Champagne splits signal recession over

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If ever there was a place to declare “Recession, what recession?” it’s London‘s West End on a Saturday night.


In Covent Garden, every restaurant is packed. Pub windows disclose drinkers squeezed in like on the rush hour underground. I walk past one pub, the Porterhouse, where people are queuing to get into the cordoned-off pavement area at the front of the pub, at six in the evening.


By the time I come out of the Vaudeville Theatre where Marcus Brigstocke is playing, all the theatres are kicking out and it’s bedlam, with crowds of blondes in evening dress piling out of Dirty Dancing and trying to hail cabs. Families are pouring out of The Lion King onto the Strand, and even the bike rickshaw taxis are picking up trade.


But the most surprising counter-recessionary sight of all for me is that the theatre ushers who usually sell icecream tubs in the intervals, are selling half-bottles of champagne from chiller trays round their necks.

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