Letter To Boris Johnson

Dear Mr Johnson,

With great urgency, I am writing to you as a Soho resident on behalf of the Soho community and the performing arts community of the West End.

As outlined by Alex Proud in the press this week:

“Due to an unfortunate incident, the world renowned entertainment venue Madame Jo Jo’s in Soho has been closed. This sorry tale started in late October when there was a violent altercation between the club’s bouncers and a customer. It was pretty nasty and neither side comes out of it well. The police report into the incident recommended the club’s licence be suspended. Fair enough.
In the interim, the club changed its manager and selected a team of bouncers that Westminster council had approved. You’d think this would be the end of it. But no. Last week Jo Jo’s, which has been trading under its current name since the 1960s, had its licence permanently revoked and half a century of Soho history ended.”

The demolition of Madame Jo Jo’s has now been approved by Westminster council and Soho Estates are set to carry out their redevelopment plans without even allowing one last performance at the club.

I am a local resident and performer. I have lived and performed in Soho for 20 years, as did my mother before me and my grandfather before her. A large part of my work has been devoted to the preservation of Soho’s history and it’s enduring character. Given my passion and love for Soho, and it’s future, it would be improper for me not to ask for your support.

If every Soho establishment that suffered an incident similar to this had their license permanently revoked, countless establishments would close and the character and charm of the area that has attracted a global audience for more than half a century would soon disappear from the heart of our city. The removal of Madame Jo Jo’s also makes it open season for further removal of small independent establishments in Soho, a horrifying thought for anyone who supports Soho’s 400 year old legacy as a fertile ground for innovation and creation. In addition, Madame Jo Jo’s has long been an important platform for emerging artists. Everyone from Adam Ant to Adele has performed there, not to mention the stars of tomorrow whose talent and craft have been nurtured in small venues like Jo Jo’s.

The british music industry is one of our largest exports. Some of the biggest acts in the world began their careers by performing in small venues in Soho. The Who, The Kinks, Spandau Ballet, The Animals, The Sex Pistols and Oasis to name but a few. If venues like this continue to be removed from our precious landscape, where will the British musical exports of tomorrow be able to showcase their talent and skill to the British music industry? An industry that is largely based in central London.

There are two questions that we would deeply appreciate your response to:

1. Will you support our newly formed coalition of performers, residents and politicians ‘Save Soho’, whose aim is to liaise with developers to achieve a compromise and halt the destruction of iconic venues?

2. Would you be happy to support a request to Soho Estates from myself and the performing arts community to reopen the venue under new management as soon as possible?  The council already support us on this matter.

As I write this, I look out of my window on Frith St which oversees the legendary jazz venue Ronnie Scott’s. Ronnie Scott’s is a benchmark for Soho institutions that have been operating successfully for over 50 years. Over the road is a blue plaque remembering the tenancy of one Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  Soho’s enduring attraction as a global destination has always depended on building around and adding to what has gone before. Not by removing it. Not by demolishing it.

Viva freedom of expression.

My cosignatories and I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely

Tim Arnold ‘The Soho Hobo‘,  Singer songwriter
Benedict Cumberbatch, Actor
Stephen Fry, Actor and writer
Paul O’Grady MBE, TV Presenter and Actor
June Brown MBE, Actress
Ben Miller, Actor and Comedian
Pete Townshend, Musician and Songwriter
Roger Daltrey CBE, Singer
Gemma Arterton, Actress
Gary Kemp, Songwriter and Actor
Ricky Wilson, Musician
Robert Elms, BBC Radio London
Tracie Bennett, Actress
Bill Curbishley, Manager of The Who
Eddie Izzard, Actor and Comedian
Imelda May, Singer
Ann Mitchell, Actress
Phil Daniels, Actor
Shane Richie, Actor
Jessie Wallace, Actress
Janet Suzman DBE, Actress
Jill Halfpenny, Actress
Errol Brown, CBE
Peter Straker, Cabaret Artiste
Steve Furst, Actor and Comedian
Hamish Jenkinson, Chairman of Free the Children UK
Kit Hesketh Harvey, Cabaret Artiste
Issy van Randwyck, Cabaret Artiste
Sylvia Coleman, Entertainment Lawyer
Jenny Hall, Actress
Polly Perkins, Singer and Actress
Kevin Eldon, Actor and Comedian
Debi Allen, DAA Management
Guy Chambers, Musician
Mark Morriss, Musician
David Arnold, Composer
Matthew Wright, Presenter
Matt Berry, Actor and musician

