People
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Fenella Fielding

 in People
Words Robert Chilcott Portraits Etienne Gilfillan “Of course, being dressed as a prostitute meant that everybody was terribly interested to have a word with you and so forth…” The husky, seductive voice is unmistakeable after all these years: no one else sounds like Fenella Fielding, who remains a unique and much-loved figure of British stage and screen. You can hear for yourself: she’s currently reading her memoirs at a Saturday matinee residency at the Phoenix Artist Club…
Editorial
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Vulgar Tongues

Words Cathi Unsworth Portraits Etienne Gilfillan “Cant – thieves’ slang – is the oldest slang we have, and Soho in the past was never short of characters who were living on the far side of the law…” Soho and its environs, with its hostelries, clubs, ‘vaulting academies’ and nefarious street trades, can be credited as one of the greatest sources of slang. Through its ‘rookeries’, teeming with ‘jades’, ‘footpads’ and ‘mollies’, once strolled a venerable…
Business
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Joe and Co.

Words Matthew Ross Photography Kirk Truman It was 1997, and Soho was down to the roach of its truly gritty days. Joe Mills bought the lease on a debt-ridden Peter Street cobblers and opened The Lounge, his first hair salon. The door was kept locked, and female clients were chaperoned to the salon from Wardour Street. DJs, Maltese gangsters, working girls and celebrities: Joe worked his craft on all comers. Two decades later, the neon…
People
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Alex Zane

 in People
Words & Portraits Kirk Truman “A little bit of luck, and a little bit of talent. It was the right place and the right time…” It’s early on a cold December morning in London. “It’s been a while since I’ve walked through Soho at this time. It’s wonderful: you get to walk about and see last night’s decadence splattered all over the pavements. The bottles being collected ring to the sound of the mischief, mayhem and…
Business
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Aesop

Words & Photography Kirk Truman “Everything is driven by the product itself and the quest for superior quality…” Even on a crowded London high street, there’s a certain store that stands out from the crowd. There aren’t many brands that have successfully mixed aesthetically pleasing design with high quality skincare products, but Aesop has done exactly that, and much, much more. It all started in Melbourne in 1987, when hairdresser Dennis Paphitis launched a small range…
People
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Lesley Lewis

 in People
Words Kirk Truman Portraits Etienne Gilfillan “It’s an institution, but I’ve made it my own institution with time… I do with it what I feel is the right thing to do with it.” When you walk into 49 Dean Street, it looks as though every inch of the walls is decorated with pictures evoking the memories and characters of the Soho of yesteryear. You soon realise, though, that it’s not just the walls here that tell a…
Business
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Bao

Words & Photography Kirk Truman “Initially, we weren’t set on it having any longevity…” I am anything but patient, but to get into Bao I waited for 20 minutes with a can of Taiwanese lager in my hand. I’ve been watching the ever-expanding queue outside for a year now as I’ve gone up and down Soho’s Lexington Street, and wondering: what makes all these people stand in line for a restaurant that only seats 15 people…
Editorial
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A Soho Squat

Words & Photography Bob Aylott “These are iconic images from this period in London’s history” By trade, I’m a press photographer. I discovered in my attic some months ago this vintage collection of vintage black and white images, hidden away for some years. It’s unusual to find original wet prints of contemporary historical importance. This project was a labour of love that I’d put on the shelf. I knew I had one set of exhibition prints,…
People
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The Smoking Guns

 in People
Words Kirk Truman Photography Etienne Gilfillan   “We started something together that we were wholly in control of – it was the beginning of a new adventure.” A transatlantic duo blazing their way through Soho’s music venues, clubs and bars, spinning Northern Soul, 60s rhythm & blues and old school rock-n-roll, Iraina Mancini and Samantha Michelle are an unlikely success story in an often male-dominated world. I talked to them about how The Smoking Guns got…
Editorial
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A Soho Office

 in Editorial
Words Griff Rhys Jones Photography Archives Some time ago, in the very early Eighties, Melvyn Kenneth Smith and I decided to go into business together. We had no idea what we were doing. Or what business to go into. We liked the idea of an office. Not the Nine O’Clock News had, I think, an audience of 18 million in one set of repeats. It was a pop phenomenon, like being a band. We were…
People
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Oliver Spencer

 in People
Words & Photography Kirk Truman “I wanted to open on Berwick Street. I really believed it was the high street of the neighbourhood.” Farringdon, Portobello, Lambeth: familiar names of London districts, but also those of a range of garments designed by Oliver Spencer, whose clothes, full of stylish accents and practical details, have earned a reputation for distinction, comfort and sheer cool. Designing and making handcrafted garments for modern men and women, Bloomsbury-based Spencer has…
Business
Stripper Julia Mendez, 'The Snake Girl', takes the head of a snake in her mouth during her act at the Raymond Revuebar in Soho, London, December 1960. The following year, this part of her act contributed to club owner Paul Raymond being fined £5,000 for keeping a disorderly house, with the chairman of the London Sessions calling his show 'filthy, disgusting and beastly'. (Photo by Whittington/Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Raymond Revuebar

 in Business
Words Kirk Truman Photography Getty Images/Hulton Archive Behind its ever-changing façade, Soho’s streets still hold secrets; dig beneath the surface and you can find yourself transported back to a different time. Make your way through the daytime crowds of Berwick Street, head towards the seedy Walkers Court, and stick around until nightfall, when the infamous doors to The Box Soho are open wide. Step inside this relic of Soho’s not-so-distant past and you’re in what was…