It was earlier this year that I met up with model and fashion icon, Antony Fitzgerald for an al fresco lunch in Soho. We discussed our mutual passions for promoting diversity, yet challenging tokenism. I offered Antony free rein to be creative director and guest editor of our first fashion feature… here’s the result of saying ‘let’s do lunch’!
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Our front page cover is; ‘New Silver Generation‘ (p.19), a movement which I believe has the potential to disrupt the fashion and beauty industry from the inside out. Follow on IG @the.new.silver.generation.
Photography is provided by Ivan Weiss.
A whole two years has flown by since I launched the pilot issue of My Soho Times. Who could have predicted the turbulence we’d be facing and the ongoing after-effects of the pandemic? From turning my long-standing blog about living in Soho into a print magazine – which is less about me and more about the people who LIVE WORK & PLAY in this neck of woods – I couldn’t have picked a more challenging time to venture into the wonderful world of print.
And though for the first time in six editions, this edition is solely digital (annual subscription members, we’ll extend your membership), we’ll be back next Spring with physical copies and a line of partnerships to match!
I can’t mention the beginning of My Soho Times magazine without extending a big heartfelt thank you to Gillian Smith, our contributing editor. You can catch Gillian every monthly on Soho Radio with the MST Arts Report. For all arts related enquires please email email@example.com
We’re back again with another season of the Editor’s Note IG Live! Join our editor-in-chief, The Soho Girl, as she unwraps the latest press samples landed on her desk – make that kitchen table – and speaks to their entrepreneurial founders Thursday via the ‘gram!
Behind the facade of Yming, the iconic blue building on Greek Street and Soho’s oldest Chinese restaurant, is its inspiring owner Christine Yau. Voted The Mulan Award winner for Community Woman of the Year, as well as taking on the role of Vice President of the London Chinatown Chinese Association. Iram Khawaja and Kesh Wang took the opportunity to find out about her 35 year history in this neck of the woods.
With Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year) around the corner, we asked London-based blogger and Instagramer, Erica Tang @thechinesefoodie to share her top tips on celebrating the New Year – whether you’re out and about (for a stroll of course) or staying in!
I was born in Hubei, China. I moved to London 4 years ago to study, and I now work in the city. My partner is British, we actually met in China, and we cook & eat Chinese food at home mainly, as we used to when we lived there. Working from home since covid has given me a lot more time to cook, to rediscover some of the comfort foods I used to be able to get from street stands in Wuhan, by actually attempting to make them from scratch at home. Before the pandemic, my partner and I used to go to the theatre after work, have meals out in restaurants and Chinatown, and the Soho area has many of our favourite places.
2021 is a Year of the Ox
February 12th 2021 – January 31st 2022.
China Exchange provides ample opportunities to understand China, Chinese culture and Chinatown. I’ve been to a few events there, including a rare screening of the 1987 film Ping Pong (filmed in Chinatown). They also organise exhibitions about Chinese art, the history of Chinatown London etc.
Keep an eye on Chinatown’s special festive decorations when the time comes! There’s usually a parade across Chinatown, Trafalgar Square and the West End. Shops and restaurants will also have their own promotions and perhaps special meals to help you celebrate!
(Due to COVID the celebrations will be taking place online. On 14 February, you can enjoy an extravaganza of past Chinese New Year performances in London from home).
Grab a few buns from Bun House – to me they are the best buns in town. The lamb bun is my fav savoury and the custard bun is my fav sweet. Other interesting snacks include Jianbing from Pleasant Lady, and Cantonese pastry from Chinatown Bakery.
Milk tea is my go to drink whenever I’m in the Chinatown / Soho area. So many fine choices to choose from including Biju, Xinfutang, Kova, Yi Fang, Woo Tea… And if you love matcha as I do, Tsujiri London is the place for tasty matcha desserts and drinks!
I love Four Seasons’ Hog Maw Chicken soup and roast duck. Food House Chinatown has amazing BBQ skewers, grilled fish and hot pot. Jinli, Er Mei and Barshu all do nice Sichuan food. There are so many choices for a lovely festive meal in Chinatown, Soho.
Florence Keelson-Anfu shares highlights from the Future Incubators and Accelerators (FIA) Conference 2020 where keynote speakers and panellists discussed how technology can help us solve the challenges the world faces due to COVID-19, and how this may shape the role of incubators and accelerators in 2021 and beyond. The virtual conference took place on Wednesday, 16th December, 2020.