Idris Elba, Actor
Walter Mair, Composer
Mike Gunn, Comedian
Hamstall Ridware, Musician
Dave Allison, Producer
Leo Kearse, Comedian
Peter Bradshaw, Actor and Writer
Julian Dutton, Writer & Actor
Andy Lewis, Musician and DJ
Janey Godley, Comedienne and Writer
John Fallon, Musician
Lewis Schaffer, Comic
Dan Thompson, Artist and DJ
Norman Lovett, Actor and Comedian
Andy Serkis, Actor
Lorraine Ashbourne, Actress
Chip Somers, Focus 12
Joe McGann, Actor
Simon Wells, Writer
Rachel Kate Springett, Producer
Nick Corbin, Singer
Trevor lock, Playwright , Comedian , Broadcaster
Yianni Agisilaou, Comedian
Mark Dolan, Comedian
Matthew Westwood, Playwright
Charlie Brooks, Actress
Terry Johnson, Theatre Director
Lesley Lewis, The French House
Mark Davyd, Music Venue Trust
Tony Grounds, Screenwriter
Ben Spiller, 1623 Theatre
Jonathan Noyce, Musician
Sarah Louise Young, Cabaret Artiste
Jackie Boy Mercer, The Carnabys
Clayton Littlewood, Author
Christopher Biggins, Actor
Richard Brecker, Brecker Goldsmith Ltd
Neil Tennant, Pet Shop boys
Cass Browne, Musician
Nick Southwood, Musician and Songwriter
Mark Arden, Actor and Comedian
Leo Kearse, Comedian
Adam Ant
Mark Moore, Musician and DJ
Jamie Clark, Theatre Producer
Matt Roper, Writer & Comedian
Arthur Mathews, Comedy Writer & Actor
Mitch Winehouse, Singer
Al Cowie, Comedian
David Schneider, Actor and Comedian
Tom Canton, Actor
Bruce Dessau, Arts Critic
George Shilling, Record Producer
Ray Gelato, Musician
John Fleming, Writer / Producer
Nick Corbin, Musician
Howard Raymond, Raymond Estates
Anne Pigalle, Singer
Leslie Hardcastle, President of The Soho Society
Paul Dimoldenberg, Labour Leader for Westminster Council
Trisha Bergonzi, New Evaristo Club
John Hamilton
Andy Isaac
Matt Barker
Julie Wayte
Jon Attfield
Chris Sklavounos, Musician
Gaz de Vere, Photographer
Georgina Sutcliffe, Actress
Glenn Gregory
Rachel Pennington
Louise Holland
Tony Coote
James Wakefield
Jo Curran
Tamara Catlin-Birch, Photographer
Woody Woodmansey, Drummer
Andrew Potter
David Cox, PR
Simon Reeves
Isabelle Rose
Ben Marshall
Deba Morris
Simone Marie, Musician & DJ
Nicola Stawiarski
Paul Abraham
Steve Townley
Georgia Fleury Reynolds
Colin Vaines
James Simos
Elle Fallon, Photographer
Noel Qualter
Erin Cramer
James Munns
Gerald McMorrow
Robert Loch
Jeannie Pittard-Whitmarsh
Gavin Poolman
Joan Lockwood
Tom Wainwright
Stephen Donnelly
Daniel John Selfe
Sarah Ward
Mikaela Honeywill, Make-Up Artist
JP Greenock
Anser Shah
Edwina McPherson
Melanie Berman
Rob Winder
Colin Leggett
Bernadette Lintunen
JoJo Dye
Caroline Toms, Model
Claire Morgan
Claire Edwards
Kate Fawkes
Sandra Holiday
Ibrahim Mukhayer
Kumar Muniandy
Katy Bruce, Retired
Mike Berman, Costumier
Alison Owen, Film Producer
Adam Longworth, Voice Artist
Carol Follett
Sharon Spooner, Student
Susie Tullett-Brophy, Publicist
Jamie Gunn, Consultant
Jack Whitaker, Bartender
Jenny Pollitt, Gallerist/Curator
