The Boys In The Cafes

The Boys In The Cafes

Robert Rubbish takes Cathi Unsworth on A Drift through Soho…

…then to Bar Burno (Boys in the Cafés)…

CU A proper greasy spooner left in Soho! This picture makes me think of many classic London books where Soho cafés play a central role – James Curtis’ The Gilt Kid, Colin Wilson’s Adrift in Soho, Laura Del Rivo’s The Furnished Room, Roland Camberton’s Scamp, Terry Taylor’s Baron’s Court All Change and of course Colin MacInnes’ Absolute Beginners… Again you seem to have captured the characters of these books passing through…

RR Bar Burno to me is one of the last links with the old cafés that Soho once had and have all sadly gone now. All of the books you have mentioned have influenced this artwork, and also Bernard Kops’ The World Is A Wedding and Frank Norman’s Stand On Me – I love how a lot of the action takes place in Soho cafés. The title of the artwork comes form The Pogues’ song The Old Main Drag, where Shane MacGowan tells the story of how a young boy ended up on his uppers on the old main drag (Old Compton Street). This song is like a novel in a song and the lyrics: ‘Where the boys in the cafés would give you cheap pills’ always made me think of one of these old cafés. So I went in to Bar Burno and took some photos as reference.

Archival Giclee print on German etching paper
signed and numbered by the artist
limited edition of 100
A3 297 x 420 mm

90 GBP