Best Of The Web
“The Soho I live in today—not to be confused with the more chichi SoHo in Lower Manhattan—is not the Soho I came to 20 years ago. It’s still London’s most bohemian suburb, home to the satirical magazine Private Eye and writerly clubs like the Groucho and the Academy—though you might have trouble finding many writers in the former any more—but loucheness isn’t what it was.
If you want to throw your inheritance away in Soho today you do it in an artisanal chocolate shop not a strip joint. Francis Bacon used to roll drunk out of the Colony Room in Dean Street and stagger home to paint a masterpiece. There’s still drunkenness here but it’s the province of hen parties. Having failed to write a masterpiece, I stagger out of my apartment any night of the week and have to navigate the heaving bridesmaids piled high outside my front door. It might not be art but it’s life.
The other thing it’s not is politics. The whole point of bohemia is that it frees you to think your own thoughts. We live and let live. So I was much taken aback, the other week, while sauntering idly along Dean Street, to find myself the object of a sort of one-woman demonstration. What she called out was so unlike anything I expected to hear in Soho that I wondered whether I’d really heard it.
Could that be right? “Free Palestine!” in the middle of Soho at lunchtime.
I raised my eyes and looked around but everything was as normal. There was only the lingering presence of the words, like dust caught in a shaft of light. Had the woman passed me on the street? Had she leaned out of the window of an expensive restaurant? And how did I know her exhortation was intended for me, anyway?”
JJ Editor's Picks
"‘Great-power competition” is increasingly a central concern in Washington foreign-policy circles. The 2017 U.S. National Security Strategy warns that “China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode..."
"Just to be sure I heard it correctly, I replayed former vice president Joe Biden’s eye-popping gaffe from Thursday night’s debate instructing poor parents to put the record player on to help their children learn. “#Record player” was trending on..."
"For many people, getting away from it all means decamping to a cabin in the woods or a house by the beach. Soon there may be another option: lifting off to a hotel serenely orbiting high above the planet. Though space hotels have long belonged..."
"I didn’t lead a life of any particular hardship growing up, but as a kid in New York in the 1980s, I did have to do without certain things that many of today’s middle-class parents deem essential — a yard, for example — and my dad tells me..."
"Not too long ago, the “gig economy” looked as if it just might be the future of work in America.The rapid rise of digital platforms that let people earn money by driving passengers, delivering groceries, walking dogs or running errands for..."
""The Goldfinch" has a painting at its center, but despite a classy palette of ingredients conjures a lifeless, disjointed picture. Adapted from a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the movie represents a transparent bid to bring the book's prestige..."
"To make sense of what's going on as Israelis head to the polls Tuesday, one would need to be part mathematician and part psychologist. Determining who will sit with who in a prospective coalition is like choosing sides at a schoolyard pick-up..."
"It’s humiliating to consider the things we know instead of the things we should know. I can’t tell you exactly how the Michigan Republicans are trying to illegally gerrymander their state, but I know why Lana Del Rey is angry on Twitter. So it..."