Sunday, November 23, 2008

the streets of my town

Had a very pleasant afternoon trotting around Camden Town yesterday. Although it was the stomping ground of my teenage years, I've not been back much lately and was pleased to discover that the slow spread of big business towards the lock (a Starbucks by the canal!) has not really diminished the singularity of the place; it remains the go-to place for those looking to take part in tribal activity; everybody there is a something. A goth, a hippy, a mod, a rocker.

It's a long way from being an epicentre of hedonism - most people just stand around, inhaling joss stick smoke or squinting through pub windows for empty tables - but everyone there seems to be making a statement, that they are out without purpose, open to opportunity, trying to belong. Had I not been exactly the same in my teens, I might be a bit dismissive, but I remember that peculiar, probably false, feeling that you had to escape everyday life, where you didn't fit at all. And go somewhere where others felt the same. Silly, but rather lovely.

It's all still there. At the same time, just a little bit of the danger seems to have gone - the streets are cleaner, the drug-dealers more cautious. But probably that's better, rather than worse.

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