11 July 2009

Foyled again

Writing this from the cafe in Foyles on Charing Cross Rd after a dispiriting visit to Ray's Jazz. Its steady decline from its own shop on Shaftesbury Avenue, to a concession sharing space with the Foyles cafe on the first floor has continued with it being shunted up to the top floor. While there was something undignified about the way it felt shoehorned into the cafe, at least it must have got plenty of through-custom and at least there was a historical rightness to the combination of jazz and espresso bar in this marriage of convenience. Relegated upwards to the top of the building it now has more room, but far fewer customers. It's less an attic than a graveyard. One other customer wandered in and out while I flicked through secondhand racks full of things I remembered from my last visit a couple of months ago. Staff: one. Down in the cafe seven aproned art students eddied around behind the counter. I fully expect to return sooner or later and find that Ray's is now housed under some tarpaulin sheeting rigged up on the roof of the building. Paul Morley is walking down Charing Cross Rd below me.

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