My Soho Times spring 2020

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SPRING 2020 | #2 | FREE

In this issue:

Soho Female Founders, Generate An Income During Lockdown, An Influencer's Soho, Westend Escapes MANTHE PENTON HARRAP Stylist

Share your pics with us - tag @mysohotimes #MySohoTimes


editor's note step into Spring

Better an 'oops' moment, than a 'What if'... I saw this message on a cocktail shared in an Instagram post and thought - "I'll drink to that!" We've faced many 'oops' moments since our launch last winter, but the fact that we're here with our spring issue speaks for itself! Spring is an opportunity to blossom - and that's our intention! For this issue we set out to spotlight some of Soho’s Female Founders - the women holding their own in leadership positions in what can still be a man's world. Influencers are the craze of the decade - we reached out to a few of our favourites to share their recommendations for An Influencer's Guide to Soho. And for those looking for some escapism in W1, the London Lifestyle Awards founder shares his favourites! As we go to print, we are in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic leaving businesses and residents anxious about the future. As a small independent start-up, we too feel the weight of uncertainty. That said, Soho has a legacy of facing epidemics and coming out stronger - we will get through this TOGETHER! Please look out for each other, especially for elder and less abled residents who are most at risk. For those struggling to come to terms with being isolated at home, we've included a last minute addition - a small business guide to generate extra income, curated by YRS TRULY founder. Keep supporting your local independent businesses via their online resource. My Soho Times can be used as a vehicle to bring the community together. Please talk to us about ways we can share your stories and special discounted rates for promos. Stay safe and remember - an act of kindness goes a long way! Spring awaits ... Welcome to issue #2 of My Soho Times.

Photo: Barima Owusu-Nyantekyi

The Soho Girl x

Editor's Picks for Spring



Now is as good a time as ever to look after yourself from the inside. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can strengthen your body’s natural defences. Keep your immune system going strong with plenty of fresh citrus fruit.

Music, dance, humour - plan for better days with your favourite theatrical elements all rolled into one! Whether it's at your local pub, or at the legendary Bloomsbury Ballroom - a cabaret show is a guaranteed fun night out!

Kai Lutterodt Editor in Chief IG: @the.soho.girl

SELF-CARE Putting yourself first shouldn't seem like a selfish act. Make your wellbeing - both mental and physical, a priority this season with 'self-care' days. This could be by dusting off that yoga mat in the cupboard, or running yourself a relaxing bath... MY SOHO TIMES


Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do The UK Government advises that the single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why these measures have been introduced:

Stay at home

Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)

Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds as soon as you get home These measures came into effect on Monday 23 March. The Government will look again at these measures after three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

For more info visit: WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK



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32 45


What's inside? 7 People of Soho

Local residents and old Soho hands share their views on life during the current COVID-19 crisis. Community will prevail.


21 The Perfect Makeup Match It's all about the achieving flawless skin tones. Sara Menitra reveals all to MST readers.


36 An Influencer's Guide to Soho Let the expert influencers guide you around a perfect day in Soho. The lockdown won't be forever... ,

12 A small business guide 24 Mums for Soho Parish to generating an income School during lockdown Soho and school.... not usually two Wondering how to keep afloat financially during the current troubled times? MJ Widomska offers some welcome advice.

43 Westend Escapes Founder of the London Lifestyle awards shares his picks on the best venues in W1 to escape to... You might want to start planning your post COVID-19 ventures from now.

words you usually find in the same sentence. The mums tell all.

25 Soho Female Founders

19 The Legacy of WW2 The past reached out to the present in February when a WW2 UXB caused a mass evacuation of the area. Learn what occurred here.

Meet Soho's female entrepreneurs, These ladies are not just for International Women's Day, they have Soho sewn up all year!

46 Vanity Von Glow The Diva's Diva - Vanity Von Glow settles down for just a moment to concentrate on our Q & A sesh.


Senior Editor: Gillian Smith Contributors: Ivo Belohoubek| Dr Freda Adu | Gareth Lewis | Tony Shrimplin | Jason Gale | Kesh Wang | Kiran Selvakumaran | Sara Menitra | Rebecca Taylor | Beverly Elie | Cover photo: Scott Collier For opportunities to contribute articles and reviews please email MY SOHO TIMES


People of Soho Live. Work. Play

Community spirit is what keeps Soho going...

George Skeggs aka Soho George "I have always been community orientated and have been involved in local community associations. One founded years back was the Covent Garden Community Association, which was formed to protect the interests of the local community, they still do a stirling job. I love to engage with the many people l encounter on my sojourns around the area on a day to day basis. I can talk non-stop on many subjects, sprinkling them with a bit of banter - mainly when I'm on Berwick Street Market. Two favourite hot spots for me are Bar Italia (which has a great history all of its own) and a more recent independent interloper ,My Place, which l frequent every day." MY SOHO TIMES


Rebecca Taylor "Viruses have been known and feared throughout the course of human history. Within our village we have always stood strong. The fierce independence of our community in Soho will prove we still have the courage to soldier on as a pocket of independence in a difficult time."

Lanre Olagoke

Beverly Elie

"I have lived in Soho for over 31 years. Back then, I remember when you walked along Berwick Street, you would be rubbing shoulders with many shoppers and customers. I soon became familiar with the community spirit that our Soho is known for. Coronavirus and community spirit? Everyone has been impacted emotionally, with the loss of businesses or even loved ones. Community spirit, there really hasn't been enough of that here in in my block for over 20 years. But a neighbour took a shopping order and dropped it outside my door, lovely Annita cooked lentil soup and a friend living five minutes away offered their help as long they were able to. The miscommunication from the government has lead to me thinking of that saying: the fittest will survive."

"For decades I've worked collaboratively with other community organisations to support young people through Arts Alive Trust. I'm currently working with Nicolle Joy (founder of LEGACY ) to help support young people suffering with mental health issues due to trauma and pressures of current youth culture, via the Arts. Now more than ever we need to band together as a community, as the impact on mental health will be disproportionate. All health care givers, community organisations, business and other organisations need to work hand in hand to combat the fallout from COVID-19. Together we will get through this."

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These Independent businesses have remained *open during the COVID-19 pandemic to serve the our community!

L-R: AMATHUS (113-117 Wardour Street), Soho Dairy (Berwick Street Market), Hobson's Fish & Chips (27 St Anne's Ct) Cookhouse Joe (55 Berwick Street), Watson's Pharmacy (temporarily at 72 Charing Cross Road), Rippon News (88 Dean Street), Co & Ko (72 Berwick Street), Bagel Bakery Bar (54 Wardour Street), I Camisa & Son (61 Old Compton Street)

*Take away only. Restrictions apply.

