Camden is a part of London that swings so much the tube station closes periodically to incoming passengers just because it is too busy. There are plans to expand the railway platforms but this will mean moving some of the iconic buildings that adorn Camden High Street. This is currently my block as I am preparing a short play to be performed here over the Summer. Whilst I was picking out photographs to share on the blog my mobile caught the back end of tweets saying a fire had moved through a part of Camden Markets.
Thankfully no one is hurt by the flames but the markets are momentarily deserted. The eerie sense of emptiness, due to a temporary evacuation, makes the memories of the place more intense. I remember buying my first leather jacket in Camden Market and heading to a rock concert. I always feel young in Camden and I trip over my younger self every time I pass the iconic ‘Black Cap’ tavern where everyone gets a welcome.
There is always a scuffle, or full out fight in the street where the loser gets dumped on some garbage but no one gets hurt. The most pain I have witnessed is amongst the families with adolescents dining on £3 Chinese ‘mix up’ buffet who decide now is the time to reveal true feelings. Whilst everything about Camden is in the here and now, older London architecture is featured here.
I find Camden impossibly self-revelatory and practical. The old stables that run past the canal is converted to house up and coming stalls full of entrepreneurs selling products they honestly believe in. From crazy inflatable bags, flashing glasses, tattoos and designer T shirts; everything is for sale.
There is something in the air here that reinvents the past. The shops selling goth fashions feel fresh although the street hasn’t changed much since it featured in classic films such as ‘Withnail and I’. In medieval times there was a site for hanging criminals opposite where the tube station now stands, giving a darker side to this area of London that was named after a land owner.
The market reopens soon enough after the all clear is given from the fire. Twitter (again) announces this. I breathe a sigh of relief no permanent damage has been done to the horse statues, captured mid-gallop, that fill the old market. The photographs above hold a new value to me. It took a string of tweets for me to re-appreciate a culture and a place I take for granted. Unlike the bright colours of the Mohicans around me it’s subtle how places become part of our own history.
Writers exploring their familiar surroundings can be enjoyed here and below
More tales of intriguing locations and how they relate to stories are here and below