Now take Sloane Square ...

London Newspaper Group — CN/WPN 04-07-1980

Long Look — Now take Sloane Square ...

By Christopher Long

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"Now you take Sloane Square," said a total stranger sitting beside me in a pub last week as I sat waiting for a friend.

"You take Sloane Square," he repeated, with all the big-hearted generosity that comes from a lunchtime of solid, concentrated drinking.

While I had visions of Sloane Square arriving on my doorstep, gift-wrapped with a bow on top, I was also wondering how I could dodge what promised to be a rather one-sided and possibly embarrassing conversation that I had done nothing to encourage.

"It's not square, you know," he pointed out. "Not square at all."

"You have a look at it. You know Sloane Square? Well, you have a look at it and see. You know Sloane Square? You know where I'm talking about?" he insisted, sounding and looking as if I might just be pretending to know where Sloane Square was, just to string him along.

"Well, you have a look – see if I'm telling you a lie."

Turning away from me, clearly thinking that the true significance of what he'd been saying had been totally lost on me, he addressed the empty chair on his other side, proceeding to repeat his allegations in a stage whisper that I wasn't supposed to hear.

"Square! Call it a square! Don't know what they're doing. Look at it ..."

... and so on for quite a long time thereafter.

And there, no doubt, the whole matter would have rested; the fact that Sloane Square isn't square at all being tucked away in the back of my mind along with other snippets of vital information that just might be useful one day – like that fact that the mean annual rainfall of Central South America is 120 inches a year, according to a geography text book twenty-three years ago.

But, as I drove round Sloane Square last week on my way to the Royal Court Hotel – where Tory M.P. Teddy Tayor was due to speak out against a fiercely anti-Tory play due to appear at the Royal Court Theatre next door – I looked at Sloane Square with greater attention than usual.

I feel sorry for Sloane Square, much as I love it. Deep inside Sloane Square there's probably a circle or a triangle trying to get out. Neglected and taken for granted, all Sloane Square needs is for someone to 'understand' it and allow it to be its real self and not to be encumbered by the 'squareness' that we have unfeelingly imposed on it.

"Now you take World's End ..."

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© (1980) Christopher Long. Copyright, Syndication & All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
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