So, Madame Jojo – one of Soho’s longest-serving cabarets – is closing its doors, at least for now. Sounds like a bouncer lost his cool and went after a punter with a baseball bat. Westminster Council went nuclear and withdrew the cabaret’s licence straight away. Neither did the landlord tarry. Soho Estates, the company of late sleaze-merchant Paul Raymond, had already repossessed the venue by the time the news came out. It was all over before anyone could say peep, just like a summary execution, Moscow circa 1935. They say Madame Jojo’s is set to reopen in a new building replacing the current one at Walker’s Court. Developers pretend to do us all a favour: they hold their nose at the current “seedy” atmosphere in this tiny patch of central London. Surely, we all deserve better? But something tells me the only people who’ll hang out in the new, “glamorous” cabaret will be Russian oligarchs and Chinese rich kids drinking cocktails at stupid prices. The retail area will soon show up in selfies shot by fat Nebraskans in their fannypcks. But fear not: the new Walker’s Court will end the disgusting spectacle of sub-optimal profits.
If this weren’t the UK, I’d say the demented bouncer was in the pay of the London property mafia, his job to give the Council an excuse to kick out a tenant who was getting in the way of the area’s gentrification. But the truth is, in Britain, nothing gets in the way of gentrification anyway – you don’t need a hired thug to make it happen. Cash is king, the law protects the rich: if you wave enough shekels, this country is your bitch. There’s only one difference between the developers, the council and the street whores they look down on: the hookers are more honest and not quite so greedy.