MAP OF SOHO LONDON
Very Famous Place – infamous too.
Zoom in to street names – and the Main London Map (loads up fast from the home page)
Lots of sex or sexy establishments. You see black cabs cruising the streets slowly with the windows open for their fare spotting things in the streets and shops. Saucy but quite OK.
The natives of the place – especially those who are sending their children to the local school, know that this is an area studded with gems of shops, places to eat and have a coffee an’ snack.
Don’t need to be shy in Soho – especially armed with a decent map - walk right in. They are a welcoming bunch – and not only for the trade – it’s part of the Soho ethos to be friendly – in a Brit sort of way. The quality and arrangements of goodies on the shelves inside are worth a butchers (that ‘s butchers hook rhymes with LOOK – a sample of cockney rhyming slang).
Carnaby Street and all the paved shopping area around have some of the most interesting things to look at. Soho has some pretty famous restaurants too and culture, great pubs, bars and still more culture – which means entertainment mainly.
A CHRISTMASSY STORY
Our Christmas offering this year is a true story of a painting of the Virgin Mary by El Greco. in around 1,555 AD. It is on many Christmas cards so the look on her sweet face is of a beautiful spirit. So in that sense it’s seasonal.
The story goes that the Church in Spain commissioned El Greco to paint the Virgin using a certain popular model. What he came back with was this painting. the one that has endured 450 years.
“Also she’s a babe.
What in heaven’s name were you thinking sir?”
“No pay until you make her pious and wearing blue for a start.”
El Greco went away and came back with his interpretation of what they wanted. He used the same model and returned a few weeks later on condition they paid him his due.
They promised they would. El Greco came back with another painting of the same young lady being Mary Mother of God instead of herself.
She was indeed transformed. The lace now a coarse cotton cowl and suitably pious for him to take receipt of his money.
She was in a nun’s habit of navy blue.
With a halo.
After a while they must have persuaded him or given him feedback that a compromise could be arranged, so a hybrid came about.
Here she is quite iconish with a bluer cloak and a finer blouse with a hoodie. And we have a hint of lace complete with that knowing look and a halo.
So we make sure not to make piety a onorous thing.
Best to finish this Christmassy card story by scrolling back to the enduring one and get a feel of the original painting which was after all a hit.
We won’t get too detailed at this stage about Soho Square and Beak Street and the other nostalgic backwaters because we are about to finally put up some close sections so you can see the specifics complete with some TopSpots.
This ironmonger in Brewer Street has a winow full of finely engineered metal and brass fittings. You could wonder why there? Well people have been coming from all over for nearly a century to go purchase that fixing or knob you can’t really get aywhere else.
Besides on the net – to find it you would first have to know what t was called. Easier to go in and say – “That thing up there please”.
This map really comes into it’s own in the little back streets that are still paved over paths that have been trodden for many centuries. The area is protected by having lots of historically listed buildings.
If anybody reading this has a shop to recommend – give us the heads up please, with an email to place<at>covent-garden.co.uk.
What did the shop do for you? We want to know.