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The Sohemian Society presents two meetings — Nov 30 and Dec 6 — tailored for nostalgic Londoners and Born-Again Londoners, both at The Wheatsheaf, 25 Rathbone Place, North Soho, W1 (admission fee: £3).

Wednesday November 30th, 7.30pm
Mark Mason, author of Walk the Lines, and Travis Elborough, The Bus We Loved: London’s Affair

Mark Mason, in his new book, Walk the Lines, travels the entire underground network on foot (above ground, that is). He finds a London of extremes, with countryside in unexpected places, poverty nestling beside prosperity, and parts of the London Underground that aren’t within London at all. Mason is accompanied by numerous characters during his sojourns, including City planner Peter Rees, a tube geek, a trainee taxi driver, the Kray twins biographer and, perhaps inevitably, Bill Drummond. Mason’s book is a mixture of witty banter, overheard conversations, historical insight and offbeat observations. It is the product of a mad and marvellous mission.

Travis Elborough‘s book is a homage to that London classic, the Routemaster, a scarlet memory from the grey postwar decade. He takes us on a historical journey of this much loved mode of transport and combines technical detail, anecdote and cultural reference (Cliff Richard and On The Buses).

Tuesday December 6th, 7.30pm
If You Can Remember The 60s, You Are Probably Miles
A talk by Barry Miles.

1960s Britain – a decade characterized by unprecedented social and economic change – saw Barry Miles, or simply Miles as he later became known, begin his impressive career as a student at the Gloucestershire College of Art. In the next few years he became established as a key figure of British subculture, making the connections that led to the birth of the notorious Indica Bookshop, the advent of the 1965 Albert Hall poetry reading, the rise of Europe’s first underground newspaper the International Times and the subsequent Paul McCartney interview that secured Miles’s reputation as a respected journalist. Thus firmly established as a major player in the media and artistic communities, he rounded off this extraordinary period of his life by running the Beatles’ Zapple label and living in New York’s Chelsea Hotel.

Copies of Miles’ book London Calling: A Countercultural History of London since 1945 will be for sale on the evening.

First posted: Tuesday, November 29th, 2011.

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