Soho disappoints the bastard in me. You want it to be all mobsters and prostitutes, all downstairs bookshops and clubs where young women in bowler hats sing Mein Herr. It should be possible to go out in Soho with a bad attitude and come back with a black eye and an STD but it isn't. I just want to end one night out in the gutter having been thrown there by a Russian doorman while my stripper girlfriend screams abuse at him. I just want to end one night out with my right eye closed shut from fighting, drinking in a shit hole basement bar, paying for shots with my last, crumbled, blood stained fiver. Such dreams are not made in Soho anymore. It has become the place you end up if you went to boarding school, but instead of taking a job at your father's bank, you grew a moustache and bought a camera. If you really want to experience Soho, head for Shoreditch, which begs the question, since crossrail, and Snog, and Byron, what is Soho for?
We all love Maison Bertaux, we all love the film club at the Soho hotel, we all know a few good bars and a few good coffee shops, but take away the filth and what has Soho become? At the unassuming entrance of the Coal Vaults I consider this question, and at the bottom of the stairs I find my answer.