Thousands of people come along to the market in search of items that will take them away from the standard norms. And in their search, they are shrouded in Camden’s cosmopolitan countenance that defines it.
Different from places such as Big Ben or Buckingham Palace, Camden is a place where the photographic camera is valid only to immortalize the visit or to take a snapshot of some of the shop windows situated on the high road.
It is practically impossible to capture its magic, personality and atmosphere. In fact, its originality and extravagance has put it on the London tourist circuit and has bestowed upon it its current fame.
An atmosphere which over a hundred thousand people live out every weekend when they get on the Northern Line of the Tube to spend their last pennies. Such is its influence that entry to the tube station is closed off to avoid congestion.
But, this doesn’t bother them. They walk up from Mornington Crescent to the six markets that make up Camden: Camden Stables, Camden Lock, Camden Canal, Camden Buck Street, the Main Streets and Inverness Street.
They are attracted by consumerism and are aware that here, they can find everything they’re looking for. Their arrival coincides with the rhythm of Camden life, which starts at 9 a.m. and finish at 6.30 p.m.
Tourists pass through this cultural melting pot integrated by Hippies, Emos, Goths, children of wealthy people, or simply, rappers; they, along with the street vendors, make up the life of this market situated in North London.
Nevertheless, the visitors are alien to that reality and continue to be amazed by the punk clothing in some shops, by the mannequins dressed in gothic clothing, by men and women dressed in that era, or by those who insistently invite us to enter the establishment.
This commercial labyrinth is far from the business philosophy of the early days when a hippie community decided to sell clothing and crafts on the streets. It was 1974: a period of punk fashion.
It was a past marked by the performances of Jimmy Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, or the Beatles. Not to mention the incident on the 9th February 2008 that left the Hawley Arms pub in a pile of ash, which was also frequented by Amy Winehouse, Pete Doherty and bands such as The Zutons and Razorlight.
And its present, by the followers of the Queen of Soul remembering her through her songs and by hanging out in the bar that Amy knew so well, inside and out.
In fact, many don’t even know that the singer lived in this borough and their visit is limited to exploring this conglomerate of flea markets connected by the main road, Camden High Street, whose shop fronts display anything from the shape of a car, or a dragon, to some legs snuggly fitted into a pair of leather trousers.
The first of which is Camden Lock: a labyrinth of shops covered by tarpaulin. In an ever so Turkish style, the market sellers entice visitors to take a look at their goods. In this area, there is an abundance of shirts sporting fun slogans, accessories, jewellery and souvenirs.
Camden Buck Street is the stronghold of antiques and alternative knickknacks: posters, vinyl records, clothing from all eras and styles, advertising signs, gold ornaments, or period photographs.
It also offers the chance to experience ichthyotherapy, acquire bags with different logos or get tattooed.
Despite this originality, it is common to see the same product in different shops. As a result, thousands wander around each of the stalls patient and calm: they want to make sure they get the best bargain!
This wandering around leads them to Camden Town Market, which is submerged in a mixture of smells that speak of food and flavours from different parts of the world and which is offered in the restaurants here.
The journey continues to the other side of the canal, specifically, to Stables Market: a set of shops located under the structures of the old stables and the horse hospital built in 1854.
Within the stables, there are plenty of shops ranging from the most avant-garde fashion, up to the most vintage; they sell furniture, curtains, old suitcases, or new accessories of various designs and many other products, nearly all very original.
It is at this point that the tourist’s day ends, after having spent hours in the area, and having been able to trawl through the huge market that is Camden, where fashion trends and multiculturalism have laid their own stamp.
(Translated by Caroline Gutierrez – Email: email@example.com)