#Soho24

Written by Ronnie Capaldi on .

#Soho24

by Ronnie Capaldi @From_Rons_Desk

At 3pm on the 19th June 2015, Soho24 commenced. For 24 hours London’s Soho district would be explored by four people: Nika, Paul, myself and later by Janet. We would also deliver a non-stop #Soho24 Twitter feed. This is my 13 hours (5.00pm – 6.00am) in 8 steps. Take a walk with me!

L’Escargot : Broken curfews and snails from Wales

I cut through the green haven of Soho Square where Charles II statue overlooks Londoners who are taking time out from the city bustle. I walk into Greek Street and half way down I meet Nika and Paul outside L’Escargot. Established in 1927 it is the oldest French restaurant in the capital and sits in a beautiful, nearly 200 - year - old, Georgian townhouse. A small plaster bust of M. Gaudin the restaurant’s founder is embossed just under the building’s apex high above us as we enter at around 5.05pm.

From #Soho24 to #SaveSoho

Written by Nika Garrett on .

From #Soho24 to #SaveSoho

2014 is coming to its end as I am writing this post. A couple of months ago when an idea occurred to me to stay in Soho for 24 hours with no sleep, I didn’t know it would take place shortly after the closure of the much loved legendary Madame JoJo’s. There was no particular reason behind my Soho 24. For once I wanted to miss that last train home and have time on my hands and explore. My stay in Soho coincided with the march organised to commemorate Madame JoJo’s and draw everyone’s attention to the fact that Soho is losing its artistic, inclusive soul. Madame’s JoJo’s petition and the March were organised by theatre director Alexander Parsonage and performer Abigail O’Neill. Tim Arnold aka The Soho Hobo who led the march is a singer, songwriter, and Soho resident of many years. It was Tim who founded Save Soho: a coalition of performers, residents and politicians who want to ‘protect and nurture iconic music and performing arts venues in Soho that are disappearing at a terrifying rate.’ The chairman of Save Soho is actor and writer Stephen Fry.
Learn more about Save Soho at http://savesoho.com/about/

My 24 hours in Soho - #Soho24 Part One

Written by Nika Garrett on .

My 24 hours in Soho - #Soho24 Part One

Friday 28th November 9pm

If you turn left off Charing Cross Road into Manette Street, you will find yourself in front of the gateway into London’s most colourful square mile. Walk through the archway here and you will truly enter Soho. This is the same archway that Christopher Petit describes as ‘a border-post, the crossing where obligations could be left behind.’ It is Friday night and the pub on the corner in Greek Street is surrounded by usual clusters of young party-goers. If you take another look tonight though, you may spot a blond woman in a scarlet coat, standing on her own. Her face looks somewhat anxious and worried as she glances nervously at her mobile phone. That solitary figure is me just about to start 24-hour tale of exploration and endurance in Soho…

In Soho with the author Clayton Littlewood

Written by Nika Garrett on .

In Soho with the author Clayton Littlewood

“We would like to honour you as a woman” says a girl cheerfully as I turn my head away from the Soho Theatre posters I have just been studying. She looks very young. Her equally young looking friends nod approvingly. The girl is holding a shiny, red apple - that sort of apple that Snow White must have fallen for, while one of the men is offering me a white garden flower. “Please choose your gift” he says and smiles an innocent smile. It’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and they’ve been walking the streets offering their gifts to women. I choose the flower and we chat. They ask me where I’m from and what I’m doing here. It turns out we are all a very cosmopolitan bunch which is perfect as it is all happening in Soho. “I’m off to meet Clayton Littlewood here. He has written a couple of fantastic books about Soho.” I explain. “I think you’ll now end up in my blog post about him…”

At The Heart of Chelsea

Written by Nika Garrett on .

At the heart of Chelsea
With Michael Allen at his home, the Royal Hospital Chelsea

 Just a short walk from the bustle and hustle of famous King's Rd there is a place that has been at the heart of Chelsea for over 300 years. The Royal Hospital Chelsea was founded in 1682 by King Charles II as a home for retired soldiers and it still fulfils its role in 21st century. I've visited this place many times and often admired the elegant buildings designed by Sir Christopher Wren and other architects. On most of occasions sooner or later I end up chatting with some Chelsea Pensioners. What makes my visit special today is that I'm finally going to meet Michael Allen, a former Royal Military Police officer and a proud Welshman who has been living in the Royal Hospital since 2007.