Leicester Square review
Everybody who comes to London ends up here at some point -- they'll have a wander around the West End to see the bright lights of Piccadilly Circus and get sucked into Leicester Square along with a million billion other people. It's where you'll find all the big cinemas and nightclubs. It's where the nightlife is. The pubs have punters spilling out onto the streets, and shops sell cheapo theatre tickets to West End shows.
There must be a thousand people milling around me this afternoon, all trying to decide what to do with their evening. It's all noise, boys, the lost, wasted, wasters, tourists. Everyone seems to be sitting here and waiting for the sun to go down. I used to come here on a Saturday night when I was still the right side of thirty. Not to do anything in particular, but just to do... something. When you're twenty it's better to do something rather than nothing. You wander across from Waterloo, have too many drinks around Soho, and then nod off on the train home.
But during the daytime... well that's a different story. I quite like this place in the morning. It's the leafy green trees in the middle that make it, and the spouting fountains surrounding the Shakespeare statue. There's really no need for any extra water today (it's raining again) but they're still bubbling away regardless. We're just sitting here listening. Me and the pigeons. The homeless dudes are sitting here, too (one of them has just tried to ponce a cigarette off me) -- those beer can dudes who drink cider for breakfast.
Ten minutes later I'm still sitting here, mindlessly idling some time away. I am engrossed in the fountains. One guy has decided to tempt fate, and is currently standing with his legs akimbo right over the top of a docile fountain, laughing, while his mates are egging him on with their camera phones at the ready. This guy has obviously got no fear. Any minute now the fountain is going to spray up into the sky and send him into space. Please, oh please... nope. He has chickened out with just seconds to spare. What a shame... I would have quite liked to have seen him get drenched.
Do you want to join me for a coffee? I'm sitting in that little corner cafe opposite the Vue cinema. It's just a crappy little cafe, nothing special -- it's so plain it hasn't even got a proper name, just 'Espresso Bar' -- but I've always had a soft spot for this place. If you have a few days to waste then you can camp out in one of these seats and watch practically the entire population of London walk past the window.
Here comes the rain again -- but much harder this time. The tourists are suddenly pulling out their plastic macs and rushing to get them on over their folded arms and elbows, all whilst being shouted at by their panicking mum. Quick, kids! Quicker! They're going to get wet... jesus christ. Get a move on, kids! Their dad has started joining in the shouting now. Too late. They're dead. They got wet. It's only rain, mate. You're in London now, you'd best get used to it!
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