I’m not sure if Camden has ever been cool in my lifetime. I think I was just lame when I was fifteen (I think we’re all lame when we’re fifteen), but now I live there I think it’s the shittiest place in the universe. You people who live East and complain about gentrification/wankers turning up don’t know shit; I am living this. Now. The thing I hate about Camden is that it’s lame. Not bad, not pretentious, not rough, not too posh, just lame: it’s where crap people hang out and crap things happen…

As soon as you arrive out the tube you have to run the gauntlet of crap drug dealers selling crap drugs by whispering at you. They are fucking shit, because real drug dealers have client bases and it would all be done by mobile and they’d drop it off at your house, or you’d go by their house and sure, there’d be waiting around and there’d be times when his phone was turned off, but the weed would always be ok and you’d kind of see him as a peer. The crap dealers in camden have their lives in such a poor state (crack addiction etc) that they have to solicit on the streets to naive teens because they don’t have enough friends to sell to/real drugs to sell. That’s a bit crap huh?

Also outside the tube are those goths in badly cut, flared, baggy trousers and Tippex on their backpacks waiting for their shitty mates. Sometimes they’re really young and that’s totally ok -I was like that once, except I was into Lagwagon - but sometimes they’re pushing thirty (no joke, I see them every day) and you have to think, ‘Are you going to be a clueless, pathetic dumbdumb your whole life? Is this crudely constructed, adolescent outfit really how you still see the world and how you still want the world to see you? Have you really developed that little emotionally since 1995? Don’t you think that’s pretty crappy?’.

Pretty much the next thing you see are the elderly street punks holding the signs for jeans stores and tattoo parlours which is pretty crap and lame as well; they’re pushing forty and this is the best they can do? The guys in Rancid might still look like that but they were at least shrewd enough to become millionaires. These people haven’t done anything positive like going to live on a Crass-style communal farm, and they’re too lame to do something properly negative like becoming a real tramp; they haven’t rejected society at all, they’re just on the sole of its shoe. They are crap. Next.

Next you’ll notice the market, which is fucking crap. It sells nothing of substance at all, no authentic goods, no vintage clothes, no rare records - basically, none of the things the world thinks it sells. All it sells are Doc Martens knock-offs, t-shirts emblazoned with bad puns or logo pastiches, slightly better bootleg band t-shirts than the ones available in the other shitty stores (ie, printed in more than one colour, but still essentially shit) and old, scratched records of eighties soul compilations. How crap is that?

The other stores are really crappy. They ALL HAVE sales assistants that bother you as soon as you walk in so you can’t browse quietly, which would be merely annoying. However, they also hate you because you’re not into Armani, which makes you totally gay, and they fucking hate gays, they ‘steal from them’, so it’s kind of threatening as well. These stores sell the aforementioned shitty band t-shirts, and almost every single one will have the ‘Adolf Hitler: European Tour 39-45′ shirt, which has bothered me since I was fifteen. Who the fuck is wearing that? Is the Nazi market that big? And what kind of Nazi would buy it off people who weren’t Aryan?

Most of these shops sell marijuana smoking paraphernalia but, crucially, no marijuana. All they offer are branded ‘legal highs’ that are really just bags of leaves, the psychoactive properties of which amount to ‘looking a bit like weed’. Getting a really fancy bong and some of that shitty stuff is like getting a Porsche and then trying to run it on olive oil.

When you get further up the road there’s a whole other type of ‘weed but not weed’ available; all the stalls in the gentrified boutique-y part of this crappy borough sell hemp clothing to idiots. If you wear this shit all it says is a) you have money but absolutely no style (the trousers are cordoroy flairs and the hoodies are gaaaaay but they’re sixty quid each) and b) you think that the legalisation of weed is an important enough issue to warrant basing your wardrobe around it - so you’re a Spanish tourist, and also crap.

So that’s all shit, but are there any clothes you can get round there that are any good? The answer is if you’re really rich yes you can, because vintage stalls are everywhere in Camden. They always have been, and they’re still run by shitty rolled cigarette smoking ex-musicians and Japanese fashion students, but now thanks to really cool fashion people in the newspapers and Hello! wearing old clothes all the time, your misshapen, stinking ‘Welcome to Wisconsin’ t-shirt is now four times the price it would have been four years ago. Don’t even talk about plaid shirts, you can get them way cheaper, nicer and less ripped in Uni Qlo. Supply and demand? The basic tenets of capitalism are crap.

Also around that area are lots of food stalls featuring cuisine from all over the world. Sounds great doesn’t it? What happens is that you walk into the food bit of the stables and you get shouted at by food vendors from all over the world trying to sell their wares. This means you can’t have a conversation as you walk through the area without breaking it off to push aside a wooden fork being thrust in your face with a piece of overcooked, MSG smothered piece of intensely farmed battery chicken on it. The food kind of looks good, probably because it’s all so brightly coloured and they pile it pretty high in those silver takeaway containers. But when you see them serve it you’ll notice that they pile a load of cheap noodles to the brim of the container and then pile the chicken and vegetables covered in luminous slime on top of that. Also, the luminous slime covers the chicken and veg so well that you can’t tell that actually it’s mainly veg and no chicken. And guess what? It all tastes like crap.

So there you have it, a few reasons why I think Camden is crap. Special mentions also go to the ‘indie scene’, Cyberdog (photo essay coming soon), cheap jewellery and hanging out by the canal. next time the place sets on fire, let it burn.

PS. Three uncrap things about Camden to even things out:

Teenage indie jailbait.

The name of this shop.

This t-shirt.

WORDS: Robert Thumbs Downey Jr - www.noodlesandbroth.com