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French chanteuse Anne Pigalle hits out at corporate takeover of Soho with new exhibition

'Look what they have done to King’s Cross - It’s like a bank - we can’t let them win'

03 March, 2017 — By Tom Foot

Anne Pigalle PHOTO: Etienne Gilfillan

THE French chanteuse behind legendary club nights in the 1980s is taking up the fight against the corporate takeover of Soho with an explosive exhibition dedicated to the “misfits, destitute, derelicts and the outcasts”.

Anne Pigalle, a performer and visual artist, has been photographed by Lord Snowdon and Mario Testino, and her past club nights in the West End attracted a glittering array of celebrities including Andy Warhol, and also created the legendary Les Nuits du Mercredi at the Café de Paris in the 1980s.

“I want to bring back a lust for fun,” said Ms Pigalle. “This show is dedicated to the sick, the prostitutes, the old, the poor, the harlots and the children of London Bridge Cross and Bones cemetery, to the ghosts of the Huguenots, to the little ladies of Soho – and to women of course, as we intend to pursue our escapade, our right to freedom and joie de vivre – against the new oppressors of gentrification.”

Showtime: Les P’tites Femmes de Soho, The Perfect Escapade

She added: “The music places are going, the art galleries. Where can I hear some jazz? It’s not that people don’t want live and interesting things. It’s the developers don’t give us any choice. These sorts of places are not interesting to developers. They are closing down anything to do with culture. Soho is very close to my heart and so I feel very strongly about the destruction of Soho. Look what they have done to King’s Cross. It’s like a bank. We can’t let them win. There are less places to meet. Less places for the arts. It’s not acceptable.”

Ms Pigalle, who used to live in Meard Street, said there was a special “magic” to Soho that was dying but that if a few people get together “things can change”.

“I am a super optimist,” she added. The exhibition would appeal to modern women, the political and anyone “inspired by Soho and the spirit of freedom.”

Les P’tites Femmes de Soho, The Perfect Escapade, at We Are Cuts in 33 Dean Street, runs from March 17 to April 30.

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