No Empty Bench in Soho Square…

"No Empty Bench in Soho Square": Plaque on Kirsty MacColl's memorial bench in Soho Square, Central London.

We’ve looked at the concept of musical memorial benches on Another Kind Of Mind before, after I came across the late Ian Dury’s lovely bench with a view in Richmond Park last summer. It was not long after this that I was told about another bench in the London area commemorating a real musical hero of mine, someone I have also written about before – the wonderful and much-missed Kirsty MacColl, who was killed in a shocking boating accident in 2000 (the same year her Stiff Records labelmate Ian Dury died too).

Those who know Kirsty’s work will not be surprised to hear that her memorial bench is situated in London’s Soho Square, or that its plaque quotes lines from her song of the same name. Funded by fans and admirers, who still visit the site each year around about her birthday to pay tribute to her, the bench was unveiled in a public ceremony in August 2001 – exactly twelve years ago today it seems, strangely enough.

Whilst up in town recently, I took the opportunity to visit this pretty little place, which is one of central London’s many well-used public squares. It was a busy weekday lunchtime, and I was hoping I’d be able to grab a few pictures of Kirsty’s bench. When I got there, the square was full of office workers and shop assistants enjoying their lunch hour in the sunshine, and my heart sank – I was never going to find what I was looking for amidst all these people.

As I walked round, checking the plaque on each bench (god only knows what the lunching workers thought I was up to!), I realised what a perfect place Soho Square is for sitting and watching the world go by, and how it must have inspired Kirsty – it really is a pleasant little corner of the city, especially when the sun is shining. After a good deal of hunting around, I finally found her bench…

… and it was empty. No-one there except me.

Feeling the need to make sure this really was no empty bench in Soho Square, I sat down and let the sun warm me for a few minutes before getting my camera out. Then, after saying a silent thank you for Kirsty’s genius, I went on my way…


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