I’ve lived in some historic places over the years — Paris, Greenwich Village, Washington — but it wasn’t until I spent a winter in Chelsea a year ago that I felt as if I were inside a diorama. The ur-Chelsea, I mean: London, not the quarter of Manhattan that provided Joni Mitchell with inspiration for a song and, in the process, Bill and Hillary Clinton with a name for their newborn daughter. For historical voyeurism, London’s Chelsea is hard to beat, especially if you incline to artist-writer types, or as my late friend Christopher Hitchens would put it, “people of that kidney.”