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the girl on the (new piccadilly) cafe


New Piccadilly Cafe, London

I like this picture so much, I just use it again.

So I did the interview today. I can’t even remember what I said, it might have been utter rubbish. I do recall mentioning Bill Nighy and the movie. I think I also said that it was the first place I felt at home in London. That I always order soup and a coke there, or that I don’t actually have to order it because they just know. That I have enjoyed time there waiting for a film or a theatre play to start. And that it is horrible that it closes and that it makes me absolutely sad. I also recall that I wanted to say a million other things but somehow couldn’t find the words – it’s the camera in my face syndrome, I get nervous.

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The Girl and The (New Piccadilly) Cafe


The Cafe In quieter times …

I was visiting my Cafe today – because I still can. Because I like to be there. Because I needed a place to unstress and think. Because I felt like having a bite to eat and a cup of tea. But things are changing. The Cafe has had a lot of attention lately and newspapers writing about its closure have made people go there. New visitors, but also people who have been regulars for years are visiting while they still can. For me it felt a bit like a tourist attraction today. It was crazy busy and people were queueing for a table, which is something I have never seen before. I tried to read in peace and quiet but it was not really possible. When I walked in The Table was free which was great. But after 10 minutes, a man asked if he could sit opposite me.

Of course he could, I moved my soup plate and Parmesan cheese to the side and was about to think that I felt like being in the scene of a film I knew too well. But 5 minutes later his wife stepped in and sat down beside him, I woke up and saw that he didn’t really look like Lawrence either. It was annoying, they were loud and I didn’t really want to have them at my table. So I left quicker than I had planned, had a short chat with The Owner of THE Cafe and left with mixed feelings.

Yesterday I got another email from someone who is making a Documentary about the Cafe. I decided not to participate the last time I got asked because it was being made by people who didn’t even live in London, and I was in doubt about why they wanted to do it. I didn’t feel that the Cafe was more to them than a subject for a documentary.

Apart from that, I hate being filmed.

This time however it seems like a project with a heart for The Cafe. It is made as a thank you to The Cafe and the people working there, a collection of memories from people who came there regularly and who are passionate about the place. That sounded right in my ears so I said yes. It’s not for TV, it’s a documentary that at some point maybe will be used in an exhibition.
If all goes as planned, I will go there tomorrow for a talk. About my The Cafe.

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I put on two kisses

I don’t know why it took me this long, I guess because I all the time hoped that it wouldn’t close. That and because I am shy. So I waited for a quiet moment where there weren’t too many people around.

It’s more than a year ago, I talked about it with him. And suddenly there is only two and a half week left before it’s over and done with THE Cafe.

“Of course. Where do you want me to write?”
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I have no words

BBC London picked up on the closure of the beautiful New Piccadilly Cafe, you can watch the video clip here.

Meet Lorenzo, watch the waiters in their white uniforms, hear the bells of the cash register, enjoy the gargling pink coffee machine, check out the funky 50’s menu card and recognize scenes of The Girl in the Cafe.

And feel sad, angry, frustrated and heart broken about the fact that this is happening. That’s what I do.

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This makes me very sad

The end of the New Piccadilly Cafe seem to be nigh now. Nigh means 22nd or 23rd of September 2007.

All I can say is: go visit it if you haven’t done so.

I can’t imagine any other place in London where I would go when having a writers block, feeling depressed, wanting to read or just to drink a coke with a pink straw. News like this makes me hate London.

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Not here to be loved

When I woke up this morning I felt very weird. Weird that I didn’t need to go to work, weird wondering what I have done – quitting it, and well, my head is just still a bit confused about what is happening in my life at the moment. It will get better soon I’m sure.

A way to get me out of that kind of state of mind is the cinema, the cinema is my second home. Yes, you probably knew that already.

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Parade’s End

I made a list of things I need to buy before taking off. My calender tells me that one week from now I will be in Moscow, and I now realize how time is running very fast.

On my to buy list were (among other things) Lonely Planet’s Trans-Siberian Railway and a haircut. And a book called Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford. Let’s leave the reason why I wanted this particular book in the middle, I just want to take it with me on that long train ride.

