travelogue: in search of some coolness

Dearest ______,

People have woefully observed the steady decline of Camden in London, England.  I use the term “decline” very loosely (not to say that it is actually in ruins or anything);  “decline” in this instance means the mere toning down of the place: standardization, mass- marketing, uber commercialization.  Most of these observant people blame the crackdown on hiked- up rent prices which drove Camden’s original settlers away, or inflation, and probably the mad influx of tourism with which came the latter two.  This was surely a far cry from 10 or 20 years ago when Rudies and punks at least had the decency to get piss drunk and make a jolly mess of it on the streets!  Oi, oi!

What was once a destination for colorful and interesting lots of misfits- people for independent music and fashion, the punk and Rude Boy lifestyle, la vie boheme, etc- is now fast becoming another tourist trap with long stretches of I-heart-UK souvenir shops;  streets littered with vacationers waiting for photo- opps with mohawked punks.  I happen to be one of these annoying tourists…  I, with the semi- pro camera around the neck and an over- eager expression on the face… for shame!

Camden was actually kind of a let down, to tell you the truth.  Maybe I put too much stock in it with its past reputation- Madness gigs!  Artsy- fartsy market finds!  Indie, low- key events!  Maybe it was simply bad timing (we went there at night, hoping to catch a Ska gig.  No luck in that department, either.).   Maybe it’s just the times (refer to the previous paragraphs above).

Good thing there’s the East!  As if taking a page out of actual socio- economic studies around the world today, London’s proliferation of all things cool has shifted powers to the East: Aldgate, Aldgate East, Shoreditch, etc.

One Sunday afternoon, we took our poseur- driven selves to the markets of Brick Lane near Aldgate East and Liverpool on the eastbound Hammersmith/ City Line Tube.

We were not disappointed.  Only in want of more time.


Photos 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16 by Jawo Bolivar.




2 thoughts on “travelogue: in search of some coolness”

    1. DM’s = guilty as charged. Hahaha. Although this fashion offence is slightly less annoying than those of the hipster kids running around in DM’s these days… I’m re-incarnating some 1970-80’s Rude Boy look- the lost art of Ska! 😀

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