Old Compton Street -20 years in

Old Compton Street, Fifty & Dean, CloneZone, Admiral Duncan, Village of SoHo, Compton's of SoHo, G-A-Y, Ku-Bar, Ku Bar, Frith Street, Greek Street, Dean Street, GAy Theatre London, Licensed Sex Shoppes London, Sex Shop London, nwyrktodd, Todd Hanlon

I’m no spring chicken. Been around the block and back. First trip to London in the 90’s I got smashed, mugged, and robbed in the Old Compton area. Yet, I still come down here for a few pints. Shoreditch and Camden are definitely more trendy. Something about SoHo… Maybe it’s the rich, snobby, gay guys who are so cliquey that it’s almost a privilege to have a pint with them. I think it’s the lack of petty thieves, especially when I’m busy carrying my shopping bags. The thieves were omniscient in that time, almost everywhere, knowing exactly who had just gone to the ATM. I was robbed for a large amount of money that I withdrew from the cash machine because I did not want to pay the high bank fees. It was still $2 to £1 at that time so I was worried about money. I was shopping but stopped into the gay bar for a pint, when I struck up some small talk with the Captain of the Police, and a firefighter… I was young, drunk, and not an innocent boy. We had a few pints before I went to pay for the next round when I discovered all 1,000 pounds gone from my wallet. How someone saw that money, and got at it I will never know. The firefighter (who was an awesomely handsome Brit) offered me a ride home. We stumbled to his car (all 3 of us – the cop, firefighter, and myself), to find his window smashed in and glass all over his car. His belongings had also been robbed. I guess having a pint with the cop & a firefighter was not in my favour in the 90’s?

So twenty years (just under by 2 or 3) later, it’s my third time back to SoHo to find some changes. There are no drug dealers. At least not in broad daylight. The thieves are more cautious nowadays. I think you need to be completely smashed for someone to be able to get away with robbery as there are so many cameras. It was winter of 2012, when I left the formal ball at Hult International Business School. I was wearing a Black Westwood Tux, with flamboyant 18K Gold rings. I should have known to hop in a cab. I was literally a few blocks from the tube when I left. If I walked briskly I could make the last train around midnight. At the entrance to the tube, I reached in to my pocket for my wallet, when I was punched in the back of the head. It did not hurt. I think I was too drunk. I only had a small change purse, with a credit card, my Oyster (tube) card, ID, and about 10 quid. They tried to steal it thinking it had money in it. I was in the process of getting the tube card out, but had the credit card in my fingers. The three guys pummelled me, trying to get the wallet, which was useless to them, while I managed to hold on to the credit card. I had three pieces of a card, in my hand while I swung back and started yelling. People noticed and the thieves ran. The tube was closed now, and I tried about eight cabs who would not take my three pieces of credit card. My head was spinning, and I barely got home safe. It’s a gay neighbourhood, so there are tons of straight guys who want to take advantage of their homosexual admirers. Do not dress wealthy late at night, under the influence and expect to be safe traveling via tube.

Old Compton Street is pretty fun, I must admit. There is the infamous G-A-Y bar with all it’s prissy boys, some broke chavs, and older horny blokes that chase them around the club. The music is very Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, and over the top Pop. I can do a drink there before I want to leave. There are lots of pubs there Compton’s of SoHo, Village, and the Admiral Duncan (where a nail bomb set-off by a Neo-Nazi killed 3 and injured 12). There are several sex shops like CloneZone, SoHo Original Books, and Janus. At the end of the block, there are live female sex shops. One night I stumbled in for a drink, and got a striptease from a Japanese dancer. It was pretty fun, but not worth the money. I like this neighbourhood, because it is centrally located, minutes from City, near Camden and all the neighbourhoods. I live 5 minutes away. It’s in the centre of the city if that makes a difference. I’m a city boy, always staying around the heart of the metropolis. My favourite place here is Costa Coffee where I sit outside, people watching reading on my iPad for hours.

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