Jasper Graham, Producer
Malcolm J Bubb, Retired Commerical Film Producer
Sarah Naughton, Actress
Lou Oliver, Lawyer
Athena Trapalis, Physiotherapist
Yoshinori Ishikawa, Office Worker
Vicky Unwin, Writer
Susan Thornhill
Mike Pecucci, Musician
Dr Sue Black, Computer Scientist
Paul Robinson, Bar Manager
David Morrissey, Actor & Director
Stephen Marcus, Actor
Kim Mottier, Teacher
Anna Kirrage, PR Consultant
Adrian Meehan, Founder of Soho Radio
Larry Lawes, Soho Firefighter
Ron McElroy, Musician
Nicola Hurden
Nicola Morris, Head of Digital
Sarah Lynch, Production Editor
Helena Mckenzie, Film Executive
Paul Frankl, Filmmaker
Philip Gould, Musician
Guy Press, Producer & Director
Paul Tadman, Musician & Actor
Krystyna York Tadman, Solicitor
Marcello de Martis, Musician
Tim Ayling, Learning Support Assistant
Taurus Trakker, Musician
Jeff Atkinson, Baker
Rebecca Rock, Designer
Alex Franklinos, Recording Studio Owner
Sonja Kittelsen, Retired
Fizzy, Film Teacher
Rebecca Garrett, Media Agency CEO
Sabrina Haslam, Paralegal
Anil Desai, Comedian & Actor
Jill Barrett, Chorist
Davidr Findlay, Manager
Maud Johnson, Bookseller
Sarah Holmwood, Mother
Philip Staines, Teacher
Matt Michael, Video Editor
Mark Jones, Barrister
Woodstock Taylor, Musician
Adrian Juste, Voiceover Artist
Trevor Jones, Comedy Promoter & Booker
Ronnie Johnson, Musician
Tim de Ferrars, Consultant
Marco Marenda, Consultant
David Olof Carney
Alison Cooper, Film Producer
Sonnie Rae, Retired Plugger
Louise Mesa, Social Researcher
Cesar Mesa Acosta, Percussion Teacher
Chris Sheehan, Co-Founder / Director Karousel Music
David Gofton
Paul Denman
Von Icke
Maggie Currie, Author, Motivational Speaker, Life Coach
Mark Baxter, Writer / PR
Piera Mattiucci, 12 Bar Club
Jason Holmes, Writer & Journalist
Tobias Zaldua, Filmmaker & Musician
Jeremy Howard, Writer
Stuart Deabill, Author
Grant Marsh, Musician
Patrick Forge, DJ, Broadcaster, Producer
Steve Fisher, Musician
Darron J Connett, Musician
Wendy Dare, Administrator
Mick Habeshaw Robinson, Pub/Club/Gig Runner
Karen Stephens, Clerk
Chris Makris, Teacher
Jack Toker, Guitar Repairer & Musician
David Rhys Lewis, Security Guard
Simon Brighty, Graphic Designer
Vincent Alexander, Writer
Charlie Carter, Actor
Paul D Brazill, Writer / Teacher
Debra Hall, Mental Health Act Co-ordinator
Wendy Pocknell, Retired
Eric Ceccarini, Photographer / Artist
Helen Nicholas, Front of House Manager
Manvir Hothi, Social Worker
Carol O’Doherty, The Carlisle Arms
Mick O’Doherty, The Carlisle Arms
Roxie Norton, Student
Florence Joelle, Singer Songwriter
Mark King, Manager
Eric Waring, Web Developer
James Gray, Teacher
P Ottavio, Photographer
Anna Axelsson, University Lecturer
Eloise Norton, Student
Peter Ellison, Education Advisor
Sister Cookie, Musician & DJ
Mark McKendrick, Bassist
Mark Sharrocks, Dressmaker
Tom Wing, Record Store Worker
Stevie Savage, Musician
Octavia Beazley, Artist