Photos by Kai Lutterodt



A SMALL BUSINESS GUIDE TO GENERATING EXTRA INCOME Worried about your business? Every industry will feel the effects of this pandemic and the economic upheaval it is causing. MJ Widomska - founder of creative studio YRS TRULY - shares a guide to generating extra income during the lockdown. It’s safe to say that no-one is safe... But, we won’t go down without a fight. Independent businesses can (and should) employ new tactics to generate some side earnings and diversify their income streams for the future. Having spent most of my self-isolation so far researching how my favourite small businesses are dealing with the situation, I’ve decided to create a list of different approaches to getting through this financial slump. Part One of this article will focus on making an extra income for yourself and your business. Part Two will discuss various ways in which businesses might seek help from their customers. Not everything on this list will be the right fit for your specific industry and audience, but I hope some of these examples will prove helpful. And remember — if you have the means, support small businesses and freelancers.

Part One: Generating extra income While you’re wondering how to save your business, hundreds of thousands of people are holed up in their homes wishing they had your specific skillset. You can translate your knowledge and passion into a potential revenue stream. So, no matter what that is: a tried and tested way of making fake meat that would fool anyone, running a bar in Berlin, speaking Catalan, sewing really cool-looking sock puppets, music theory — someone’s dying to learn all about it. And, all you need is a phone or a laptop. Here are a couple of helpful services to get you started: Superprof - online one-on-one tutoring Skillshare - subscription-based learning platform Udemy - sell your courses for a fixed price If your skillset is too niche (or not niche enough) to attract a reasonable audience on any of these services, there are other ways to monetise your skills and your products. However hard I try, I can’t imagine a business that couldn’t conjure up something to sell online. Any local restaurant could sell one of their signature recipes online, which their patrons could then download for a small donation. If you’re ready to consider online shopping, here are a few services that will allow you to do so easily: Shopify — e-commerce-first website builder Squarespace — versatile website builder


Live stream for donations Live streaming is not for everyone, obviously. But, if you’re a make-up artist, a yoga teacher or a freelance developer, you may find an audience willing to engage with you. And, what’s great — Twitch and Mixer support donations, which means your supporters can show their appreciation for your business in real-time, as you’re streaming. You can also approach live streaming differently. Why not hold online, ticketed classes via Zoom, Google Hangouts or Houseparty? You could charge for the tickets directly through your website or even Paypal. If you’re looking for a wider audience, Eventbrite could be helpful.

Want all the benefits of selling stuff without setting up your own website and building an audience? Fair enough. Here’s what you can try: Kindle Direct Publishing — get your ebooks on Amazon Etsy — physical and digital crafts Depop — independent fashion Deliveroo / Uber Eats — for hospitality businesses This may seem like a no brainer for food businesses that are allowed to serve takeout only under the lockdown rules. Consider adding menu items that could be purchased by customers who want to support you: perhaps a tiny bottle of your signature sauce? Or, a voucher for a coffee or a beer once the lockdown is over? If there’s one thing we all crave while locked down in our flats, it’s good content. If you have ever considered translating your passion into videos, blog posts or live streams, now is a perfect time. Medium — get paid to write Medium is a blogging platform that allows you to monetise your writing. Anyone can join their partner program, and as long as you’re comfortable writing a couple of articles a week, you should be on your way to some semi-decent earnings. Patreon — create content powered by small monthly donations Patreon is a platform that allows your audience to support you with a low monthly donation and in exchange gain access to exclusive paywalled content.

Donations The easiest way to get help is to ask for donations — especially in time-sensitive circumstances. Services like GoFundMe allow you to set up an online donation box in minutes, and plenty of businesses have already chosen that route. Donations could provide a lifeline to your business and cover the most pressing expenses. However, we live in uncertain times. If your business relies on foot traffic it could be months before things get better. So, if you want to make sure your customers do come back after it’s all over, you may want to try vouchers instead. Vouchers and discounts If you have the means, you can offer your customers vouchers and discounts to redeem in the future. That could be a free gym class, a meal, drink, in-store discount for retail businesses, and so much more — pretty much limited to your creativity. It’s a great option for anyone who wants to encourage their customers to come back as soon as they can. Additionally, as financial uncertainty looms over all of us, it’s easier to justify spending £25 on a voucher than on a donation. Ask the government Lastly, make sure to exhaust all COVID-19 help measures available to your business. As things change rapidly, keep checking the relevant .gov page here (if you’re in the UK). As of March 22nd, some of the assistance available includes a job retention scheme, tax payment deference, business rates holidays, various grants and more. Most importantly, remember you’re not alone. Small businesses all around the world have been shaken to the core by the Coronavirus crisis, and many are uncertain of their future. If you have the means yourself or work for a large organisation, consider supporting independent entrepreneurs online.

Written by MJ Widomska - founder of creative studio YRS TRULY | IG:





Soho's Urban Biodiversity By Dr Luke Dixon It’s around 500 years since the cry of ‘SoHo’ first rang out across this part of London as huntsmen on horseback pursued foxes across the fields. The hunters may have gone, but the foxes are back, bedding down in the gardens of St.Anne’s Church and wandering the streets with an air of urban entitlement in the evenings. They may be the most striking wild creatures to live in Soho, but they aren’t alone. In recent years the bird population has flourished with great tits, wood pigeons, goldfinches, and a host of others now nesting in trees and on rooftops. We have our squares and hidden gardens, but it is the greening of Soho’s rooftops that has played a big part in this increasingly rich bio-diversity. Many roofs are now resplendent with vegetation and if you climb across them as often as I do, you will be astonished at just how green Soho is. A vital but more or less overlooked component of the area’s wildlife is pollination. Soho’s secret beehives are an important part of the area’s wildlife. I have been managing colonies of bees in Soho for fifteen years, initially on the Hearst Magazine building on Broadwick Street, and now on Carnaby and Ganton Street. The bees pollinate the many plants and trees and produce the best honey money can buy. So diverse and pesticide-free is the flora, with flowers in bloom throughout the year, that the bees are always busy and their honey wonderfully complex in taste and texture. Even so, it takes the nectar of four million flowers to produce just one kilo of honey.

SAVE THE BEES 1. Plant something for them to forage on; even if it's just some lavender on your windowsill. 2. Buy local honey: it supports the bees and the beekeepers. 3, Leave some water for them to drink, the birds will be grateful too. 4. Check out the website www.thebeefriendlytrust. org for lots more information.

