I remember a story a friend told me, about when he and his cousin first visited London and ended up in Soho. They were both 17, and were approached by a prostitute she asked “Have you got business” they both looked at each other puzzled, and being naïve my friend said, “My Dad has a carpet factory in Sunderland. Soho has changed since the 1980s, with the councils attempts to clean it up. I remember coming to London in 1987, for a job interview with a film company and, walking up Wardour Street looking at all the iconic buildings, most of them were production companies and facilities houses , and I remember feeling excited at the thought of working there. I walked up Wardour Street last week, and most of the companies seem to have moved on, Stanley’s has gone no doubt to be replaced by a poncey café. I was sad to hear Madame Jo Jo’s shut its doors, after an incident with the door staff. The go ahead for it’s demolition has been given, according to the Guardian quote:
“The closure of Madame Jojo’s plays to the weird gentrification that’s happened in Soho over the past 10 years. For 400 years its been the gloriously seedy underbelly of London, where some of the most interesting subculture has thrived, and yet in the last 10 years Westminster council seem hellbent to destroy that, to gut its character completely and turn everything into high end retail.”
The Raymond Revue Bar next door, will probably follow, as small pockets of Soho disappear. The prostitutes have been slowly moved from the area ,as well as the magazine shops who have been squeezed out. I have also noticed over the years, all the greasy spoon cafes in the side streets leading from Soho are disappearing slowly. The hike in rents and business rates killing off them one by one .
I do realise that my moaning about changing London will not change things ,especially market conditions. I know that the bookshops on Charing Cross road had to go, as people started buying Kindles and stuff was available online, and who needs to pay for porn when you have the internet, but I liked it when Soho was sleazy and a bit scuzzy. I don’t know why there have to be so many coffee shops, I like a good cup of coffee, but there isn’t a need for one every 10 feet. I think in 10 years time all the sex shops will be gone they have already been replaced by the sanitised sex shops of Anne Summers ,the Starbucks of the sex shop world, and Lovejoy’s another Soho landmark was replaced by Harmony a low rent Anne Summers.