The mingled smell of urine and disinfectant rising from the drains isn’t strong enough to compete with the sound of the massed ranks, the theatre goers pouring onto the street in a vaguely westward ooze (there’s a general assumption that a Tube station lies in that direction); with the drinkers, whose shoulders nudge open street doors, hunch over hastily lit cigarettes and collide with the shoulders of the Prince Edward’s patrons; with the musical scores ringing in ears; cross words in the faces of bouncers; right hands outstretched and a hundred mumbled excuses for every coin pressed into a dirty palm; a scuffle aborted; hysterical laughter; yelling; an unlikely preacher at the theatre’s corner.

But now.

At this moment.

The mingled smell of urine and disinfectant imposes itself.

Old Compton Street is empty.