Now I realize I am a foreigner and my English is not Oxfords. I realized that even more in New York where people didn’t understand me at all, and where they were plain rude to me. Which makes me wonder why I want to go back to New York in the first place. Oh. Yes. I remember now. Right. Don’t get distracted now, you can do it, you can write a post where you don’t mention his name. Go on. Back to the bookshop, which was Foyles on Charing Cross Road by the way. I asked the bookshop assistant for Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford. And yes, foreigner, but I can say Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford and most of my colleagues will understand what I say when I do.
Not this British bookshop lady.
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I go for the royal treatment


You want to go to the cinema. I have 2 offers for you.

Option 1
Buy a ticket on Leicester Square and see a film in one of the big cinemas over there. Don’t expect the seats to be great though. And expect people to be noisy too.
Total Price ?11.50-?12.50.
(Optional : Regular Coke : ?2.40)

Option 2
Buy a ticket in the Prince Charles for ?3 (50 meters from Leicester Square). Expect the seats to be fantastic. Expect the screen to show “Do not talk under the film” just before the film. Expect people to say “Shut up” if you do dare to talk under the film. I love that.

Buy some pink shrimps in the candy shop (I love them) for ?1.60.
Go to The Cafe, and order tomato soup, some bread and a Coke for ?3.50.

And after that enter the Prince Charles in a good mood, ready for the film.

Total Price ?8.10.

(Optional : Regular Coke in the PCC :?1.40)

So guess what I picked.

I am a regular now in the Cafe. And we are passed the chit-chat stadium. Now it’s
“What are you doing tonight – cinema again?”
“Yes”
“Which film?”
“Atomised, a German film in the Prince Charles”
“OK, describe the film to me in a few words”
“Two brothers. One is a clever professor, the other one messes up his life.That’s all I know.”
“That sounds rather, erhm, cheerful”
“I know, it sounds like crap, but it should be a good film. I can tell you how it was next time.”
“Enjoy it! And see you around.”
“I will, thank you. Bye !”

And I saw Atomised / Elementarteilchen and it was actually quite good. Movie roundup coming up one of these days, as I have seen some more. And also a bit about the strange process (for me that is) of writing a filmscript. (I have written 44 pages now, which is about half of it and it is finally taking shape).

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Scriptwriting for dummies

Not all courses are good. Actually, the scriptwriting course I attended yesterday was crap. Even though the tutor had a lot of experience writing scripts, he didn’t reallly now how to teach. And in stead of learning us what to do when writing a script, it ended in discussions about film. Cool, I like discussions about film, but not when I have paid a lot of money to learn about script writing.

So I was pretty angry and disappointed about having wasted money and a whole day when I left the course. I took the train back to London, and there was only one place to go that could make me feel better. The Cafe indeed. It’s All I Need.

Even though London is extremely overcrowded with tourists at the moment, The Cafe is always a nice and quiet place to be. My favourite seat was available, I ordered soup of day, with a cup of tea, and read my Empire magazine. It was nice.

It was extremely busy though in Denman Street, which is rare, because it is so well hidden behind Piccadilly Circus and normally a quiet spot in the heart of London. And while I for a second hoped that all those people were demonstrating to keep the Cafe open, there was another reason.

Patrick Swayze has just made his debut on the West End. He plays in “Guys and Dolls” at the Piccadilly Theatre, which is about 40 meters from The Cafe. And at the time I was in The Cafe, the matinee show had just ended, and loads and loads of people where waiting to catch a glimpse of him when coming out of the theatre. I better get used to London being a celebrity crazy town. I didn’t leave my seat in The Cafe to go look for him though.

Filmschool is waiting. It’s Directing and Light today.

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The Cafe is threathened by closure


New Piccadilly Cafe, Denman St, London W1

More and more rumours are going around that the Cafe, yes the one and only THE CAFE, is closing. The owner is facing another raise in rent, and he is not really willing to settle for that, so if things are not getting in place, they will close this summer.

I haven’t been there for a while (and I feel pretty bad about that right now), so I will go there tonight, and I hope to hear from them that things are going to be fine. It would break my heart if they had to close.

But (and this might be a last attempt), go visit the Cafe, if and/or when you are in London before it might be too late. It is a really nice place!

New Piccadilly Cafe
8 Denman Street
Piccadilly Circus
London, W1

(Here it is on a googlemap)

And some links:
New Picadilly
New Piccadilly on design classics

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