Whatever your your reasons for giving up alcohol – a New Year’s resolution for a healthier you, or to simply detox from weeks of festivities – join millions around the UK start 2021 with the alcohol-free challenge, Dry January. We’ve selected these three drink brands we think you’ll love!
Here we go again – another lockdown… However we couldn’t have predicted the move into Tier 3, and swiftly into Tier 4, just days after filming our Christmas campaign celebrating Soho being open again in time for Christmas…
Brunch is latest food craze to hit the capital, and it has comfortably found a home in London’s foodie capital – Soho! If you’re looking for a unique and exclusive venue to for a brunch date over the weekend – we highly recommend booking at table at Blacks to try their stunning new Brunch menu!
If you’re heading to the Westend for the Christmas shop, be sure to venture into ‘Soho end‘ of Oxford Street for an informal introduction to 100 people with a connection to Soho, via the Someone of Soho digital exhibition on the Flannels building. The giant installation on the corner of Poland St and Oxford St displays black and white portraits with first names and a signature hashtag: the work of photographer Richard Piercy.
We’ve been busy putting together this special gift guide ahead of our winter issue – just in time for our spirits to be lifted as lockdown 2.0 ends!You’ll find a selection of diverse gifts and ideas to for that perfect present – be it for your loved ones, friends… or a treat for yourself this winter!
We’re proud to once again support Centrepoint and the work they do for young homeless people. Make a difference in the life of a young homeless person this winter by giving a donation.
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Everything included has been tried and tested (we started the festivities a little early this year) so we’re confident you’ll find something you love, or will love to give!
Gillian Smith, Contributing Editor’s Note
The most magical season of the year is upon us once again, even though it hardly seems a year since last Christmas, with everything that’s happened over the past 10 months or so. With that in mind and in the wake of the second lockdown, making up for lost time seems to be the order of the day right now.
So if you’re looking for a little help to make your Yule cool, look no further than the My Soho Times Winter Gift Guide. It’s all in here… and I’m not going to spoil the surprise by giving away too much. Unlike some of the amazing independent retailers in our guide. So grab yourself a copy or download it now… and join in the countdown to Christmas!
My Soho Times winter gift guide front cover: The Carnaby Christmas installation ‘Choose Love in Carnaby‘ | @carnabylondon. Cover photo: Tareq Mooradun | @tmnikonian. Double page spread photo: David Parry
We hope you enjoy this special edition we put together to inspire the gift of giving, supporting local and independent businesses, and celebrating our joint achievements of getting through a very challenging year… to be in the present.
And here we have it – the soft launch of My Soho Times TV! And idea which the second lockdown almost put to bay, until we realised it’s now more than ever that we need to reach audiences visually via our digital platforms.
We partnered with BoomCityTV to produce Soho Is Open (for take away), and film our winter issue interview with Tony Philips aka Tony the Soho Tailor.
Head over to our YouTube channel for more short vids from the businesses we featured. Don’t forget to Subscribe and comment!
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You can’t launch a magazine in London’s party playground without throwing a party so My Soho Times threw not one, but two events to celebrate in Soho’s iconic Experimental Cocktail Club and the ThePiano Bar Soho!
Another lockdown. And once again the only visible evidence that a market exists on Berwick Street is the Soho Dairy stall standing alone without its peers. Before lockdown 2.0 Robin Smith gave us a glimpse of what’s happening to the West End’s oldest market…
My Soho Times Influencers’ Network is a complimentary service for influencers allowing us to connect brands with nano to mid-tier influencers and content creators who’ve built a reputation for their expertise on a specific topic.
When I created My Soho Times as a blog in 2012, the main objective was to share my experience living in the bustling heart of London… By 2015 I decided I didn’t want it to be just about me, but rather the amazing people who LIVE WORK PLAY (interpret the latter as you wish!) in Soho!
With a decade’s worth of experience working with SMEs and startups, Lua Cooper – Founder & Principal Consultant at Greengage, shares some advice on simple ways to get your business back on track again.
