Piccadilly Peccadillo

After the show, because one must go to theatre in London, and a late dinner at Amalfi in Soho, I walked down to Piccadilly Circus to catch a cab at Regent Street back to the hotel. I love London at night. There’s a vibrancy, an edginess, that I’ve not experienced elsewhere.

Ye flags of Piccadilly,
Where I posted up and down,
And wished myself so often
Well away from you and town–

Are the people walking quietly
And steady on their feet,
Cabs and omnibuses plying
Just as usual in the street?

Arthur Hugh Clough – Ye Flags of Piccadilly, verses 1 & 2

Piccadilly isn’t paved with flagstones (‘flags’) anymore as they were when Arthur Hugh Clough penned those lines during Victorian times, and I wouldn’t describe the people as walking quietly (or steadily, in some cases) but the cabs and buses are still there. The young gather on and around the famous statue of Eros (just as they were reported as doing in 1894, a year after the statue was unveiled as a memorial to Lord Shaftsbury for his work in public housing and the figure is actually Anteros, Eros’ twin brother). Just up the street, posh theatre goers wind their ways around one another as they argue the merits of whichever play they’ve just seen. Amidst a cacophony of light, I stood on a corner and breathed it all in.

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