Camden: The origin of punk rock and celebrity haven

I recently declared my allegiance to a wonderful city called Cardiff in the country of Wales. Today, I declare my full and true love to an exceptional borough of London called Camden. I am head over heels for this versatile, one of a kind place.

The Camden Market is bursting with unique vendors selling everything from clothes, to jewelry, to merch, to art, to leather goods and so on. The streets are packed and it can be hard to even walk but the bursting culture and things to do makes it all the worth it. Don’t even get me started on the food market. I was losing my mind just choosing between a chicken kebab and a shrimp burger among the seemingly endless food vendors.

Some of the eccentric Camden shops.

We’ve experienced a fair number of tours on this trip so far. They’ve all proved to be a very interactive method of absorbing culture and history. However, the Unseen Tour of Camden, a walking tour led by a former or previous homeless tour guide, was definitely the most memorable tour we’ve had so far.

Our tour guide Mike showed us Camden beyond the unmissable Camden Market and kooky street shops. Mike explained that Camden is where “punk rock originates”. It was incredible to hear of all the bands that had their beginnings in Camden, such as Oasis, The Smiths, The Clash, and even the Arctic Monkeys. Mike pointed out iconic music venues that held such established alternative, punk or indie artists, and I could only imagine all of the stories and art that was created in such places.

One of those music booming venues was actually a relatively low-key, standard kebab restaurant, called Marathon. There, artists like Amy Winehouse, who famously worked and lived in Camden, drunkenly played acoustic, hung out and sometimes sang stripped down versions of their songs. Can you imagine hearing Back to Black acoustically by Amy, one booth over in a restaurant? It’s hard to even fathom.

The Amy Winehouse statue. Amy is widely celebrated and commemorated in Camden.

Primrose Hill, a few minutes away from Camden Market, is a wonderful, tranquil parallel to the busy, booming culture of Camden Town. The most rich and famous of London reside in Primrose Hill, and it isn’t difficult to figure out why. Previous or current residents of Primrose Hill go from Sylvia Plath (one of the original famous residents), Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, Jude Law, Nick Grimshaw, Kate Moss,****Harry Styles*** (*breathes heavily*), Daniel Craig, and so many more.

Sylvia Plath lived and died in the pink house shown above.

It was very intriguing to hear Mike’s perspective of the cohesion of the lower, middle and upper class in Primrose Hill. Even as a homeless man, he sat down and drank a pint with some of London’s most talented and rich, and this isn’t even a bizarre occurrence in Primrose. The sense of community, and the absence of classism in such a exceptional residential area was wonderful to see.

It’s safe to say I can see myself living here. For at least three years, please and thank you.

Primrose Hill: The highest point in London.

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