As someone who lives in the United States, I am surrounded by burgers of all kinds. Whether it be big or small, sweet or tangy, spicy, or juicy – I have seen them all! Am I really a “burger” person? No. But do I crave them once in while? Yes! After being away from home for so long now, I just had to eat something that reminded of the United States…
Now that Coronavirus is in the rearview mirror, we can all get on with our lives and celebrate! Enmeshed in Soho are the celebrations for Gay Pride, Tim Baros shares a list of upcoming Gay Pride events not just in Soho but in surrounding areas as well…
Where there’s typically a gap in the hospitality industry to cater to a sober clientele – beyond just cafes and shisha lounges – PinQ has cleverly stepped in to meet this niche with a mid to high end fully alcohol-free dining experience in central London!
Spring time brings its charm; fresh seasonal produce, warmer weather (touch wood, this is Britain after all!), and a new Spring menu launch at Vapiano! The limited edition ‘La Primavera‘ menu boasts nine specially curated dishes to meet your pizza-pasta-fix… and then some!
“There’s always gonna be boys that will hurt ya,” Jordan’s dad opens Femme with this foreboding statement, igniting immediately a sense of imminent danger. Crime thrillers conventionally have been dominated by cisgender, heterosexual masculine narratives, but Femme writers and directors Ng Choon Ping and Sam H. Freeman centralise the queer, femme experience against a backdrop of criminality and homophobic belligerence. First premiered at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) where it received Best British Short, the film was also nominated for Best Short Film at the London Film Festival and the Grand Jury Award for Narrative Short at the SXSW Film Festival.
Femme is a crime thriller that details the unique yet precarious position of a queer, femme man living in a heteronormative and at times misogynistic world. Originally used in lesbian subcultures, where the terms ‘femme’ and ‘butch’ are used to acknowledge feminine and masculine identities, femme has become popularised for usage among gay and trans as well as non-binary people. Paapa Essiedu, known for his roles in I May Destroy You and a stunning turn as Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Company, stars as the protagonist Jordan, who wears his femme label proudly. He is tempted by Wes, a drug dealer he meets outside a queer nightclub after experiencing heartbreak, and invites Jordan to go with him for some innocuous “style tips.” Played by Harris Dickinson, Wes is masculine, straightforward yet alluring to Jordan, whose own vulnerability and feminine demeanour suggest the two match like a moth to a flame.
Jordan leaves the protective realm of the nightclub and heads to the unfriendly environment Wes resides in, the mise-en-scene switches from dreamy visual to stark and bright. Images of blue play an intermittent role – denoting emotional intensity in key moments. Similarly with red, which blares through a desk lamp in Wes’s house to show the impending threat Jordan is facing. “We wanted to explore the idea of ‘heterophobia’ – the sense of unease, or even fear, that queer people often experience in aggressively heterosexual environments and scenarios,” Ping and Freeman say. “We love [the crime] genre and thought that a twist on the hyper-masculine late-night thriller would be an exciting way to tell our story; one that would allow us to ramp the premise up to its extreme.”
Essiedu gives a rich performance in his role, showing his capability at bringing nuance and subtext to a crime story where plot could have easily overshadowed the protagonist. Its quick accumulation of tension near the end of the film erupts in a burst of violence that leaves your heart pounding.
Ping and Freeman cite the American filmmaking duo the Safdie Brothers as a key inspiration for Femme, for their mastery in building and sutaining tension in films such as Good Time and Uncut Gems. “When people tell us that they hid their face behind their hands, or that they had to pause the film to take a breath, we know we’ve done our job well.“ The writing and directing duo demonstrate that there is ample space for queer perspectives to be featured in crime thrillers. Together with Essiedu’s performance, it tells us that the apprehension associated with the genre encapsulates exactly the anxious feelings that queer people experience by outwardly defying gender stereotypes.
Despite a façade verging on the clean-cut these days, it’s Soho’s infamous criminal underworld past that still exerts an almost mystic hold and forms a large part of the area’s identity. The stories – urban myths or not – are still doing the rounds, so perhaps it was always only a matter of time before a film series paying homage to the area would surface… arise Gangs of Soho.
Celebrating women should be mandatory all-year-round act – just as drinking wine is! So to wrap up International Women’s Month we hosted our first wine tasting event ‘Wine & Network‘ in collaboration with 28°-50° Marylebone to showcase a range of under-the-radar female wine producers!
Well the 94th Academy Awards has come and gone, and not without some drama, but hey, it’s Hollywood, right? All about the headlines. Here at My Soho Times we couldn’t let the occasion pass without a brief inspection of one of the key elements of any Oscars night – the outfits. Contributing editor Gillian Smith shares more…