25 April 2017 | 3 °C

Londonist Loves...A Bench in Soho Square

By Craigie_B Last edited 119 months ago
Londonist Loves...A Bench in Soho Square
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Kirsty MacColl's final album was the rather wonderfully Cuban-influenced Tropical Brainstorm which included the 2000 hit 'In these Shoes'.

Her career had always had its fair share of ups and downs, but a disproportionate amount of her seminal work (either her own songs or cover versions) seems to tap directly into our own feelings and memories at the time - Walking Down Madison, collaboration with the Pogues, A New England, Days.

After the success of Brainstorm, Kirsty took her family to Mexico on holiday. While scuba-diving in a safe and restricted area, a speed-boat headed straight for them. She managed to push her son out of the way but in doing so she was killed instantly. The life of a talented artist and loving mum was ended. The circumstances around who was driving remain murky even now, despite an unrelenting seven-year Justice for Kirsty campaign launched by her family and supported by friends and fans.

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Billy Bragg still sings "her extra verses" when he performs A New England, and the Pogues highlight the campaign at each of their concerts as currently tour the US.

One of Kirsty's most poignant songs remains 'Soho Square'. From the 1994 Titanic Days album, all the tracks form part of what she called her 'sad break up album' after her divorce with Steve Lillywhite. Soho Square is about lost love on 'an empty bench' where 'the pigeons shiver in the naked trees' and as a tribute to her, fans campaigned for the necessary funds and permission from Westminster Council to place a bench in the square. The bench remains there today, on the south side and just to the right of the recent Londonist Timewarp photo.

Got a spare hour over the bank holiday weekend? Then may we suggest that you listen to Soho Square here, sign up to the Justice for Kirsty Campaign here, remind yourself of which of her songs resonate with your memories here and then go sit with a warm coffee on her bench in Soho Square to have a quiet think, here.

"One day you'll be waiting there, No empty bench in Soho Square".

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Images taken from Stephen Downes' Flickr stream and the Justice for Kirsty Campaign

Last Updated 24 May 2007

Twittervlog

Hurray for Kirsty. Didn't know about the bench. Well done for highlighting the campaign - even if success seems unlikely given the apparent corruption involved.

AUO

Yes, Kirsty's bench. I try to visit it whenever I'm in London. Still makes me cry that she's gone.
Andrea
San Francisco

Lindsey

I forget how much I love Kirsty McColl's music. Thanks, Craig!

David Levasseur

I don't know if justice could ever be served in a case like this. The pogues rock.

Greg

It's my top spot in London. I tell visitors to go there with a coffee and watch Soho come alive. Thank you for giving it a wider audience.
Loved the article

Greg