A Neighbourhood Special

fullsizeoutput_30adI was beginning to wonder what, if anything, would coax me out of ‘retirement’ for this blog.  Turns out the intimate film viewing booth at the ‘hood’s newest addition to cafe culture has done just that.

Boca Cha Cha’s has been a long time coming to W9. We thought we had it made when Da Daniella’s appeared, but Cha Chas (as its regulars fondly call it) finally says: ‘Maida Vale – we think you’re cool enough to handle us, and by blatantly offering you a menu that offers Chia porridge we’re acknowledging just that.’

The first time I stumbled in, the day after a sunny sojourn in my perennial favourite place in the world, a film crew were noisily taking over the large window seats. ‘NO! NO! That just won’t do at ALL.  I told you when we get to LA we don’t have time for that.  You need to get back to me and come up with an alternative ASAP!’ barked the baseball hat wearing 6ft 5” tall drink of Kombucha mixed with something potentially more serious. One thing was for sure he hadn’t chosen the ‘Green Cuddle’ from the menu. 

I watched the proceedings.  All around, cameras lay supine, their owners sipping brightly coloured juices or delving into interesting looking vessels containing almond milk porridge and the like. A general air of anticipation pervaded the Balearic music-infused atmosphere.

Locals who’d clearly found their new office tapped away on shiny macs. The coffee machine did its thing. The staff, although it feels odd to say that because they’re really more like your friends from the moment you arrive, bantered with each other; stories of party weekends, the occasional high five, laughter and camaraderie prevailing. 

A flurry outside announced a happening of some sort. Camera woman number one rushed out and pointed her lens at a colourfully dressed gent kicking a football around this small tucked away street. His hair tied back in a blonde curled ponytail, bright blue graffiti decorated jacket nonchalantly hanging off one shoulder, he seemed to belong somewhere with a surf border or perhaps on a New York subway train.  

“We’re shooting a commercial” one of the crew explained to me.
“Is it about the clothes?” I asked

The tall guy grinned at me.  “It’s always about the clothes” he replied. “He’s an artist – check him out.” 

Kid Super the web informed me, in so many words, was H. O. T.

A couple of shots later and they’d all moved on. I descended the stairs to use the facilities and noticed the cinema booth.  Perhaps I’d take a seat for a while, catch my breath; this much excitement in my neighbourhood was going to take some – welcome – getting used to.


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