The common denominator in Christopher Howse’s recollections of Soho in its heyday 20 years ago is alcohol. Characters like Francis Bacon (Champagne) and Jeffrey Bernard (vodka) seem to have spent very little of their time without a glass in hand. The young Howse was there to see it all, propping up the bar in those notorious drinking dens The Coach and Horses, the French and the Colony Room Club. These days he is a highly respectable author and columnist in the Daily Telegraph, writing about religion, language and travels in Spain. But fortunately he has not shed his nostalgie de la boue for the way Soho was before the property developers moved in and its heroic drinkers passed out for the final time.