Thursday, July 16, 2020
Garbo and Crisco
I've been hanging around the house and our immediate neighborhood for weeks, and although I am always happy to spend time beneath the susurrant* trees of our garden, occasionally I need to remind myself that I live in London. So yesterday I took a long walk down to Soho.
I tried to follow a slightly different route than the one I took in early May when I photographed the emptiness of our streets during the height of the lockdown. I passed through a housing estate in Camden that was full of amazing street art and murals, like this blue tit by the artist Aspire.
But I still wound up walking through Camden Town, where I found some crosswalks painted in rainbow colors. At first I thought it was for LGBTQ Pride, but then I realized it's probably part of the rainbow NHS tribute phenomenon. In any case, this is the closest I'll get to celebrating Pride this year.
I made my way through Holborn and Covent Garden, past grand colonial-era edifices like the one above, Africa House, a historically listed building from 1920-22.
On Old Compton Street, I paused for lunch. The restaurant had an interesting coronavirus-inspired drink menu. Talk about making lemonade from lemons! I had to look up Muriel Belcher -- apparently she was a legendary Soho club owner and artistic muse in days of yore. In any case, I passed on her face mask and had coffee instead.
As I ate, I watched a couple have a loud argument in the street. "How much money did you give her?" a woman, wearing impossibly tight jeans, yelled at a man lazily brandishing a smoking doobie. "You're having sex with her, aren't you?!"
Street life is never boring in Soho.
And then, as I was finishing my meal, I saw a colorful neighborhood character wander by:
I'm sure you don't remember, but I've photographed this woman before. I caught up with her and asked her if I could take her picture, and she agreed, but not before pointedly telling me to step back and maintain my distance. (I was so intent on getting her picture, I probably was a little too close.)
Her name is Garbo, or so she said. And her dog is Sadie.
An aside, now: Dave and I were talking just the other day about how we can't find Crisco in grocery stores here. Dave wanted some to make a pie crust. Well, after photographing Garbo, I wandered over to Prowler, which is a gay-themed store selling books and fetish wear and gifts and other stuff. And what did they have on the shelf? Crisco! I will leave it to your imagination why that was the case, but at any rate, I bought a can. Now Dave can make a pie crust!
From there I headed toward home, happy to have finally gotten some exercise and reconnected with the city.
*In a comment to another blogger, I pledged to use this word in my blog post today!