Whether you like it or not, I’m on holiday again. I say this because I received several nasty comments relating to my recent summer holiday series of posts about visiting Perth and Gippsland, which I deleted. While Fitzroyalty is primarily about Fitzroy and surrounding areas in Melbourne, it is also about whatever I want it to be, which is usually whatever I am doing. I don’t care if it’s not what these critics want it to be.
It’s strange how people have such antiquated and rigid expectations of free new media. They expect consistency and predictability because that is all that commercial print and broadcast media has given them. Fitzroyalty is unpredictable and I am proud of this. I designed it to be like this. It is a deliberate publishing strategy. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. Don’t waste your time telling me you don’t like it; your comments won’t be published.
So it is with the expectation of more whinging comments based on false expectations that I announce a third series of holiday stories. I am in London. It’s winter. A week after the 45C day in Melbourne it was 5C in London. As with my previous holiday series, you’ll get a Fitzroy or Melbourne story each day alternating with my travel observations.
My exploration of London began in Soho. First impressions: it’s a bit Chapel St slick for my liking, and very pushy. People are polite but efficiently so to the point of disinterest. A few are friendly; most are not. I suppose it’s because it’s such a busy touristy area. Even the signs are polite but not friendly (above). Cycling in London’s winter looks tough. London is not a friendly place for motorcyclists either. Like Perth and Sydney, bikes are forced to park in crowded spaces on the street that are always full (below). And it costs £1 a day!
When I sat in a cafe having lunch one day, the woman in the drycleaners opposite had no customers for some time, and she looked bored out of her mind (below).
Fortunately a man arrived on a bicycle, dismounted in a rakish fashion and dashed inside to discuss his drycleaning emergency (below).
In the midst of endless generic Italian restaurants and chain cafes and other tourist traps in Soho is Vegan Routes – a mobile vegan restaurant in a red bus on Brewer St. It struck me as both gimicky, being in a bus, yet also smart as it is mobile and cleverly located in a key backpacker area.
The friendliest place in Soho may be the Glassblower pub, where I had a hearty steak and stout pie and mash. Cheerful staff, a good (Chilean or Argentinian) malbec as the house red and reasonable prices make jetlagged travelers happy.
Other random observations include an Aston Martin getting ticketed on a back street (sweet schadenfreude) and the enormous number of people in the huge Apple Store on Regent St (oh how I want a new shiny machine)!