I love Marchmont Street. It’s a strange little street that runs through most of Bloomsbury. It has a slightly villagey feel, being the sort of place where you can find things you actually need. A short walk will take you to Holborn or Kings Cross, both bustling metropolitan areas, and yet this place has somehow managed to resist the Central London trend of throwing up three Starbucks per street. Indeed, it’s almost entirely free of chain stores (they’ve apparently been appeased by the nearby presence of the Brunswick Centre), and has a cosy, old-fashioned high street feel.
That’s not to say it’s just an escapee from the suburban villages. It also has a number of more unusual establishments, one of which is depicted above. The School of Life is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It’s a sort of one-stop-philosophy-shop. In concept, it sounds like something out of a Monty Python sketch – you can go in and buy confidence, spirituality, family values, even the art of seduction is on offer. Some of the events advertised at the time of writing include “Seduction Sermon”, “How to be an Idle Parent” and “A Sky Weekend” (I had one of those once. I sat around all weekend watching sitcoms on Sky. Never regretted it).
The shop front, with its selection of books, is worth a good browse in itself. All in all, I think I may have to make a return visit. If that visit should happen to fall on the “seduction” sermon, then I think it’s my duty as a chronicler to investigate.