West Ended

I read in the South London Press that So Solid’s Romeo is accused of involvement in a stabbing incident in Soho. This is obviously a bad thing for all concerned. I also note that, as part of the conditions of his bail, he has been ordered to stay out of W1 and WC2 (West One and West Central 2 covers Soho, Covent Garden, Oxford Street and so on: a large chunk of London’s retail centre / clubland.)

I wasn’t aware that it was possible to impose such broad restrictions, and my first pedantic reaction is to think of the practicalities: what’s to stop him (anyone) causing bother in one of the bazillion clubs outside W1/WC2? How would you catch him if he skirts over the line from (say) SW1? Is he allowed to travel under W1 / WC2 on the tube? Who knows where the borders between these sorting-office locales lie anyway?

And then I think my usual thought about how lazy it is for people to call this area Central London because it’s the place where they do their shopping, when London’s centre is a doughnutty binary star shape, but everyone’s bored of me going on about that.

But now I’m thinking about how London would feel without that ‘centre’: how far my experience of London as London depends on that centre. I’ve lived here for six years now, bathed in the golden glory of the sunny South Eastern poscodes, and I’ve tried to get to know the place as well as I can (within reason – you still won’t catch me in the dragon-infested regions west of Notting Hill, if I can help it). Still, if I’m going “into town” I always mean the West End…

What would my London be like if it had W1 and WC2 brutally excised? I’m considering banning myself, like Romeo, from ‘town’ for a few weeks, to see what will happen. Is that a terrible idea?