Sometimes they swarm. We had a spectacular swarm on Carnaby Street last summer which found a temporary home on the lamp outside the Shakespeare’s Head. It was soon collected and rehoused, but not before it had attracted the attention of plenty of tourists. But mostly the hundreds of thousands of bees in Soho are unseen and unheard. Find out more at MY SOHO TIMES


Did You Know?... John Snow The John Snow water pump sits innocuously on Broadwick Street today, but not many people know of its sinister past and that it was the source of a deadly cholera epidemic in the area during 1854. Dr John Snow, an Anaesthetist and pioneer in Epidemiology had long postulated that cholera was spread through an infected water supply. What he did next was evidence-based medicine at its finest. The doctor lived on Frith Street, which placed him in an ideal location to witness first-hand the effects of cholera on his neighbours. He’d noticed that a coffee shop employee had served glasses of water from the Broad Street pump and subsequently nine of those individuals contracted cholera. A little research amongst other residents proved that those without the disease hadn’t used the Broadwick Street pump, narrowing down the source and enabling the authorities to act. Today the pump stands as a reminder of the lives saved by Dr John Snow... just outside the John Snow pub, where you can grab a pint (or a clean glass of water!) as you read this. Written by Dr Freda Adu | @Frediva

50% off for MST readers


THE LEGACY OF WWII IN SOHO In a busy city you might expect the odd interruption to your day… closed roads, signal failure on the tube, even the odd power outage. What might take you by surprise though, is the sudden discovery of an unexploded bomb in the heart of London. It wasn't just Soho businesses that faced evacuation, residents and visitors alike found themselves making a speedy exit from the area around Dean Street, not once but twice in a week due to the discovery of an unexploded World War II bomb. Tony Shrimplin of The Museum of Soho shares insights on the legacy of WWII in Soho.

In February 2020 a large, 500kg, WWII UXB (UneXploded Bomb) was discovered by construction workers in Richmond Buildings off Dean St. The Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) team were called out and the bomb, which had broken up into two parts, was safely removed from the area and detonated.

Bomb disposal teams deal with around 60 German WWII bombs a year. Fortunately, occurrences like this are rare in Soho. Most of the bombs that were dropped on London during WWII were between 50kg - 250kg , whilst the larger ones, 500kg-1000kg, fell during the later stages of the war. It is estimated (IWM) that more than 12,000 metric tons of bombs were dropped on London and nearly 30,000 civilians were killed by enemy action. These weren't just explosive ordnance but also secondary, incendiary devices designed to lower the moral of Londoners and drain manpower. On the 11th of May 1941 at 3.47am, a high explosive device hit the junction of Old Compton Street and Dean Street. 59 and 60 Dean Street were destroyed, including the original Patisserie Valerie. The landscape of Soho changed forever.

There were over 40 people trapped in the debris of the demolished buildings and 15 fatalities, but the total number of casualties is unknown. This year's UXB discovery is a timely reminder that history is never far away and the ripples of WWII and the Blitz affect us to this day. To learn more about Soho and the West End during WWII and read firsthand accounts from the people who lived through this period, visit: West End At War. All bombing incident in Westminster during World War II is marked on the Westminster Bomb Map. Westminster City Archives has detailed reports of each incident located on the map and photographs of the damage which resulted. No other local archive has such an extensive collection.

The Museum of Soho MY SOHO TIMES


London in Lockdown Photos by @LondonBeautifulLife WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK

41 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 5LW


Model + Musician: Shingai Photographer: George Okello Makeup: Sara Menitra

The Perfect Makeup Match... Whether it's someone with dark or medium skin tone, pale and freckled or with vitiligo that sits in my chair, they all have something in common. The inability to find a perfect match. The match we’re talking about relates to skin tone and foundation. Approximately seven in every ten people gracing my chair will reflect on an uncomfortable experience when a makeup artist is aiming to match their skin tone For a makeup artist it’s not the years of experience that matter most, but the attitude and awareness of the person that sits in the chair in front of them. As I learn more about the needs of the sitter, I create an ongoing authorship that includes the removal of assumption when considering foundations. The need to observe and then test is imperative to my practice. My process is conscious… I call it “Naive”, as if I am always doing makeup for the first time and not from memory. For many, applying foundation for themselves before seeing a makeup artist on a shoot day is very common. Be it an actor, model or performer, hearing a sigh when I explain that I have to remove their makeup, will usually be followed by relief once they understand my knowledge of skin and my range of foundations.

Once I'm half way through applying foundation you begin to see the comprehension dawn on their faces. Their prior experiences of incorrect skin tones that are too light or dark become distant memories. Sessions will often end with clients noting down details and taking pictures of the foundations I’ve used on them for ongoing use. Today there are multiple make-up brands that take account of the vast array of peoples's skin tones. My favourites are Illamasqua and Lancome. There's still a serious discourse that needs to happen around inclusivity, not only for darker skin shades but also people with freckles, vitiligo, scars and more. In the end the role of the makeup artist is meant to empower the person in the chair and not the opposite. Sara Menitra is an award-winning makeup artist from Lisbon, living in London | @saramenitramakeup SOHO MASTERCLASSES: 7th June Self-Makeup (Dewey & Flawless) 14th June Self-Makeup (Eyes Makeup) 21st June Show The Beauty Within (for Makeup Artists) For more info visit: MY SOHO TIMES



NAIL NAIL IT! IT! BEAUTY BOX NAIL BAR For your full range of beauty needs! Nails, brows, semi-permanent makeup, micro pigmentation and hair removal services offered using Lycon hot wax or threading. 45 Brewer St, Soho, W1F 9UE 020 3602 8383

LE LOTUS Just off Oxford Circus, Le Lotus is a one-stop nail salon offering a full range of nail extension services from Acrylic with Shellac/OPI, SNS dipping powder to the hottest trends like Ombre, White-tips 51 Great Portland St, W1W 7LF 020 8616 9890

Nail Confidence The simple task of getting a little paint and polish on your nails can totally transform the way you think and feel about yourself daily! Our hands say so much about us. Think back to to last time you had chipped nails or dry cuticles... How did it make you feel at that important meeting or reaching for your wine glass on a first date?! If hiding your fingertips is too often an unwanted gesture, the fastest way to boost your confidence levels is to book an appointment at a nail bar and walk out with beautiful glossed healthy-looking nails. Having your nails looking good enhances positive thoughts and boosts self-esteem. It's a form of self-care... so pamper yourself! Trying something new with your nails can make you feel like a different person... go for a splash or colour, nail art or keep it classic with a French manicure! Here are a few of our selected nail bars in and around Soho!

THE LONDON SALON SOHO Relax in the hands of our professional senior stylists and therapists and let yourself drift away from the daily grind of work. 5 Carlisle St, Soho, W1D 3BJ 020 7494 4444

TOWNHOUSE TOWNHOUSE redefines the nail salon experience. We’ve thrown away the rulebook and created something truly impeccable: beautiful surroundings, elegant nail art, outstanding hygiene standards and flawless customer service. 88 Great Portland St, W1W 7NS 020 8054 7378




2 D'ARBLAY ST, SOHO, LONDON W1F 8DQ 020 7439 0666




Yes, Soho does have a primary school. And it's vulnerable.

