Of course in reality it is a churning sea of individual stories, most private, some very public, but all subject to undertows of powerful emotion.
This exact part of town, north of Soho, east of Jude law sadie frost swinging, was immortalised by the novelist Patrick Hamilton. He wrote about the drunken denizens of pubs in the Thirties, their sexual infatuations and embarrassments, and I'm here today to meet a woman who has become just as emblematic of hedonism and heartache in our own age. In fact, with her vintage clothes and cloche hair, Pearl Lowe could easily belong in a photograph from an earlier era, most likely by Bill Brandt, whose iconic portrait of Francis Bacon on Primrose Hill contained something of the dissolute glamour which has come to be associated with that area of London in the Noughties.
Lowe is a former member of the so-called "Primrose Hill set", the hard-partying gang of actors, musicians and ace-faces that includes Kate Moss and Pete Doherty. The scene came to national prominence in when Lowe found herself at the centre of a story alleging that she and her partner Danny Goffey had "wife swapped" with Jude Law and Sadie Frost.
It was odd seeing Lowe in the tabloids. She seemed violently out of context, as though someone had torn her from an old silver gelatin print and pasted her clumsily into the News Of The World.
Here was a creature of the shadows shoved, blinking and cringing, into the spotlight. It was quite a blow to us and our Jude law sadie frost swinging. Now a fashion designer, Lowe is the former singer with Powder, a band that had some success during the mid-Nineties.
The pair would be mere minor characters in the history of British music, were it not for both Jude law sadie frost swinging "wife swap" scandal and the more recent revelation that Lowe's first-born, Daisy, a successful model, is the daughter of Gavin Rossdale, the British rock star married to Gwen Stefani.
Both controversies are covered, the latter more extensively, in Lowe's forthcoming autobiography All That Glitters. The main subject, however, is drugs. Lowe explains in great detail what it's like for a mother of three to be addicted "hopelessly and perilously" to first heroin then cocaine.
She has now been clean for over two years, and can recollect in tranquillity those tranquillised years. The point of the book is to show people, preferably other addicted mothers, that it is possible to turn your life around.
She also hopes that her young children will read the book before they get to an age before they start experimenting with drugs. There's no point doing it half-arsed, though there are maybe one or two stories that didn't make it into the book because they were too brutal.
It's hard to imagine what these might be. The book is Jude law sadie frost swinging frank to the point of masochism, as if Lowe is punishing herself by confessing the worst in public.
There's the time when Powder are due to play an important concert as part of the Reading Festival only for Lowe to discover that she is having a miscarriage; rather than cancel the show, she takes half a gram of coke, changes into a black dress that won't show the blood and performs to subsequently poor reviews.
Jude law sadie frost swinging a later occasion, while six months pregnant with her son Frankie, Lowe attends a party in Paris thrown by someone high up in the fashion world. It is peopled by Hollywood stars, supermodels and famous designers. After dinner, lines of cocaine are brought to the table on silver trays.
Clean since she learned about the pregnancy, she is unable to resist, and begins using openly at the table. Goffey has to physically pull her out Jude law sadie frost swinging the party and back to the hotel to get her to stop. To hear Lowe tell it, the models who persuaded her to snort the drugs were like two devils on her shoulders.
That's the only way I can describe it. That particular event was all about beauty and decadence. There was coke on trays, but you had to leave your soul at the door.
I know I do not fit into that world at all. I can't be around that any more.
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I wouldn't even put myself in that situation now. Lowe and her family have been living in the Hampshire countryside since August Once queen of the London party scene or if not queen, at least some kind of debauched duchess she now leaves her rural retreat only rarely and would probably rather not be Jude law sadie frost swinging the capital today.
Not that she looks like anyone's idea of a bumpkin. All in black, save a pale green scarf, and with saucer eyes hovering in a storm system of mascara, she's Louise Brooks meets Edie Sedgwick. At 38, she sits like a child with her toes pointing inwards, and does not touch the bowl of strawberries on the table. It could be a symbolist painting titled Forbidden Fruit.
I ask about guilt. Looking back, how does she feel about spending nearly a decade as a drug addict while her family was very young? But I do regret not seeing my children grow up properly. I call them the missed years.