Camden Town, a bustling district in North London, has become increasingly well-known as a Mecca for Goths, punks, and other outlandish alternative types. The three Camden Markets border on the infamous - each is a fantastic place to pick up handmade and brand name clothes and accessories at whatever crazy price you can haggle. This corner of the city is also home to the Hobgoblin-Dev, the pub previously known as The Devonshire Arms (or just The Dev), famous for it's Goths-only dress code (now under new management, the policy has been relaxed - but its legacy certainly remains).
|Goth shopping Mecca!|
Next, we'll take the Northern Line to Camden. The Tube is crowded, as always, and we'll probably end up sat in a carriage full of bouncy ravers in blinding neon and/or fat people in tracksuits. Beware the tracksuit people, because they will stare at your Gothy finery and snicker amongst themselves for the whole journey.
Here's a quote from an article I found online: '“When you're heading north on the tube, you can always tell who's getting off at Camden Town ,” a British bloke said to me during a recent trip to London , England . “You know, the ones with the blue hair and thousands of piercings,” he said. “The punks, the freaks, the goths - they all file out when you get to Camden .” '
|New Rock love!|
The first thing you will notice is how crowded it is. The second thing you will notice is the sheer variety of people. Dreadheads, Goths, punks, little old foreign ladies, gaping tourists with cameras aloft... Ooh, speaking of those cameras, my friends and I have a challenge when we go to Camden each year, which is to dress up as much as we can in the hope that we'll actually be able to charge someone to take our photo. There are punks here who make a living from it...
This is probably when I will lose control of my rising excitement and will go running back and forth from shop to shop along the high street in a blur of black, emitting a high-pitched noise that sounds an awful lot like, "Squeeeeeeeeeeeee!" and trailing a growing amount of carrier bags behind me.
|Prince Albert says, "Hi there!"|
What about the Gothy hotspots? Well, there are many, many clubs, my current favourites being the Electric Ballroom, Underworld and Dingwalls, many, many pubs, including the Dev, and many, many, many shops. My favourite shops are probably Darkside, Sai Sai and G.L.P. (yay, cheap Lolita-inspired threads). The most famous (or should that be infamous?) shop in Camden is the mighty Cyberdog, aka cybergoth heaven, which I would love more if it wasn't so ridiculously expensive and stocked more black/less neon.
Of course, there are hazards. My personal advice would be to avoid the drug dealers, even if you're into that sort of thing, as it's very easy to get caught and I'm pretty sure there's a nasty repercussion for carrying drugs on the Underground. Keep one hand on your wallet, as there are many pickpockets around. Be prepared to say a firm NO to the really overzealous sellers (as soon as they note your interest in what they're selling, be it clothes, belts, food or drugs, they dive-bomb you).
Camden is truly something that you have to experience for yourself, so, please, if you ever get the chance, go on down to Camden Town, before the tourists take over and the alternative scene loses its London HQ. Take lots of money. You won't regret it. Be prepared to take your time and really have a look around - there are always excellent little shops and stalls in weird out-of-the-way places.
Probably my favourite thing about Camden (other than the shopping) is the atmosphere. No one is rude to anyone else on basis of appearance (not that I've seen). Anything goes and everyone is welcome.
|Yummy clothes... come to Mama...|
All images on this post: Google Images