Soho Parish School is a lifeline for many working class families in and around the area. Due to limited space in the old Victorian building, pupil numbers are small, which means the school is poorly funded. In addition, they face further Government cuts. Without financial support from fundraising activities organised by the school and Parent Teacher Association (PTA) - Soho Food Feast, for example now in its 10th year, is a major contributor - the school would be in a critical state. PTA mum Sandra told us: “We have to decide - do we give the children fresh fruit, or do we give them stationary? Those are some of the decisions the PTA have to make due to cuts." The mums of the PTA urge more local businesses will play a part in Soho’s fantastic community spirit by donating money to the school to help build the next generation!

You can donate to the PTA by using this link: WWW.WWW.SOHOPARISHPTA.COM

10th Soho Food Feast

Bringing the community together to support Soho Parish School WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK

SOHO FEMALE FOUNDERS In what might still be considered a man's world, we're tipping the scales in the other direction to spotlight 10 women with strong ties to Soho who've started their own businesses or are in leadership roles...

Kai Lutterodt, My Soho Times Founder & Editor Photo: Rebecca Taylor MY SOHO TIMES


MANTHE PENTON HARRAP STYLIST AND IMAGE CONSULTANT What’s your connection to Soho? I lived at 74 Wardour Street. From my windows I looked down on the jamboree of life on Wardour St, Meard St and into Peter St and Berwick St... an electric vibe! I loved my time in Soho. Now I'm in a bigger place on the edge of Hyde Park, but I still float in and out of the area regularly. What made you want to start your own business? The love of dressing and wanting to see others succeed. I trained three years ago at The House of Colour as a Colour and Style Consultant, it includes expertise on make-up and accessories. I enable my clients to find their own hidden inner confidence, and carry that into every meeting and area of their lives. What advice would you give to your younger self? Own one’s failures, don’t look back. Do not wait for perfection. The best results will come after hanging in there, no matter how long.

"One should add a bit of sparkle to the world." - Manthe Penton Harrap SARAH HOLLEBON FASHION DESIGNER What made you want to start your own business? A year ago, I realised in order to move my goals and aspirations in the fashion industry forward, I would use my talent to create positive change in this world through my work. Designing and making garments is what feeds my soul, I am happiest when I am immersed in these areas. I feel my garments ‘speak’ volumes and convey an important visual message, rather than just being a pretty piece of clothing on the rail to buy. What advice would you give another women wanting to start a business or become self-employed? Starting a fashion brand is both creative and a business. Striking your own balance between the two is vital. On a weekly basis, check your cash flow and reflect on your time management. Follow your dreams and be open minded. What advice would you give to your younger self? Meditate more - meditating is healthy for your mind, body, and soul.

Read the full interviews on our blog. Search Soho Female Founders WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK


Soho Female Founders

What led up to you co-founding the King of Gin with Howard Raymond? It was not long after the death of Howard’s father, the original ‘King of Soho’, Paul Raymond - we thought what better way to celebrate his life and Soho legacy than to create a drinks brand in his name? I come from a long line of female entrepreneurs; women in my family have never been afraid of a challenge. Have there been particular challenges as a woman? I enjoy the drinks industry and have personally found people to be welcoming and supportive. But it is like any sector, you will come across bias or inequality of all kinds. Call it out, but do not let other people’s issues sidetrack. I am someone who likes to focus on the positives. What advice would you give your younger self? Business is a journey and it is important to stay dynamic; there is no substitute for hard work, selfeducation and focus.

"Women in my family have never been afraid of a challenge." - Alex Robson

LYDIA JOHNSON THE LONDON CLINIC OF HYPNOTHERAPY, FOUNDER What's your connection to Soho? Soho was always on the horizon, a little way off the Harley Street beaten track. Having left London for a good few years to live in Cornwall, I came back with a fresh zeal and vigour. I still leave at the weekend but cannot wait to get back to the throbbing heart beat of Soho... it has changed, but London has been changing for centuries, after all. What made you decide to start your own business? I feel passionately about hypnotherapy and all its attributes. By running my own business, I can be in charge of helping people. I like to make it accessible to everyone. It plugs into my core values and if you can be paid to help people, there is no better feeling.

Read the full interviews on our blog. Search Soho Female Founders

What advice would you give to your younger self? Get to a hypnotherapist as soon as possible, it seriously changed my life after the first session. Be honest and kind - two consistencies that will go far... and step into your confidence. MY SOHO TIMES


NICKY SARGENT FARM GROUP, CO-FOUNDER You have a majority-female board. Have you always liked working with women? We took the best people and a lot of them happened to be women. Now you’re seeing whole production teams and a lot of companies that are run by women. So for people with talent in the field, it’s a really strong time for them. Is it still a fun industry to work in? It still attracts really keen, young, talented people and it’s always great hanging out with them. I hope you can pick up there’s a nice happy vibe here. The Farm has its own film festival with proper prizes and great judges. We’ve got more talent in our kitchens than most companies have in their boardrooms. What advice would you give your younger self? Drink less! And be kind…


"We’ve got more talent in our kitchens than most companies have in their boardrooms." - Nicky Sargent

Why did you decide to strike out on your own and co-found a company back in 1998? We’d had so many changes of management and it just became inevitable. We thought we’d try and be masters of our own destiny. At that age you’re fearless and feel you can take on the world and I don’t think we ever had any doubt that we’d achieve it. Did you ever consider locating your start-up outside the area (Soho)? No, it never entered our heads. You had to be in Soho. People wouldn’t cross the road to Fitzrovia. It’s the best place to work… and we don’t like to be too far from Liberty’s! How has your industry changed over the years? It’s changed quite a bit. There’s more remote working now but a lot of the skills are the same, it’s just data not film now. We’ve always worked across all the genres scripted, non-scripted, comedy, drama, documentaries and shiny floor shows.

Read the full interviews on our blog. Search Soho Female Founders WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK

Soho Female Founders FREYA AITKEN-TURFF CHINA EXCHANGE, CEO What led up to you becoming the first CEO of China Exchange? The path that led me here involved international public policy and communications roles for financial services companies, running a small business for a Chinese family who didn’t speak English in Shanghai and a lifelong fascination with China. Before I took this job, my career felt like an eclectic mix – China Exchange ties all those experiences together into my dream job.

"Understand, research, seek advice and be assertive." - Mira Manek

Have you any thoughts on how to get more women in senior roles? Systemically, industries need to look at how people get to senior roles. What path is typically taken and why are there few women reaching those roles? On a more human level, I think that encouraging women to trust their own voices, experiences and ambitions is a powerful way to remind us that we can make great things happen. I do this with my team, our volunteers and interns and with my friends. What advice would you give to your younger self? One “no” doesn’t mean “no” forever. Keep asking. Keep trying.

