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David Pibworth | The Blog


A Day Of Tea And Protestation In Soho

Down with this sort of thing ...



I don't go on many protests, mainly because they're usually political and although I do follow politics, I just don't get involved having found over the years that political activists are, by and large, mind-numbingly boring ...

I had a jolly nice time drinking tea and doing magic tricks in Soho.

I had a jolly nice time drinking tea and doing magic tricks in Soho.

Also I find Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn about as politically astute as one another and Mr Cable even worse, doddering about with a face like a slapped arse over leaving the EU.

"But on Saturday I went on a fun protest."

I was in Soho to protest at Westminster Council and other large organisations who are closing off roads and doing work without warning or care over the small businesses which are the soul of Soho.

I love Soho as I have working connections there, plus the protest was taking place outside the Coach and Horses in Greek Street which was something of a favourite watering hole of mine in my drinking days, some 35 years ago.

So I stood outside the pub most of the day doing magic tricks, in the company of other people I knew and liked and vaguely irritated the establishment by waving banners and chanting, which is a pretty damn fine way to spend a day off in my opinion.

"The police even popped along to see
if we were all ok."

The pub, which once boasted the rudest landlord in London, Norman Balon, now has an equally notable landlord, Alistair Choad, who is engaging and chatty. That's an accusation that could never be levelled at Norman who retired about 11 years ago, but still turns up there at the age of 90 to play cards and swear at people.

Other than the menu now being vegetarian and vegan, the place hasn't changed much. I don't think it ever will. When I used to go there, it was full of wayward actors and journalists drinking vast quantities of booze and smoking and as far as I can see it's much the same although they stand outside to smoke.

There is still the slight talk of, "Oh, it's not what it used to be" in the same way as when I was around there in the 80's, Jeffrey Bernard and Co would be saying "Oh, it's not the same as it was 30 years ago ... I remember Dylan Thomas drinking 18 large brandies" and other ramblings.

Soho has been dying for 100 years or so in the minds of those who live there, but the characters won't ever die. They will merely be superceded by other eccentric characters who appear to have no idea that in 20 years people will be talking nostalgically about them.

And that's what I'm fighting for: the chance to take my daughter to the Coach and Horses when she's 18 to have a sing-a-long with the pianist on Wednesday nights and to walk around Soho and get a coffee in a small busy cafe with a fun Italian waiter. To take her up to Soho's Secret Tea Room on the first floor of the Coach and Horses by having to walk behind the bar and tell her that this very room was where Private Eye used to invite prominent people up, get them pissed and extract scandalous information from them.

"I'm not fighting to bring society to its knees, I'm fighting to keep it standing."

I don't normally do photos of myself, but the image above is one of me drinking a cup of tea outside the Coach and Horses on Saturday. Now there's something you wouldn't have put money on 35 years ago.

Until next time ...


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More about David Pibworth ...

David is the owner of David Pibworth Productions (DPP) which provide corporate entertainment and also actors for corporate training and development.

Having worked in the Light Entertainment field for many years and produced shows for Al Murray & Joe Pasquale amongst others, David is in a position to advise on well-known comedy and musical acts. DPP also represent Ray Galton and Alan Simpson's scripts which include Hancock's Half Hour and Steptoe and Son.

He is the director of MK Theatre of Comedy who are very well known locally for their stage adaptations of classic comedy scripts such as Fawlty Towers, The Vicar of Dibley, Allo Allo and many others.

He is a long-standing member of Equity and the Directors Guild of Great Britain and has acted in, and directed, many productions over the years, mainly in Light Entertainment, but with occasional forays into Shakespeare etc. Every Christmas he is contracted as an Ugly Sister in Cinderella, currently with 'That's Entertainment' who also use him as a director.

He teaches eccentric magic for The Pauline Quirke Academy and MKTOC also run a youth drama school in Olney from the DPP offices.

David maintains his busy lifestyle is a surefire way to avoid being on any committees. He is married to Julie, and they have one daughter, Esther and live in Clifton Reynes, surrounded by dogs, cats and horses. They live so close to the church that David has instructed his daughter - when he dies and not before - to fire him over the wall from a circus cannon.