Andy Kennedy, Local Government Officer
Alan Barnes, Information Technology
Sami Trillo-Blanco, Legal Secretary
Alice Jayne, Musician
Alice Driscoll, Costumier
David Harwood, Civil Servant
Richie Kyle, Fitness Pro
Michael Payne, Chef
Carlotta, Reservationist & Musician
Tina Swasey, Musician
Graham Beswick, Entrepreneur
Adam Finch, Film Editor
Sam Szczepanski, Music Consultant
Dan Lees, Comedian
Charlotte Allen, University Lecturer
Michael Darton, Editor
Alice Robinson, Director
Samantha Hughes, Civil Servant
Gerry Barber, Driver
Graham Lentz, Writer & Broadcaster
Hywel Morgan, Actor (and Equity Councillor)
Robert Flemming, Marketing & Musician
Oli Collins, Graphic Designer
Tam Watchman Storrar, Soho  Chef
Anthony Connett, Retailer
Nigel Robinson, Journalist / Author
Lissa Lebel, Independent Film Exec.
Paul Dodd, Paramedic (West End)
Martin Craig, Musician
Sarah Munro, Administrator
Louis Waymouth, Artistic Director & Writer
Fred Bartlett, Hotelier
Richard Stockdale, Sound Consultant
Stiina, Student
Ashley Harvey, Manager (VisitBritain)
Kiria Lepink, Musician
Eugenie Matthias
Mark Winstanley, Performer
Adam Bishop, Advertising Director / Singer
Chrysanthe Grech, Actor /Singer
Fredrika Debrabant, Ex Dancer
Lisa Brady, Actor
Michal Kosinar, Soho Chef
Geoffrey Docherty, Rock Promoter
Jane Lamacraft, Self-Employed
Reya Norton, Student
Zeb Red, Director
Keith How, Actor / Writer
Clare Stevenson, Writer
Samantha Orchard, Resource & Planning Consultant
Vivien Wilson, Fashion Designer
Wendy May, DJ
Rob Lane, Furniture Designer/Maker
Kirsten Neil, Singer & Dancer
Andy Fenton, Musician / Songwriter
Andy Neal, Plumber / Musician
Scarlett Fu, Graphic Designer
Duncan Brown, Translator / Editor / Musician
Zsuzsa Nagy, Fraud Investigator
Jan Pomerans, Composer
Trevor Jary
Chris Lee, Musician
Joel Fisher, Director
Louisa Tee, Opera Singer
Sam Brettingham, Designer
Geraldine Eardley Menzies, Producer
Dorian Levy, Student
MrJoshyS, PR & Celebrity Events
Steph Walker, Student
Fiona McAlister, Preventative Support Manager / Singer
Howard Scoones, Production Worker
Lynn House, Administrator
Ruby Todd, Actor, Student
Jonathan Davey, Landscape Gardener
Karine Lepeuple, Design Centre Director
Sarah Middleton, Actor
Paul Phelan
Rakel Valdimarsdottir, Actor
Christopher Arrow, Musician
Daniel Holliday, Artist
Nicolai Amter, Director
Craig Wardman, Accountant
Anne Worrall, Retired
Ivo Almond, Student
Cathy Wilkes, PA
Dr Paul Phillips, General Practitioner
Duncan Noble, Musician
Bernadette Keeffe, Musician
Willie Dowling, Musician
Olivia Warren, Acting Student
Danny Pockets, Artist
Lizzie Crees, EA
Lindsay Picard, Accounts Assistant
Jane Brewer, Student (on the Knowledge)
Wesley Lineham, Actor
Amy Gallimore, Retail
Gareth Evans, Simulation Technician
Ed Parry, Actor / Drag Artist
Jeffrey Munday, DJ
Annie Morris, University Lecturer
Stacey Thomas, Bar Owner
Luke O’Doherty, Actor, Musician & Writer
Alexandra Blum, Hostess
