The Ghosts of Soho’s Erotic Past

The Ghosts of Soho’s Erotic Past

6.30pm Thursday APRIL 28th 2016
Westminster Arts Library
35 St Martins Street
London WC1

Admission: £6 / £8.50 in advance only HERE

Each ticket includes a stimulatory serving of Hendricks Gin Punch

The West End: what was it about this little area of central London that made it such an intense collision of business, entertainment, history, bohemia and sleaze? We host a very special evening of performance, history, poetry and song with writer JEREMY REED and performer CELINE HISPICHE to evoke the glamorous and risqué world of Soho and Piccadilly past.jr.jpg

A soundtrack for the city will be provided by The Clerkenwell Kid.

As central London seems to become ever more bland and fringe elements are driven further and further out to the city’s edge, performer CELINE HISPICHE brings to life Soho Past: the province of Bohemians, Italians, Maltese, Chinese, spivs, gangsters, pimps, prostitutes and most recently the gay community.


Betty May

With words and songs, Celine tells the tale of the performer and singer Betty May, who was born in Limehouse poverty, but who re-invented herself as a Soho muse for the Bohemian set, her tale is set with an extraordinary supporting cast of West End characters including Aleister Crowley, Augustus John, Nina Hamnett and Jacob Epstein.


Poet and writer JEREMY REED joins us to explore Piccadilly as the historical home of the ‘dilly boy’ male prostitutes. Though it now only seems to only be the haunt of tourists, the area around the statue of Eros was once the centre of London’s clandestine gay world. The many famous punters drawn to the dilly boys and to the area have included Oscar Wilde and Francis Bacon in search of ‘rough trade’. In story and poetry accompanied by the spoken word, electro beat band The Ginger Light, Jeremy tells tales of some of the more famous former rent boys who worked the infamous ‘Meat Rack’, their secret ‘Polari’ slang and his own Piccadilly life.
CELINE HISPICHE ran away from home at the age of 14. She has been a burlesque performer, writer, at The Royal Court theatre, comedian and historian and is most recently the creator of the Betty May Musical.

JEREMY REED has published over forty award winning books of poetry, fiction and biography, and in considered British poetry’s only glamour poet. His recent books include Piccadilly Bongo, Sooner or Later Frank, The Dilly and Waiting For The Man: The Life and Music of Lou Reed.