It’s a perennial challenge for people of any age – how to create a social circle and enjoy life’s free time. I count myself extraordinarily fortunate that throughout my vital and formative years of late-teens and twenties, I was living in London, then and now a vivacious and pulsating city of energy, and at the time there was vibrant social network called London Village. I joined LV and through it’s catalog of events was introduced to new people, new friends, new lovers and new experiences. On top of that, and not a minor partner in the mix, I was introduced to new neighborhoods across the metropolis of my birth. Neighborhoods I would not have otherwise visited, but have subsequently enjoyed.
To elucidate, here is a popcorn list of just some of those occasions.
No. 1: Zabaglione and South Hampstead
Yes, that wonderful alcohol laced desert. The route to the delightful Z’ is by way of a party on Marylebone High Street hosted by a friend of Ash Court Brian – See the blog: Meeting Brian. It truly amazes me that ordinary folk could afford to rent apartments in the drop-dead fabulous neighborhood of Marylebone High Street, but back in the 70’s it was so. Party guests included roommates Isabel and Jackie, from their garden flat in South Hampstead. So, let me enumerate the “news.” 1) Jackie, whom I dated for a short while following the party. 2) South Hampstead mini-village. Thanks to my acquaintanceship with Jackie I was introduced to the quaint, tucked away hamlet of South Hampstead. Driving the curving stretch of Finchley Road between Swiss Cottage and Finchley Road tube stations, little time was given over to ponder what community might lye behind what is now Waitrose, then a John Lewis and a habitat. I never did make the detour. I recommend you do and explore the area close by the roundabout at the foot of Fairfax Road. The wall adjacent to the roundabout attracted graffiti commentaries, though now clean. Those I recall: All roles are cages – except some are cagier than others, and a mandate advocating the rights of grils, misspelled girls, but grils spray-canned for their rights too. I tasted zabaglione for the first time at a foursome dinner at Isabel and Jackie’s Goldhurst Terrance flat. Isabel was a pathologist and some evening’s was on call to do blood cross-matching tests. She offered to type my blood at the lab, but I never took her up on the offer.
No. 2: Wine Bars and Ealing
Correct me if I’m wrong but “wine bars” were not commonplace in London in the 1960’s and prior. The standard English drinking place, since Ethelred the Unready, has been the pub. My earliest encounters with this new European style import wasn’t in central London, but in Ealing, West London. Crispins wine bar today is at number 14, The Green in Ealing. However, my recollection was a spacious Crispins on the Mall at roughly Northcote Avenue. The current Crispins is 1/4 the size of the place I went along to with a good number of other LV folks for Sunday vino. So this was Ealing? Previously a name on a street sign which I glanced at, then zoomed on towards Chiswick roundabout. But now Ealing had warm associations. Wine bars, pretty young women wearing sensuous perfumes made more sensuous by a Bordeaux or a Burgundy and the occasional Champagne. Ealing was on my life map.
No. 3: Make up your own name and Hammersmith
“Party at Hammersmith. Call Safi for details.” Safi was a petit American woman whose parents couldn’t agree on which side of the family had naming rights. Sarah / Fionna became Safi. A novel concept to me then, now anything goes. I knew the area reasonably well but now had the chance to visit the imposing Latymer Court, a gigantic apartment building on the north side of Hammersmith Road. I parked close to Brook Green, where someone had posted an ad’ for private tennis lessons. I signed up and paid for exactly one lesson. My back hand is much the better for the lesson, but absolutely nothing else.
Comments are welcome below.
If you were in the LV circle in the 1970’s, I would love to hear your memories and post them for others to enjoy.