MIRA MANEK CHAI BY MIRA, FOUNDER What made you want to start your own business? My route to wellness started with realising that I was trying to be healthy but had actually lost my common sense when it came to health! I started learning and eating the food that I had grown up eating, the food that my mother and grandmother have cooked since I was young. I started experimenting and coming up with my own trousseau of recipes, holding supper clubs, writing a cookbook and then launching my café. What’s your connection to Soho? I have a few favourite areas, and one of them has to be Soho! It’s such a vibrant and diverse area with a rich history and ever evolving. I also lived in Soho recently. I absolutely love having a café in the heart of this energetic space, a little tucked away too, so there’s an element of quiet and zen. What advice would you give another women wanting to start a business? Understand, research, seek advice and be assertive. Speak to others who have businesses in the same field. Find a niche. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

Read the full interviews on our blog. Search Soho Female Founders MY SOHO TIMES


LOUISE RITCHIE SOHO PARISH PRIMARY SCHOOL, HEAD TEACHER What’s your connection to Soho? I came to Soho Parish in 2004 in answer to an advert for the Deputy Headteacher post. I had never even been out in Soho at that time and thought it sounded very glamorous. When I arrived at the school to find girls dressed in PVC on either side of the school gates, calling to men on the street, I was somewhat taken aback! What lead to you becoming the Head Teacher of Soho Parish Soho? When I'd had my last baby (I have three children, aged 10, 8 and 5) and the Headship came up, it was an easy decision to apply. Like many staff, I very quickly 'fell in love' with Soho Parish. The Soho community is extraordinary. It sounds such a cliche but I was delighted to find a village in the centre of the city, where everyone knows everyone. What advice would you give to your younger self? The child who's giving you sleepless nights right now, because they're having a tough time and taking it out on the people closest to them, is going to turn up one day as an assured, successful adult and tell you that you were his/her favourite teacher and you made a difference. It's worth it!

"Love what you do, build your network and don't delay taking action." - Justina Matulevičiūtė

JUSTINA MATULEVIČIŪTĖ JM COMMUNICATIONS, FOUNDER What’s your connection to Soho? Oscar Wilde once said ‘Oh, I love London Society! It is entirely composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics. Just what society should be.’ - and I could not find a better description for Soho. Since the day I came to London about seven years ago, I absolutely fell in love with it and always knew it is my place to be. What are the advantages or disadvantages of being a woman in your industry? Women are naturally great communicators and nurturers so marketing and hospitality businesses are a wonderful fit. I think the biggest disadvantage is that both fields are still very male driven but I've enjoyed seeing the changes in recent years.

Read the full interviews on our blog. Search Soho Female Founders

What advice would you give another woman wanting to start a business or become self-employed? Love what you do, build your network and don't delay taking action. It's much easier to work 14 hours a day when you enjoy what you do. Having a support circle of likeminded people will not only keep you motivated, it will also help open doors and achieve your goals. It probably will never feel like you have everything sorted and ready, so once you have a plan start taking action immediately and figure it out as you go. Learn from mistakes and don't forget to celebrate victories, even if they seem like small ones. WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK

Did You Know?... Soho Women in History Soho has always been on the cutting edge, so it's no surprise it's female residents have made their mark. Mary Seacole lived here after she returned from the Crimean War in 1857. A British-Jamaican nurse, herbalist and businesswoman, her services were refused by the War Office. Heading out to the Russian front anyway she set up a hotel for sick and convalescent officers. Move over a bit, Florence Nightingale. Celebrated Swiss-born painter Angelica Kauffman, one of only two female founding members of the Royal Academy, was a resident in the 1760s. Here she fell for the dubious charms of fraudster Count Frederick de Hom, making an unfortunate marriage. Her career recovered after their separation. Not the first Soho lady to be taken in by false promises. Eighteenth century opera singer and entrepreneur Theresa Cornelys also made her mark on Soho. A rackety life included a daughter by Casanova and the establishment of the ultimate party venue at Carlisle House... If only those walls could talk It's rare to spot a female Black Cabbie, so when we met Jo Adlam, I took the opportunity of finding out how how she got started and how more women can be encouraged to get behind the Black Taxi wheel. Let's go for a ride with Jo... I’ve been doing this for 17 years nearly. My ex-husband was a taxi driver and told me I should do the suburbs 'cause I’d smash it! And my son’s a green all-London taxi driver, plus I’ve got cousins who are all London taxi drivers. I actually enjoyed the Knowledge test because it’s a challenge and I like maps. It was easy for me, but I was nervous when I had to go for my appearance - the verbal test. You’re asked to pick up from one place and drop off at another using the straightest route. It took me about 18 months to do the suburbs. The whole of London can take about three years. Sometimes people are quite surprised to see a lady driver. I get guys coming up to the window and they go ‘alright mate!’ then they go ‘oops, sorry it’s a lady.’ But normally they enjoy seeing a lady taxi driver and women like it because they feel safe. But I always say to them, you’re safe in any London taxi. Greenwich is my favourite part of London, especially in the summer. It’s got so much history... If you’re thinking of taking the Knowledge test I’d say go for it! You have to be in a certain mind to do it; you have to be confident and strong to cope with the different people tyou come across, especially if you’re doing night work. It’s very flexible hours, you can do as many shifts as you like - you can go home and come back later... which I’m doing tonight! Support our work by using a London Licenced Black Taxi they’re the best in the world!


Written by Kai Lutterodt | @the.soho.girl Photo by Ivo Belohoubek | @dogoodfilmsworldwide MY SOHO TIMES


Words and photo by Ivo Belohoubek @dogoodfilmsworldwide WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK

Get your

Coffee Fix BAR ITALIA BEST FOR: PEOPLE WATCHING You could be excused for thinking you were in Italy - it has the look of a classic Italian cafe. With a long and rich history in Soho, Bar Italia is a community gem.

MY PLACE SOHO BEST FOR: BRUNCH A perfect spot for the best brunch in Soho - top it all up with their signature Espresso Martini The name speaks for itself! It's fast becoming the local's hotspot. ALGERIAN COFFEE STORES BEST FOR: CONNOISSEURS This gem of a shop boasts a huge variety of coffees, freshly roasted and ground each day. A feast for all the senses. You can still get the best value expresso at just £1 a pop!

FLAT WHITE BEST FOR: FLAT WHITE A damn good flat white for those with a nostalgia for antipodean artisanal coffee of Australian and New Zealand cafes. So come and 'smash back a couple of flatties bro!' HIDEAWAY BEST FOR: PEACE AND QUIET An oasis of tranquillity, great coffee and fresh banana cake tucked away from Soho’s relentless hustle and bustle. Head to Smith's Court...




