The other day I ventured around the back of Trafalgar Square. Starting at the third plinth (Powerless Structures, Fig. 101) I walked through the alleyway down the side of the National Gallery and wound my way into Orange Street. On the corner you have the Westminster reference library. A great place to find info but not a good one if you want to nod off for an hour. For that sort of thing try Charing Cross Library around the corner where they only patrol the ever decreasing seats upstairs once an hour. Snoring optional.
Down from the reference library is the Orange Street Congregational Church, well old school. My favourite thing about the church is the handwritten sign on the noticeboard which reminds me of the ramblings on the badly hand-made posters which used to appear by the Goose Green Shops in East Dulwich on a irregular basis. One that was typical of the madness featured two pictures, one of Tony Blair and a tennis ball (both badly cut out of newspapers) with the headline “Both to blame for the gulf war!” Bonkers!
There’s an alley, Longs Court WC2, beside the church that looks like a cul de sac but follow it round passing the Newton Institute which leads you on the way to Leicester Square. There’s another church across the square on Leicester Place, WC2 (Notre Dame de France) which had a church hall (now the Leicester Square Theatre) and featured there, the first gig of Sid Vicious on bass for the Sex Pistols alongside many other gigs and clubs. Great eh?
Turning into Little Newport Street after walking down Lisle street and you’ll find one of my favourite shops, Shaolin Way.
The shop is a bit different now what with them having a stall inside selling mobile phones but previously they used to have their doors open all the time, weapons all over the walls, the till on view for all the see and no-one serving. Wonder why nothing was ever nicked, anything to do with the owner being a Grandmaster perhaps?
Their shop window also features what I think is a modern day version of “You don’t have to be mad to work here” type sign. Brilliant! P