West End sunshine

West End sunshine

Having a few free hours and appreciating the bright start to a mid-February day, I caught the train from Eden Park into Charing Cross this morning to meet up with Mark Batchelor. Looking to mix a few familiar music-based haunts and favourite shops, we first took in Heddon Street and the site of the famous Ziggy Stardust album cover photo shoot.

After a coffee, we walked through Soho via Rough Trade and the record outlets in Berwick Street to Adam of London. I was tempted by an excellent dark blue Kent suit and, as ever, looked through their appealing selection of shirts.

The stroll continued through Soho Square where we saw Mark ‘Bedders’ Bedford, bassist of Madness, presumably on his way to Groucho’s or some such.

Denmark Street beckoned, and the guitars of ‘No.Tom’, Regent Sounds and Hank’s. The north side of Covent Garden then seemed a logical choice and another coffee in the Swedish setting of Fabrique in Earlham Street.

A new find, Stetson London in Neal Street, then provided a great opportunity to look through a wide range of hats as I am always on the look out for a new ‘pork pie.’

Next stop was Neal’s Yard for a ploughman’s lunch, where I spied a ‘Monty Python’ plaque marking the offices where Palin and Gilliam worked from 1976 to 1987 (pictured).

Heading south, we passed the Coliseum in St Martin’s Lane, the home of English National Opera. Appropriate in view of the settlement announced today in the dispute between the musicians, staff and the management.

Passing Charing Cross Station, we took in the York Watergate on the Embankment. Amazing how this used to mark the north bank of the Thames prior to the developments in the mid-18th century.

Having said goodbye to Mark, I crossed the river and a train from Waterloo East took me home. Thanks to everyone we met on our city sojourn!

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