After a series of non amusing events lately, I couldn’t really imagine that my girl’s weekend out of town would join the group. It’s been a while since I’ve hit the airport, for my taste, so it lightly disappointed me to know that the so awaited gateaway turned out to a solo trip. So I basically had the choice: flush everything down the toilet, or get out of town to give myself that break anyway.
I never had a problem with travelling by myself: the only difference always was, I knew when I was going to travel alone, so I had the right mindset for it. I decided to accept the challenge in order to beat the introvert that sometimes, still lives inside of me, especially when it comes to unexpected things. The easiest thing to do that is always to throw myself into places and situations where I usually don’t want to be all by myself, because I consider them pretty awkward.
This weekend in Camden should have been all about the music, I was already holding tickets for gigs and informed myself about local musical events in this lovely part of London. I read about Aine Cahill performing at the Dublin Castle – a place that already saw the Libertines on stage. After my first walk to the very busy Camden High Street on a Friday afternoon, what could be better than beat the pouring rain and enter a pub during afterwork time (aka packed, aka getting out of your comfort zone)? Exactly. The ice was broken really fast, I always forget that the Brits are usually much more communicative than here in Switzerland. The first “Hey Love” followed by a good pre-gig smalltalk happened at the bar, right after my entrance, craving for my well deserved prosecco. Aine is one of my favourite discoveries of 2016 so far: the best youngest combination of retro sound and a voice that lightly reminded us of Adele – so she might should watch her shoulder, even if I think that she sold so many records already, that she couldn’t probably care less.
Camden is my favourite district of London. I finally had time to explore a bit more by walk. The market and the stalls are always worth a visit, even if supercrowded on weekends. I never walk out with empty hands and it’s one of the best places to find some little gifts for the ones you love. Amy Winehouse, who used to work and live here, is present everywhere: as a statue at the stalls, in frames on sale and on the numerous streetart you can find on every corner. She loved Camden and now I think Camden is giving all the love back to this legend.
But it’s not all about the market and the always crowded main road: you should move a bit more to discover all parts of this wonderful hood: that’s what I loved to do a whole morning with my camera. What used to be an unfashionable place until the 70s, is now maybe one of the most alternative together with Shoreditch, which arised into hipsterworld a couple of years ago. It seems to be a place far away from some ultraposh sides of London, where individuality is still alive and the Burberry scarves obviously not present.
Besides shooting on the only rain free morning, feeding myself almost only of sushi, stopping for the fancy afternoon teas and doing tons of people watching, I was there for another two great events (busy, busy, I know): to hear a Jungle DJ Set for the first time and join the tour closing of Marina and the Diamonds. The lady is well known for her bomb voice and glittery shows, and it was, in fact, an amazing Sunday night. More surprising was to get out into an industrial quarter trying to find STYX Bar, an old umfunctioned warehouse, perfectly made for laid back summer nigths and particular parties. Jungle themselves are a really groovy band, so it was great to experience them behind the decks. They played a great combination of oldschool funky songs, electronica, hip hop and their own tracks remixed. Last but not least, I was lucky enough to enjoy these two nights with great people I just met a the venues, so I suppose that I survived my fear of going out at concerts and clubs all by myself.
Where to Stay: I made myself at home at the New Market House, which is located right at the border of Camden and Islington. Tube from&to Heathrow is a few steps away, so it was amazingly well located, Camden Town can be reached by walk in 15minutes. The rooms had all I need and the staff was superfriendly – If you’re not afraid of stairs, this is a place for you! 3 Nights are around £210, which is really ok for London.
Musical Events: The legendary Roundhouse is the main music venue in Camden: besides the great architecture, it offers a cosy rooftop bar and a tasty restaurant perfect for every pre-gig meal. The Dublin Castle is well known for having had loads of amazing arising artists playing live – almost every night 3 or more bands can be enjoyed in this smelly but insanely famous pub (£7 entrance fee).
Take a walk along the Regent’s Canal and discover more streetart until you land in Little Venice, between loads of canal houses.