5 Reasons To Visit The West End This Week


Santas1. It’s all gone a bit Santa. I’m staying well away from Trafalgar Square at the moment as I do not wish to be pelted with sprouts. In fact there are far too many Santas around at the moment; on roller skates, covered in lights, in saucy bikinis. Enough now. And don’t keep shouting out ‘Do you want to see my sack?’

2. Absence of drones. The businessfolk who inhabit the Square Mile and Soho have already buggered off on extended hols, hitting the ski slopes, checking into rehab etc. The streets are eerily quiet, which means you can get a taxi.

3. Restaurants! Now that the Christmas parties are over and you no longer have to watch two middle-managers holding Kylie from PR’s hair out of the way while she sicks vodka and a prawn biriani into the gutter, you can suddenly get that table you wanted in that restaurant where the waiters laughed in your face when you politely tried to make a reservation just two months ago.

4. Death and weirdness! David Hoyle is on at the Soho Theatre being disgusting in a show called ‘Merrie Hell’ from the Jerry Springer co-writer, and the Wellcome has a lovely seasonal exhibition called, succinctly, ‘Death’. Come on, it can’t be any worse than Damien Hirst’s travesty at the Tate Modern earlier in the year. And there are plenty of other killjoy exhibitions and shows on at the moment, not to mention Priscilla Presley frightening tots at the Wimbledon panto.

5. Pubs! They’re all Christmassy and half-empty now that le tout Anglais have decided to decamp to Barbados in order to avoid bringing a smidgen of joy to their elderly relatives over Christmas. Admittedly there are a few hideous posh children up from Gloucester, but you can push them into ponds and under trains when no-one’s looking. Or you could shove them into taxis and tell the drivers to drop them off on the roughest council estate in Tower Hamlets. That’ll toughen them up faster than doing the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

8 comments on “5 Reasons To Visit The West End This Week”

  1. Peter A says:

    ** LIKE **

  2. Helen Martin says:

    That is great. It also removed a research item from my B&M list. I’ve never met a biriani of any sort so I rather enjoyed the little taste I got in Wikipedia, to say nothing of the recipes. Biriani is in the Victoria Vanishes. I’m also getting quite a list of B&M case references: the Kew Garden Strangler,the woman found dead by the canal at York Way, and the Chemeketa Rain Devil which takes place in Oregon and resulted in Arthur receiving a custom made wall hanging.

  3. Dan Terrell says:

    I have only eaten Biriani in Pakistan – don’t see it on the menus here – and it was delicious. With those case references, you are moving to the top rank of B&M affectionados, Helen, with that growing list. Does “good on you” fit here?

  4. John says:

    SantaCon is worldwide now? In New York it was foul and obscene as usual. Not that I planned to be there for it – just coincidence. And perhaps next year we will plan more wisely to avoid the costumed drunks and exhibitionists.

    On the way home to Chicago we saw a young man on our flight who had his little Santa suit in a dry cleaning bag stowing it carefully in the overhead compartment. We later found out he was on his way home to Reno. Some people spend a lot of money just to get drunk in public and act the fool.

  5. Helen Martin says:

    I haven’t looked at local menus for it, but apparently it comes from the Mogul Empire and is mostly in Pakistan and northern states. We should see it here, given our Indian people. (South East Asian just doesn’t say “India” to me.)

  6. snowy says:

    If you will forgive me going all ‘Miss Manners’, but it would be a faux pas to call all people from SE Asia ‘Indian’.

    Those who originate from Pakistan might get offended, as the memory of the ‘Partition of India’ in 1947 is still very much alive. And why the two nations are still hostile to each other.

    And just to add further confusion most of what is called ‘Indian Cuisine’ in resturants is mostly Bangladeshi in origin. But it’s still very tasty, and it does include dishes from other regions if there is enough demand.

    [That said I’m a fool for spicy rice dishes, like Jambalaya and Jollof rice.]

  7. snowy says:

    Blimey there’s an echo in here.

  8. Dan Terrell says:

    The New York Times website has a wonderfully fun 3 1/2 minute video reported by Bill Cunningham on the annual Santacon in Manhattan. With terrific costumes, hats and getups that are both clever and catching. If I may say so, a bit better than what I’ve seen in London in the past yeas. (Head swiftly ducked down.) Go to the site and look for the videos box. Enjoy.

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