TRAILLED TRAILLED AND AND TASTED! TASTED! Written by Kesh Wang | @keshgot212

Build your buns - Tori Kara Age

Grab a steamed bun and fill it with crispy panko-coated teriyaki chicken, add slaw and smother it with sriracha mayonnaise. Sounds good? It is. The chicken is succulent on the inside as you bite into the crunchy fried exterior. The sourness of the slaw and spiciness of mayonnaise on top of the bun add extra flavour and freshness to the ingredients, creating a delicious and fun dish to have as a side order or a main.

Pulled Lamb Mokutan Soba

Lambs, bok choi, noodles and mint? It may sound like an unusual combination but Wagamama have made sure this dish will defy your expectations. Ponzu dressed lamb is cooked deliciously and paired with bok choi, mangetout, red and spring onions, ginger and fresh mint. The vigour of the mint and zinginess of ginger give an extra oomph to the tasty lamb. These intense flavours are neutralised by charcoal noodles that maintain a smooth texture.

Matcha Bao-Nut This dessert combines flavours of matcha, coconut and sweet miso to create a satisfying culinary treat. The lightly fried, sugary bao-bun is served hot, filled with creamy matcha ice cream and doused with sweet miso sauce to make each bite a little taste of heaven. Break off bits of the bao-bun to dip it in the sumptuous ice cream or take no prisoners and go for a mouthful. Perfect for vegan food-lovers with a sweet tooth. Photos: Kai Lutterodt| @the.soho.girl

The Noodle Lab is Wagamama’s innovative flagship restaurant, creating dishes that no other branch serves. Their Asian-inspired recipes are designed, trialled and tested here first, with customers’ feedback having a direct impact on which ones will make it into Wagamama restaurants countrywide. These test menus are changed seasonally to keep the line-up original - and the innovative ideas flowing! The Strip on the side of the menu details all the latest testing dishes. Your feedback could be what earns your choice a place on the main Wagamama menu... so don't be shy, spill the beans! Soho x Talks Our socials are an opportunity to try items from the test menu whilst you network! Book now for our next Soho x Talk event at the Noodle Lab!

Wagamama Noodle Lab 81 Dean St, Soho, W1D 3SW WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK

Soho Supper Club

Dine in good company Exclusive dining experiences across the Westend

What we do Gain access to exclusive dining experiences where networking and good food are at the heart of what we do.

Partnership Teaming up with local businesses is important to us. We promote our partners and pass on the best value dining experience to you.

Join us Become a member at:

A Taste of Soho Food Tours Taste Your Way Around Soho from £55pp

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Interested in contributing in the next issue? Email



An Influencer's Guide to...

You can't scroll through your social media feed without being captivated by posts shared by influencers. They have a powerful impact on their followers because their opinions are valued. 80% of industry professionals find influencer marketing very effective, rating the quality of customers and traffic from this method of outreach as better than other marketing sources.

So between these 11 Instagrammers - rest assured, you’ve got Soho covered!



It's Friday night in Soho and I just got paid. My first stop Barrio Soho for their happy hour cocktails. Caipirinhas all round, for as long as happy hour lasts. I then take a short stroll to the Japanese extravaganza bar Chotto Matte for a sake based cocktail next to an enormous mural of a dragon. My hunger starts to kick in. I make my way to Zelman Meats, where I order Lobster croquettes and a Ribeye steak, with a glass of malbec. Suitably fed and inebriated, I then decide to get my disco on at Rupert Street Bar, whilst sipping on dark and stormys. Once that closes, I finish my night off at Be At One on Greek street, with zombies and Spandau Ballet.

Soho is a foodies paradise! The amazing food choices here are endless, but here are some of my all-time favourites: When I need to get my Greek fix, I visit The Real Greek on Berwick St for excellent Greek wine and banging meze. Peruvian Señor Ceviche in Kingly Court for divine ceviche and pisco sours. St Moritz on Wardour St for traditional Swiss fondue- swoon, and my new favourite is the Fatt Pundit, Berwick St again, for Indo-Chinese deliciousness. You’ll always be well fed in Soho!


I work at Work.Life on Noel Street and since my life pretty much revolves around food, I can vouch for the fact that Soho is a veritable feast for food lovers. You have China Town with some of the best food in London, at incredible value. Some amazing food markets: Street Food Union on Rupert Street and Berwick Street for lunch. There's a restaurant for every cuisine you can think of - from chains to Michelin-starred fine dining - so you're really spoilt for choice! @ainsleyateit MY SOHO TIMES


For the perfect pasta, head to Bocca di Lupo for sharing plate heaven and counter top dining. If you are in the mood for a great healthy salad - Bibi’s Kitchen always has a takeaway queue out the door (get there early for an outside table in the pretty courtyard). Berenjak is my go-to for a Persian feast, and if you are on a date, swing by Basement Sate afterwards for dimly-lit cocktails in cozy corners. For a livelier evening head to Ceconnis Pizza Bar or La Bodega Negra, both are buzzing and lively later on in the week. Venture a little further for one of my standout new openings of 2019 - Norma; a Sicilian eatery on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia. @mybossbuysmelunch

My happiest memories are in W1. There is so much to do, and everything is walkable - including Fitzrovia, just north of Soho. My ideal day starts with a coffee from the Penny Drop, then some quiet contemplation in the Fitzrovia chapel. A ride at Psycle, followed by breakfast at the riding house café. Lunch at Lore of the Land, then finishing it off with a stroll through Fitzroy Square Garden. For something indoors an afternoon at the Grant Museum of Zoology, followed by early evening drinks at the Charlotte Street Hotel. Dinner at Bubble Dogs and a night cap at the Sanderson...why not?!


The perfect day starts with a bowl of udon at Koya Soho. With nearly 30 different varieties, you can most definitely find your favourite and fall in love with their thick and chewy udon. Move on to Barafat Cafe if you want to indulge in some high-quality coffee or some beautiful pastries under a pastel, bespoke and innovative interior. Alternatively Soho Square Gardens is a calm and relaxing place to stop by. A meat lover should never miss out on Zelman Meats with the finest steaks from around the world accompanied by some black truffle & parmesan chips.

@eataroundwithme WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK

Unleash the big kid in you! Ballie Ballerson brings all the instagramable balling fun you could ask for. Based on Berwick Street, this ball pit bar has the ingredients for a guaranteed fab night humour, fun, great music, creative cocktails and raving ball pit wars under UV lights. Have the full ballers' experience and go VIP! If Hollywood glitz is more your thing, head to Sketch in Mayfair. Highlights of the venue include their creative interior which changes regularly. Don’t miss the opportunity to get a snap shot of Sketch's alien pod-like toilets and disco ceiling.


