Camden Town has always had a very special place in my heart. Not only because of the fantastic markets, international street food, great pub culture and music venues all over the show. It’s probably because of the atmosphere of the place I grew up with. At the end of the day, Camden was my very first place to call home in London when I moved over there and had the time of my life.
It was slightly different back then from what you can see now- tourists and locals somehow co-existed together, all the chain shops only slowly started entering the space, it cost 3 quid to get a big portion of curry and the police didn’t really care how drunk or stoned you were.
In the summer I used to spend all days by the Regent’s Canal, going for a walk, listening to buskers, reading books or just drinking cider with the others. Cause there was always some familiar face over there- no matter what time of the day you turned up, you would always meet some friends to hang out with as if they had been there all the time. Most of us didn’t even carry mobiles with us- we didn’t need them- everyone just knew of all the events and gathering spots and if something was going on you could be sure all your mates would be there, too. We were all from different countries, different backgrounds but no one was bothered. You just felt a part of the community, it felt like home.
Even later on when I got a ‘proper’ job I would still spend afternoons by the Canal with my work mobile on, having a vigorous discussion with the others, over cheap curry and a pint of Strong Bow, with some indie rock played in the background. I loved it back then, living in the area was basically living the dream.
The dreams though, happen to be nightmares sometimes and for some of the people I know they certainly did. Rock’n’roll is wicked but the easy access to drugs and alcohol which often comes with it may be tricky. We all know dear Amy and her tragic story- there’s even a sculpture of her in Camden which I hate, simply because, whoever it was supposed to represent, it doesn’t look like Amy at all.
Anyway, sadly, Amy was just one of hundreds Camden dwellers gone far too young, far too soon and in such heart-breaking circumstances. I too, lost a precious person myself and I watched a lot others go through this as if it was the price to pay for living in a cool place. The price not included in the rent, and far too high for a bunch of 20 year-olds.
The dark side though, is not something I want to talk through in here because Camden genuinely was a place to love. And it still is, it’s just very different now. Some of its people are gone, the others moved out of the area, there are a few lucky ones working in creative business like we all wished for and there are a few sitting at home because there’s nobody to hang out with anymore.
‘Our’ side of the Canal has been closed, as there are plans to build a school, cinema and some fancy houses for the rich over there. Well, I guess everything changes.
Such a nostalgic post! Trust me, I didn’t really mean it to be like this. I don’t like going that personal in here but on the other hand, when something means the world to you, it’s hard to keep the distance and Camden, as well as London as a whole, certainly means it to me.
What about you? Do you have any memories related to Camden Town? I would be more than happy to hear them 🙂