Friday, 3 October 2008

Camden Town is Crap!

I'm not sure if Camden has ever been cool in my lifetime, I think I was just lame when I was fifteen (I think we're all lame when we're fifteen), but now I live there I think it's the shittiest place in the universe. You people who live east and complain about gentrification/wankers turning up don't know shit, I am living this. Now.The thing I hate about Camden is that it's lame, not bad, not pretentious, not rough, not too posh, just lame: it's where crap people hang out and crap things happen...

As soon as you arrive out the tube you have to run the gauntlet of crap drug dealers selling crap drugs by whispering at you. They are fucking shit, because if they were real drug dealers they'd have a client base and it would all be done by mobile and they'd drop it off at your house or you'd go by their house and sure, there'd be waiting around and there'd be times when his phone was turned off, but the weed would always be ok and you'd kind of see him as a peer. The crap dealers in camden have their lives in such a poor state (crack addiction etc) that they have to solicit on the streets to naive teens because they don't have enough friends to sell to/real drugs to sell. That's a bit crap huh?

Also outside the tube are those goths in badly cut, flared, baggy trousers and Tippex on their backpacks waiting for their shitty mates. Sometimes they're really young and that's totally ok -I was like that once except I was into Lagwagon- but sometimes they're pushing thirty (no joke, I see them every day) and you have to think, 'are you going to be a clueless, pathetic dumbdumb your whole life? Is this crudely constructed, adolescent outfit really how you still see the world and how you still want the world to see you? Have you really developed that little emotionally since 1995? Don't you think that's pretty crappy?'.

Pretty much the next thing you see are the elderly street punks holding the signs for jeans stores and tattoo parlours which is pretty crap and lame as well, they're pushing forty and this is the best they can do? The guys in Rancid might still look like that but they were at least shrude enough to become millionaires. These people haven't rejected society and done something positive like gone to live on a Crass-style communal farm, and they're too lame to do something properly negative like become a real tramp, they haven't rejected society at all, they're just on the sole of its shoe! They are crap. Next!

Next you'll notice the market, which is fucking crap, it sells nothing of substance at all, no authentic goods, no vintage clothes, no rare records -basically, none of the things the world thinks it sells. All it sells are Doc Martins knock-offs, joke t-shirts with bad puns or logo pastiches (speaking of which, look out for the Noodles and Broth/Suicidal Tendencies shirt soon, ahem), slightly better bootleg band tshirts than the ones available in the other shitty stores in Camden (ie, printed in more than one colour, but still essentially shit) and old, scratched records of eighties soul compilations. How crap is that!?

The other stores are really crappy, they have all these Turk/Arab sales assistants that bother you as soon as you walk in so you can't browse quietly, which just would be annoying but they also hate you because they are Turks/Arabs and into Armani and think anyone who isn't is totally gay, and they fucking hate gays, and think that gays steal from them, so it's kind of threatening as well. These stores sell the aforementioned shitty band t-shirts, and almost every single one will have the 'Adolf Hitler: European Tour 39-45' shirt, which has bothered me since I was fifteen, who the fuck is wearing that? Is the Nazi market that big? And what kind of Nazi would buy it off people who weren't Aryan? A crap one, that's what kind!

In addition to these crap shirts, most of these shops sell marijuana smoking paraphernalia, but -crucially- no marijuana! They have every possible smoking device but the only things they offer you to smoke in them are branded 'legal highs' that are really just bags of leaves, the psychoactive properties of which amount to 'looking a bit like weed'. So getting a really fancy bong and some of that shitty stuff is like getting a Porsche and then trying to run it on olive oil (which I think some people try and do anyway), which is totally crap.

When you get further up the road there's a whole other type of 'weed but not weed' available too, as all the stalls in the gentrified boutique-y part of this crappy borough sell hemp clothing to idiots. Hemp clothing is so lame, it's not same as a funny weed t-shirt (slackers are cool, I'm bringing it back, remember Slater in Dazed And Confused? He was the best), because a) it's pretty expensive and b) it's kind of a political statement. So if you wear this shit this tells us a) you have money but absolutely no style (the trousers are cordoroy flairs and the hoodies are gaaaaay but they're sixty quid each) and b) you think that the legalisation of weed is an important enough issue to warrant basing your wardrobe around it - so you're a Spanish tourist, but you're also crap!

So that's all shit, but are there any clothes you can get round there that are any good? The answer is if you're really rich yes you can, because vintage stalls are everywhere in Camden. They always have been, and they're still run by shitty rolled cigarette smoking ex-musicians and Japanese fashion students, but now thanks to really cool fashion people in the newspapers and Hello! wearing old clothes all the time, your misshapen, stinking 'Welcome to Wisconsin' t-shirt is now four times the price it would have been four years ago. Don't even talk about plaid shirts, you can get them way cheaper, nicer and less ripped in Uni Qlo! Supply and demand? The basic tenents of capitalism are crap!

Also around that area there are lots of food stalls feature cuisine from all over the world! Sounds great doesn't it?What happens is that you walk into the food bit of the stables and you get shouted at by all these different types of food vendors from all over the world to try their wares, so you can't have a conversation as you walk through the area without breaking it off to refuse food politely or push aside a wooden fork being thrust in your face with a piece of overcooked, MSG smothered piece of intensely farmed battery chicken on it. The food kind of looks good, probably because it's all so brightly coloured and they pile it pretty high in the silver takeaway containers they put it in, but when you see them serve it you'll notice that they pile a load of cheap noodles to the brim of the container and then pile the chicken and vegetables covered in luminous slime on top of that. Also, the luminous slime covers the chicken and veg so well that you can't tell that actually it's mainly veg and no chicken! And guess what? It all tastes like crap!

So there you have it, a few reasons why I think Camden is crap, special mentions also go to the 'indie scene', Cyberdog (photo essay coming soon), cheap jewellery and hanging out by the canal. next time the place sets on fire, let it burn.

PS. Three uncrap things about Camden to even things out:

Teenage indie jailbait.

The name of this shop.

This t-shirt.


videotime said...

I have lived on the same street as the punk holding the dr martens yellow sign for most of my life. I can tell it's him because I walk behind him to the tube and he has had that jacket for about ten years. He's only a couple of years older than me, and facially he does not look very tough.
Camden is hell, I may do a version describing Camden nightlife when your at sixth form college. Which I assure you is worse than walking to Chalk farm as a twenty-something.

Craterface said...

What about the Music & Video Exchange?
And what about the virgin experiences of poppers?
Camden was the only place i knew that sold liquid air freshener. Fiending.

Thurston von Trumpington said...

did you buy the t-shirt?

RDF said...

no will hutson did though

nashe said...

more boroughs please

Anonymous said...

Camden is shit, you're right. Completely crap. You forgot to mention all the terrible bars - starting with the underworld!

Murder hoxton square/old street next please - it's crying out for it!

Bartholomew Roquefort said...

did you actually pay for that food?

Anonymous said...

Preach brother preach!

I had the misfortune of working in the Virgin there for a few years & I hated it. I completely, 100%, all the way agree with this entire post.

Lixo said...

Tru Say