Raven On Camden Town: A Response To Alex Miller
So I’ve just read this article by Alex Miller, entitled “Lord, I hate Camden Town”. And I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about the whole NW1 situation. There’s a sort of civil war going on at the moment between the two sides of Camden, and I feel like I need to step in as some kind of peacekeeper or something.
Camden has changed. A lot. I’m not just talking about from 1791 when some prat called Sir Charles first developed it as a residential area, or from 1816 when the Regents Canal was built. Camden has changed a lot just in the last couple of years. It’s become a lot more touristy, and not for the right reasons, and an unexplained increase in pretentious twats (or hipsters, as I believe they’re now known), is why a lot of my friends have turned their back on Camden in recent times.
And on top of that, as Alex quite rightly pointed out, all the clubs are being closed down. I wonder what Terry Hall would make of that?
So now I read that Camden is to be twinned with Hollywood. And I agree with Alex here – this is something that Camden’s bigwigs might make a tiny bit of profit from and something Hollywood won’t give a flying fuck about. And the 30 gold discs is just an awful idea. Come on Camden Council, you’re not even being original. Do you think that by using discs instead of the stars on Broadway you’re putting your own spin on it? You can do better than that C.C, and you know it. C- for effort, please see me.
Now, on one hand we have “The Man”, who is trying to turn Camden into some huge neon theme park ‘dedicated’ TGI-McFunster’s style to our fallen musicians, not caring what the general populace of Camden think (and you can see why – given that on the other hand, the average Camden Joe is probably a lifelong punk or metaller who likes nothing better than to “stick it to The Man”). This brings me on to my next point.
Camden is a great place. In a world that seems to reward conformity and punish free-thinking, Camden always seemed (to me at least) to be a bastion of individuality for anybody who, like myself, have always been ‘a bit different’. Back in the days when I was a moody teenager myself, I used to give a fuck what people thought. But Camden (and more specifically the people I met in Camden) taught me that I didn’t need to do that. Camden was, in many ways, my escape. My escape from a world of old people shaking their heads in discontent when I walked past wearing my spiked bracelet, band t-shirt and chains, and chavs shouting out “Goth!” from across the street as if that alone was an insult. For the record I have never been a goth.
But any place where so many different styles of art, music, fashion and food converge is a good place to be. Maybe it’s just not an ideal place to live; I wouldn’t know. Perhaps Mr A. Miller just had a different view from the bridge than myself, who flirted with Camden on weekends when she was all dolled up but didn’t have to wake up every morning next to her. I know Camden’s not without it’s chequered past, and I too feel sad when I think about what it might become in the future. But in the present I still love Camden. Although if I’d grown up there too I’d probably hate it as well.
So to Alex Miller I’d like to say well done on a great article. It was the first one of yours I’ve seen but I’ll be following your column from now on. I have to pull you up on one thing though – I agree with you on Grandmaster Flash, Sinatra and the like… but at least Zeppelin were 50% from London. Okay maybe not Camden, but at least we’re in the right city. Besides, they fucking rocked and should have paving stones reserved for them the world over.