Naomi Sachs, Actress
Sesame Lovatt, Manager
Ben Goldsmith, Actor / Student
Jasmine Perry, Web Content
Louise Weir, Illustrator & Academic
Alex Martin
James Harris, Graphic Artist
Michael Johnson, Baker
Anna Fordham, Training Actor / Musician
Jon Odgers, Musician
Jackie Burdon, PR Consultant
Shanne Bradley, Musician / Artist / Actor
Gina Birch, Singer / Songwriter
Cammy Sinclair, Clown
Karl Aldred, Student
Paul Burgess, University Lecturer
Colin Stewart
Brent Adams, Producer (Soho Radio)
Oliver Cherer
Paul Delve, Photographer
Sian Gibson, Student
Maya Thomas, Actress
Simon Crabb, Painter
Zoe Tyler, Student
Edward Hole, Actor/ Musician
Rosie Snell, EA
Emma Royd, Make-up Artist
Johanna Elderfield, Marketing
Alex Anstey, Film Editor
Ian Thompson, Musician & Lecturer
Kirsten Reynolds. Artist / Musician
Catriona Rowland, Project Manager
Edward Houghton, Designer / Maker
Stan Grant, Counsellor
Tiff McGinnis, Artist
Alan Babington, DJ
Lenny George, Event Manager
Andrew Millar, Artist
Gabrielle Langbridge, Home Maker
Georgina Parker, Fundraising, Charity Sector
Katharine Wallinger, Musician
Claire Cantrell, Circus & Cabaret Performer
Craig Charlton Kemm, Graphic Artist
Adam Castledine, Writer
Diane Taylor, Carer
Maurice Stevens, Film Director
Ann Stevens, Retired
John Stephens, Artist
Emma Cammack, Body Painter & Artist
Wayne Fullwood, Musician
Amanda Fullwood, Artist
Gemma Eggle, Bar Tender at 12 Bar Club
Laura Cavanagh, Artist
Andrew Burke, Musician
Tom Blythe, Editor
Robin Jessup, DJ
Toby Zundel, Adolescent Psychiatrist
Lucrecia Hedinger, PR
Elizabeth Milburn
Mary Volk, Art School Admin
John Rackham, Actor / Writer / Filmmaker
Jonathan Organ, Media
Kate Wilson, Fundraiser
Darren Olley, Drummer
Alex Reeves, Journalist
Mike Reeves, Retired
Daniel, Copywriter / Carer
Skelly Be, DJ / Host / Event Organiser
Nicki Morris, Education Manager
Steve Deveraux, Musician
Al Huggins, Company Director
Chris Evans, Presenter & Broadcaster
Gaby Roslin, BBC London
Lorna Sage, Retired
Douglas William Wise, Retired Schoolmaster
Noreen Helen Wise, Retired
Lucy Sheen, Actor / Writer / Filmmaker
Mike Woods, Creative Director
Tim Baker, Designer & Artist
Chloe, Radio Producer
Urszula Anna Juziuczuk, Sales Director & Business Owner
Edward Andrew Grant, Mechanical Engineer
Dawn Whelan, Designer
Paul Bakalite, Resident
Ben Nicholls, Journalist
Nyeeta Tish, Client Services Director, Advertising
Nezih Savaskan, Filmmaker
Ben Tish, Chef
Nikki Barltrop, Hospitality
Ben Cook, Marketing Manager
Ellie Costello, Photographer & Fundraiser
Boon Yew Chew, UX Designer
Martin Clark, Theatre Ticket Sales
Alistair Holloway, Journalist
Joel Crookes, Producer / DJ
Stephen Nuttall, Research
Avani Kamal, Student Designer
Danny Macleman, Chartered Accountant
Ian Hawking
Steve Taylor, Communications Manager
Scott Benton, Councillor
Gianpaolo Ansaloni, Economist
Helen Perret, Artist
Matt King, Education