25 November, 2008


A London life

I was walking along Romilly Street in Soho past an open door which led to a passageway which led in turn to a flight of stairs. The surprisingly clean walls were adorned with dayglo notices advertising the arrival of "new models". I think you get the picture: one of those establishments that nice Ms Smith wants to close down by the indirect route of criminalizing its customers. And no, smartarse, I didn't go in: all of this was plainly visible from the street.

Such places are ten-a-penny in this part of London. (If that's the appropriate term: I expect the - in all probability Kosovar - proprietors are probably anticipating a rather higher rate of return.) What made this particular place memorable was the presence of a large statutory No Smoking sign on the wall. The incongruity jarred. I have visions of Westminster's Smoking Enforcement Co-ordinator paying a visit to ensure that the young ladies' health is not damaged by passive smoking, politely averting his eyes from the goings-on and raising his hat apologetically to the punters.

Opportunity for gratuitous inclusion of very, very old joke.

Prostitute #1: Do you smoke after sex?

Prostitute #2: I don't know, I've never looked.

Boom! Boom!

While I'm on the subject, I recall one day standing sipping a pint of what passed for lager in what was then a branch of the peculiarly themed All Bar One pub chain at Cambridge Circus, idly watching the punters entering and leaving the brothel across the street. I began to time them. The average stay, from entering to leaving the building, was 7 minutes! Now that's a fair old turnover. Time to switch my share portfolio out of BT and into brothels, perhaps?

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