If you're looking for a night of entertainment, eating or drinking then visit the revamped Boulevard for a theatrical show or even enjoy a late night of comedy, jazz, or cabaret within their intimate theatre. If you're feeling a bit peckish dine in their vibrant restaurant and tuck into dishes crafted using the finest quality locally sourced ingredients. Or head on over for a drink at The Lobby Bar within the historic Victorian Six Storeys and sip on one of their many showcased cocktails displayed in sparking crystal decanters.



Rice Wine on Brewer Street is a hidden gem for Japanese staples. I come here often to stock up shabu-shabu meat and curry cubes in winter months. Roulette tickets are a great bargain at the brand new Boulevard Theatre and their pink restaurant & bar looks so vintage and classy. For seafood lovers, head to Wright Brothers and grab a dozen (or three) of their £1 oysters! If you fancy Asian, Freak Scene is a good quirky Australian-Japanese restaurant where you can taste amazing small plates. MY SOHO TIMES


Soho is an absolute foodie heaven. If I could spend a whole weekend eating in London, this is where you’d find me. Sharing plates are an increasingly popular concept, here are a few I’d recommend: award-winning Venetian at Polpo, Japanese & Peruvian at Chotto Matte or Parisian-style at Blanchette. If you are a seafood lover like myself head over to a London favourite Randall & Aubin Seafood Restaurant which launched in 1996. I could go on for hours but a final eatery that"s won my heart is BAO Soho. Taiwanese inspired, insanely satisfying, small plates. Thank me later. It’s so hard to choose a favourite place in Soho & around! So many great places... for coffee or brunch I love My Place Soho and I would never pass on lunch at the Ivy Soho Brasserie - their jackfruit bang bang salad & truffle arancini are couple of my favourites on their menu. Dinner time? I’d head to a newly opened 28-50 Wine Bar & Kitchen in Covent Garden for a yummy seafood platter accompanied by a lovely glass of wine, or the modern Spanish restaurant Aqua Nueva not only for the food but also for the city views from their roof terrace. Cocktails? I love a dark place with lux interiors and a quality tipple. Disrepute, Experimental Cocktail Club or Mandrake spring to mind.



Tips from the influncers...

You don't need a professional camera to get the look! Play about with your camera phone settings, angles and filters

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Build your following. Your viewers value honesty so always remain authentic.


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on the radio The Soho Girl

Tune into the new monthly show with guests, music and talk about Soho from the perspective of a local!

Celine's Salon

A Literary Cabaret Celine’s Salon began in 2015 at the Society Club, a bookshop-meets-private members venue situated in the heart of Soho. Over its two year monthly residency, the salon’s audience grew - as did its collection of writers across all genres - its purpose being to platform new works. From the The Society Club the salon moved to the basement of The Mediterranean on Berwick Street; after out-growing this venue, it finally arrived at its current home, Gerry's Club on Dean Street. Celine has now produced and hosted over one hundred shows and has an abundance of talented writers who still perform regularly throughout the year. Each of her salons are themed, which allows the writer to present a completely new piece. Photo by Kai Lutterodt | @the.soho.girl

With a book on the horizon and a UK tour pending, Celine plans to take the show all over the UK, Europe and further afield. Celine’s Salon was well received in Antigua and has been invited back to further grace Caribbean shores. Her ultimate goals? It’s an impressive list: a global collection of documented works and tackling areas with low arts engagement. Worldwide libraries for people to access original literature and more live shows in every city to bring writers and audiences together. Céline Hispiche is a Soho resident and hosts a Celine's Salon monthly show on Soho Radio. For more info about Celine's Salon and upcoming shows, find 'Celine's Salon' on Facebook and Instagram. WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK



When we think of the West End of London, we think of hustle and bustle, Londoners and visitors going about their busy lives – this is what I love about this incredibly important area - but everyone needs to escape from time to time . Even if it's just for an hour or two, we need a place where we can relax and let someone else take the strain. As someone who goes to the West End every day, here are a few of my favourite West End escapes...

CENTURY CLUB I first came across the Century Club 10 years ago as somewhere to work, but now it's become somewhere to escape. The top floor features the largest roof top terrace in Soho. For me, this is a perfect space to kick back, enjoy the feel of fresh air and natural light at the same time as enjoying a glass of red and a few bites. The Century Club has a welcoming members’ policy with fantastic friendly staff who take pride in the venue where they work. 61-63 Shaftesbury Avenue London W1D 6LQ

SALON64 I was introduced to Salon64 when they were nominated for a London Lifestyle Award in 2019 - and what a place it is! Salon64 is more like a venue. It has a luxury feel and takes a holistic approach to looking your best, creating some unique features and services. These include a make-up bar with phone charging docks and jewellery boxes hidden inside beautiful white table tops. Inside the salon, a bar serving drinks and snacks helps makesthe whole Salon64 experience both exciting and relaxing…a great escape. 4 Bateman Street London W1D 3AG

THE ESTABLISHMENT Those who know me best know that I love good food, well-mixed drinks, talking and history. The Establishment has just opened and is a perfect combination of all the things that I enjoy the most.. This intimate first floor speakeasy on Greek Street has an amazing rum-inspired cocktail menu and is located on the spot where Christine Keeler's infamous chair photo was taken. Comedian Peter Cook also owned a venue in the early 60’s with the same name. First Floor 18 Greek Street Soho W1D 4DS MY SOHO TIMES



INDIAN ACCESNT 16 Albermarle Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 4HW. Telephone: 0207 629 9802 It’ll be a pleasure to once again take a seat in this Mayfair eatery - inspirational cuisine taken from all around the sub-continent is combined with subtle flavours from wider afield by award-winning Chef, Manish Mehrotra. Go for the full tasting menu (if you think you have the room) or dabble in delicious a la carte. We can’t wait.

DONOVAN BAR One of my favourite hospitality personalities is behind the stylish oasis that is the relaxed Donovan Bar. Its incredible cocktail list is born of the expertise of that maestro of cocktails, Salvatore Calabrese. This is where I escape to if I ever want some ‘me time’ in Mayfair. My expertly prepared martini means I am never disappointed. Browns Hotel 33 Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4BP

COYA Food at its finest and - if you let it COYA will allow you to escape the busy Mayfair streets, transport ing you to a Peruvian Oasis awash with fantastic food and drinks. The finest Peruvian ingredients have been fused with Asian cooking techniques and served in opulent surroundings, ensuring escapism and relaxation. 118 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7NW

