A little fun in Piccadilly

While we at the Half-Eaten Mind like to be serious and write about serious matters, we got a suggestion to add a more personalised feel to the blog articles…well at least we decided we could always occasionally publish something to that effect…we have also been contemplating adding reviews to our repertoire too…definitely watch this space! 🙂


By Vijay Shah

Yesterday, to celebrate my younger brother’s 20th birthday, we decided to get together with some friends/family for a night out on the tiles in Soho in the City of Westminster. Plenty of fun, ridiculous dancing and hilarious banter from our good mate and joker-in-residence Tom. Our port of call was the Gem Bar (10 Beak Street, Soho, London W1F 9RA, http://www.gem-bar.co.uk/).

People dancing in ways that aren’t even anatomically possible to loud pop and dancehall tunes blaring from a DJ tucked away discreetly in a corner. Guys in England shirts celebrating the Euro match triumph over Sweden; punching the air in delight and whooping ecstatically. Push fights in the bar lobby and nauseous blokes resting their drunken heads while security staff try to keep the peace. Everyone in their own little world. It’s another night in central London.

Gem Bar was good, great music, polite staff and a party-vibe atmosphere where everyone is in a happy, let-your-hair-down mood. It was packed out with ravers with very little room to move but I’d expected that. The music was hot and so was the atmosphere. No, really. It was unbelievably sweaty and humid in there. Definitely wise of our party to leave the jackets and suits in the cloakroom, and we prayed that nothing got pilfered, which thankfully it didn’t. Top marks to the Gem Bar staff!.

Getting home was a mission entirely. There were arguments about whether we should be getting home in a cab, which would have had meant a tenner (£10) off everyone, or whether we should have just piled onto the nearest 25 bus heading down Ilford way. We settled for the bus, only to find the nearest bus stops were out of service. Cue walking around for ages up and down Oxford Circus and Piccadilly until our feet were swelling up. Sitting around on the subway ledges at the local Tube station in a futile search for any cheap form of transport going eastwards. A quick stopover at a pizza parlour for early morning recovery snacks. The pleasure of witnessing a ginger Irishman protest to the pizza guys about being ripped off by “bastards”, while dropping his change all over the damn floor. Nearly got ripped off ourselves by a cab driver in a seven-seater.

Just as dawn broke, we found ourselves at a bus stop opposite a motorway flyover in Camden, freezing our thookas off. Finally made it back to home base an hour-or-so later. Phew, what a day, what memories!!

While we were traipsing around, I thought I’d take a few photos of places we passed by. London can be a beautiful place at night. These photos I have to say are not great, and certainly wouldn’t make even the cutting room floor for a travel brochure. But I do have a bit of a photographic ‘je ne sais quoi’. It’s a shame that I had overlooked the numerous pedicab and rickshaw drivers jetting past or the lads jokingly dry-humping each other on the pavement near Niketown. I will do better next time, I promise.

All photos (c) V. Shah/HEM

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