My buddy Daryl, who owns Diamond Jacks in Soho, recently posted some pics over on his instagram feed about what's happening to that particular area of London. It's been happening for years. I first noticed it in the early 2000s when I went to interview Dave McKean and had cause to head into part of the city I hadn't been to since the early 90s. It's amazing what can happen when they chip away at small parts of a thing over a long period of time.
And now we have come to a point in time at which it's no longer small parts. Now we are down to the Big Parts. The scaffolding has moved in. Shops that once made Soho into Soho are no longer there and there's very few still holding their own. They call it progress and as much as I adore coffee of the Starbucks variety, even I can walk 50 yards around the corner to get one. There is no need for a handy venue on every street in London... but that's what we're going to get whether we like it or not.
Then one day in the days of future past, people will discover coffee causes an incurable disease and one by one they will all close down leaving a million empty shells across the city-scape. Cities all around the world will collapse into their underground train systems because Starbucks was the only thing holding the damn place together. Then the revolution will arrive (but it will not be televised) of people wanting record shops, book stores and umm... shops that sell ropey magazines to old men normally best avoided in long coats because some motherfucker also turned off the internet.
Anyway, on my travels through Soho, I found this house and I guess when they finally take that sign off the door, Soho will officially be closed and that will be a sad, sad day for individuality.
Or maybe they will just change it:
"This is not a Starbucks. There is no coffee at this address."
Elektra (my new Gretsch) and I are getting on just fine together thanks for asking. I've got one eye on the white 12 string variant still, so that's only a matter of time but while I had one eye on that, the other eye discovered a guy called Israel Nash who I had not heard of before, but there he was on the Gretsch website flaunting one of the family for all the world to see. Here he is in action:
Here's the cover of Rain Plans. I have fallen in love with this so hard that I haven't played anything else this week. In fact, that's something of an understatement. It may not be his latest release but it's gone straight to the top of the list of greatest things I've heard this year... with a bullet:
Inspiring is what this is. Listening to it has given me ideas way above my station to pursue but it's all good. It's also good to feel like somebody else knows where your soul is coming from when you have 'one of those things' draped across your shoulder..
Go listen - most of his work is around on the streaming things.
In another bullet from the heavens this week, one of my favourite writers who likes to loiter around the world in the shape of Michael Marshall Smith has a new book out called Hannah Green and Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence. I think it may have been out a few weeks now and I just missed it in my busy-ness, but regardless of that, I'm going to drop the needle back to the beginning of Rain Plans, turn on the lamp and get lost in one of his worlds.
As luck would have it, here's a book trailer for it:
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Some I cross link to social platforms, some I don't, so it's a good way to catch everything... unless of course you have a desk job and get bored easily, in which case, feel free to check back as often as you like.