THE CAXTON GRILL 2 Caxton St, London SW1H 0QW Telephone: 0207 486 3222 If you’re looking for something to eat a little earlier in the day, venture further afield to the Ermin Hotel’s Caxton Grill (next to St. James’s Park Station) where you can fill your boots with their afternoon tea. And the fun doesn’t stop there. An early evening drinking their cocktail bar will reveal the venue’s secrets as a former nest of spies. Check it out, it’s intriguing. Xier | XR 13-14 Thayer Street, London W1U 3JR. Telephone: 0207 486 3222 You pays your money, you takes your choice from a menu of beautifully prepared European foods, with ingredients sourced from organic farms across Britain. Upstairs is Xier - fine dining at its best with a 10-course tasting menu on offer. Downstairs the more casual XR offers an a-la-version. Take your pick. You won’t be disappointed. WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK

Soho's Queer Past - and Present Written by Gareth Lewis | @garethlewis_ Photography Kai Lutterdt | @the.soho.girl "Ghosts and shadows of queer culture fill the brick and mortar of Soho." A way to sum up Soho. Dan de la Motte is a queer performer, activist and researcher who has a rich knowledge of Soho’s queer history. Alongside a full schedule, he is involved in working with ‘Queer Tours of London’ as a tour guide. The company works as a collective of people who celebrate queer culture and heritage through guided tours on foot, bus and occasionally by water. What does the Soho tour involve? The tour discovers the hidden history of the places that after dark were bustling with queer culture in the times before decriminalisation. Many of the places on the tour are now commercialised retailers or swanky office apartments. One of the places we visit is Forty-one Dean Street, now a restaurant, but once the Colony Club Room. Post World War II the owner Muriel Belcher was known for her open attitude towards sexuality, which helped attract gay men to the notorious green walled club. A community was building quickly, right in the heart of Soho, full of fascinating and interesting characters who were living an exciting but secretive life. The most well-known spot on the tour is the Caravan Club - back in the 1930s it was known as ‘London’s Greatest Bohemian Rendezvous’ which was code for being gay-friendly. Promising ‘All night gaiety’ the Endell Street property was used by both gay men and lesbian women as a safe space, but in 1934 it was subject to a huge police raid which lead to hundreds of arrests and a major court case. Those are just a few of the many places where queer culture and Soho came together.

Who comes along? A variety of people join our tours. Students, locals, academics, tourists from both the UK and elsewhere. Soho is known for being a melting pot of queer culture, so I think people are attracted to visiting and finding out more. It's important to me and the collective that we are open to all walks of life. As well as Soho we cover other areas such as Vauxhall, Hackney and Bloomsbury.

Why did you get involved? It started out when I met the founder, Dan Glass. He was an inspiration to me, and it felt like it was something I wanted to be involved with. I still love it. It is also such an exciting time now, because of the number of LGBTQ+ anniversaries. In 2018 it was 30 years since Thatcher’s Section 28 act was made into law, last year it was the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and this year will see the 50th anniversary of the Gay Liberation Front. It is important to look back on these historic moments but also understand that is still nowhere near perfect for queer communities across the country and the world. Time doesn’t always mean progress. Future of queer places in London? Protecting spaces and places is vital. There is that question of do people make the space a place, or do people go to a space because of the reputation of that place? The closure of clubs, pubs and community spaces seems to be too common. London is a busy, diverse and exciting capital which needs to be nurtured. An example of positive change is the new LGBTQ + community centre being created in east London, a new venue for everyone in the community – something we desperately need.

Find out more about Queer Tours of London visit: and follow Dan on Instagram: @dandelamotte Get 10% off your next tour with code MY SOHO TIMES MY SOHO TIMES


A Quickie with Vanity Von Glow Written by The Soho Girl |


She's bold, she's loud and she's fierce! We caught up with the glittered brow Drag Queen, Vanity Von Glow, for a quickie... (that's a quick Q&A - get your mind out the gutter)! WHO’S YOUR LOOK INSPIRED BY? A combination of Sarah Brightman and Celine Dion - two of the most dramatic divas!



TOP THREE TIPS FOR BEING FAB-U-LOUS? You don't need permission, you don't need approval, all you need is a drink!

IF YOU WERE THE FIRST DRAG QUEEN OF THE WORLD FOR A DAY, WHAT LAW WOULD YOU CREATE AND WHY? I am an ageing diva so I would change the law of gravity. Why must everything droop with time? WHAT'S YOUR IDEA OF A PERFECT NIGHT OUT? A night of live music at the piano, or with my guitarist - nothing is more enjoyable for me than the sound of my voice belting out the power ballads with my musicians!

WHERE AND WHEN CAN WE FIND YOU ON STAGE THIS SPRING? Like everyone else we really aren't sure when the normal show schedule will be up and running but I look forward to the return of my weekly brunches at Zebrano in Soho, the return of my comedy music sing-a-longs Poppers at the Piano at the Clapham Grand, as well as Drag Queen Wine Tasting events throughout the year. Follow Vanity Von Glow on Instagram: @vanityvonglow WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK

MY SOHO TIMES LAUNCH PARTY Words by Ivo Belohoubek | @dogoodfilmsworldwide

You can’t launch a magazine in London’s party playground without throwing a party so My Soho Times threw not one, but two events to celebrate in Soho’s iconic Experimental Cocktail Club and the Piano Bar Soho. What started off as a blog by Kai (a.k.a the Soho Girl) is now an independently-funded shiny hyper-local magazine full of all things Soho. Both venues filled up instantly with enthusiastic supporters who enjoyed treats sponsored by Crosstown. The Soho Girl herself shone in a orange ankara print suit by Becca Apparel and friends, partners and contributors rubbed shoulders with Soho’s personalities including Mark Powell, George Skeggs aka Soho George, and friends from King of Soho, Groucho, and The Museum of Soho.



Not your typical Chinatown establishment, the

Properly warmed up and due to popular

Experimental Cocktail Club is a gem hidden

demand, the party continued a day later at

behind unassuming battered doors in Gerrard

the Piano Bar on Carlisle Street, this time

Street. It’s a place oozing with character, the

with the champagne flowing. Business and

shabby chic and minimalist décor is redolent

charity partners, advertisers and Soho

of Soho’s bohemian past. Complimentary

personalities mingled to chat and talk

cocktails and music expertly mixed by DJ

turkey. The Piano Bar is an intimate venue

IAmAfrorisk on the desks loosened the crowd

with live music and a chilled atmosphere

(and what a crowd it was) who came to show

that easily makes you forget that you're in

their support for My Soho Times and pick up

the bustle of Soho. One of My Soho Times

their free copy - which I am sure will a

aims is to bring together diverse groups of

collector’s item in the future. We couldn’t be

people from artists to business owners,

more thrilled to host in such an iconic Soho

start-ups to media and the hospitality

spot, a location steeped in the legends of

industry to showcase a community that

Soho’s artistic past. We proudly stand on their

understands and cares about Soho. Now

shoulders, and carry their legacy with My

that the scene is firmly set, rest assured

Soho Times.

there will be more events like this. WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK


Photos by Crystal Forbes-muir and Freda Adu



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