg. "Cheers mate," I say to the vegetable man in that Mockney way I've learned over a decade in the capital. I try hard not to look over the shoulder of the girl standing at the bottom of the street drawing the sex shop opposite, because I'm on a mission, and have to be back at the office in 40 minutes. I swing across towards the London Graphics centre to pick up a few drawing implements, when suddenly I'm confronted with the sight of an enormous dildo on top of the Palace Theatre:

A few steps further reveals the truth: it's just a giant stiletto heel advertising the new musical version of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Just another normal day, then. I move on, pausing only briefly to reflect on the fact that it didn't seem terribly bizarre to have a giant dildo on top of the Palace Theatre. As I walk back to the office, I pass the girl, still intently sketching the sex shop at the corner of Walker's Court. Once, when I was a child, this place was the Soho sex industry. Now it's just another back street full of porn and what we then called marital aids. But it still retains that whiff of scandal, even amid the gentrification that seeps into it. I consider the walkers, and where they may now be. Then continue back to the office, pausing only to linger and gaze at other temptations offered for sale

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