Soho in the centre of the West End is famous for a number of things, even a number of communities which base themselves around the Soho area. If you ask people who have been around a while, they may say that Soho is known for the sex trade but this is not the whole truth, the truth is that Soho is known for being more than just a red light area.
Clippers look just like street prostitutes but they are not, they sell themselves as street prostitues but they never have sex for money, they pretend to be on the game and they will use all kinds of tricks to separate their mark from his money, they need sixty up front to get the flat, oh and a fiver to buy condoms, anything that will work and it is surprising what will work with men when they have the prospect of sex in their minds. Once they’ve got as much as they think they are going to get, they are gone, and don’t think that they’ll never fool you because they know how to choose their mark and once chosen they have many many ways of making an escape. Just exactly what are you going to do anyway? Go to the police?
Now this is where the real prostitutes hang out, you will see a multitude of shady doorways with hand written neon coloured cardboard signs advertising a model on the first, second and third floors. This is what the old guys meant then when they said that Soho was known for the sex trade because if you walk up one of these flights of stairs you will simply find a room with a girl and you pay your way and do what you need to do. Don’t try and cheat these girls though because you can be sure that there will be a very big eastern European bloke just a few seconds away, and let’s be fair, if you have sex with a girl then try to cheat her out of the agreed amount, well it’s your own fault.
Strip clubs (clipper joints)
There are hundreds of strip clubs all over London but these in Soho were notorious for helping you run up massive bills for nothing and then the gorillas would come out and they would extract the money with menaces or force, whichever was necessary. Thankfully in the last couple of years the numbers of these places has reduced massively, there are a couple of the more reputable strip joints around, ones which will still cost you a lot of money while selling you the illusion of sex, but at least they won’t actively rob you.
These still exist, although mainly on one little alleyway now, they are fascinating places which sell you a glimpse of the stripping ladies for small money, which of course needs to be topped up all the time in order to see it through to the end. It must be profitable in this branch though as some of these places have been around for years and years.
There is no shortage of these however, often in the basement of what seems like a perfectly ordinary book shop, there are all varieties of these, there is a big Ann Summers aimed at the couples market, the more seedy types aimed at single men and then the gay sex shops which are of course very visible here in Soho.
Now of course the man who started all this was the King of Soho, Geoffrey Anthony Quinn, known as Paul Raymond, he started the first strip club in the UK and bought so much property that he became known as the King of Soho, he died a few years ago after living his last years as a recluse in a penthouse near the Ritz Hotel, his teenage granddaughters being the heir to his £650 million pound fortune. The Raymond Revue bar building is still there but it is more burlesque than strip nowadays.
Slur loves Soho!