By Ben Conway
You can’t close Soho
Or maybe you can. Because another giant is about to fall this week; it proves there is just more shit to put up with while we sit and bear our teeth.
Wardour News, possibly the best newsagent in London, is set to close because of a run out lease and doubled rent. No one has sympathy for the good old days, especially when five figures are involved. The same thing happens, because it already has.
Articles will write in memoriam about the thirty-year legend that housed London’s best fashion magazines and inspired generations. Torrents of social posts will cry for justice and in two weeks time, we will all forget. The space becomes a Costa, serving the next iced piece of bullshit no one wants. The owners will get on with their lives, the shoppers will shop at the magazine shop half the size in spitting distance and life, moves, on.
Except, does it?
This week, I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel of ‘millennials’ run by Steve Henry (despite not being a millennial myself, on the cusp of Gen Z).
As a group, we were asked why there is no rebellion anymore. After dancing in circles for two hours, I quickly realised that everyone was trying to be smarter than the person before them. Progress wasn’t being made because there was ‘so much to process’.
Someone called out that rebellion doesn’t happen because we aren’t making work with teeth. We are bearing them and not smashing someone’s grill, leaving them with a hefty dentist fee.
I found that no one called b******t and because no one called b******t, we continued on. Speaking more b******t. So we split, and came back with some new findings in pairs.
After a bottle of wine, my partner and I (not the wine) came to the realisation that rebellion comes with community. Fighting side by side for mutual shared values and cooperation. I don’t want to get to soppy, because I could write about how in ‘Be more pirate’ shared values of cooperation gave us some of the best and worst times in history.
But, it’s evident. Trump and Brexit, both boiled down to their respective names, rallied behind a single-minded proposition. Make America Great Again and Britain is better off in it’s own hands.
For me, the core message for Wardour News is, should it be legal to kill off culture? Shouldn’t we be asking the community, what happens when all of our childhood is replaced by Zara and a super savers on the high-street?
The owner of Wardour News seemed the time was right for him. There was some resent in his voice, and he was pleased the community feels for him and his shop. But only so much can be done with feeling.
Maybe we can’t save them all, but some statement should be made. I’m thinking the opposite of blue plaques maybe? Red plaques for shops that once stood where we now bereave them.
Now, go and experience the last of a London great. Doors close this Friday, at 7pm.
For now. RIP Wardour News.