Friday, 27 July 2012

Camden's new nightlife: the launch of Camden Lock Night Market

'So are you 'the Accidental Londoner'?'  Here was a greeting I'd never met before in real-life.  I'd been addressed as such via email or a comments box before, but never by an honest-to-God, actual human being.  It was rather surreal to admit that yes, I was, and that my online persona was the real invitee to the event I attended last week.  But such is the peculiarity of blogging, and also the joy.  My charming companion for the evening was fellow blogger, Cool on Demand, and, as our London blog alter-egos, we had been invited to witness the launch of a new event in Camden that seemed perfect for the warm July night.

I won't lie, even though I live within a fifteen minute walk of Camden, I usually avoid the area.  Camden, and the Lock Market area in particular, typically crawls with emo teenagers, all sweepy black fringes and restrictively-tight jeans, and older, more tattooed rockers in platforms and leather.  Once upon a time I too trawled Camden Lock Market for questionable clothing as I ate noodles out of a styrofoam container beside the canal.  (I should hastily add that I wasn't a goth; just a sartorially-challenged teenager let loose for a day or two in London...)  But the bustling crowds these days put me off.  I'm too old for doing battle with hundreds of pierced teenagers when I go shopping.

To tempt the older, more mainstream Londoner back to the area however, Camden Lock has launched a new weekly event; the Camden Lock Night Market.  Each Thursday, for the next six weeks at least, the bars and stalls that fill the Lock Market beside the canal will remain open late (well, until about 10pm) into the evening.  You can shop, catch a little live music, drink and eat from an impressively multi-cultural array of food choices, from Scottish to Peruvian, and Spanish to Turkish.  Munching on some seriously tasty Turkish fried beef wraps, Janet and I watched a great folky live set by Ryan O'Reilly (and his grandly named 'band' that looked rather like a mate with a guitar to me).  Over on the other side of the lock reggae tunes were being spun for those who preferred more of a boogie.  Making the most of the warm night - summer appears to finally be here! - drinkers lined the midnight blue canal that reflected back the lights of the bars and cafes normally firmly shut up by this 'late' hour.
Camden Lock Market by night has a very different atmosphere to its youth-rammed, day-time ambiance.  It becomes a place for meeting people for a few post-work drinks, or for those early first dates when having lots of things to stimulate conversation is a key requirement of an evening's activity.  It's a place for the summer, as long as it lasts.  (One wonders how the outdoor eateries and open-air shopping will fare in the dark, chilly winter; not well, sadly I suspect).  By night this little patch of North London is more civilised, more grown-up, less frantically charged with teenage hormones, but  the odd cobbled corner in which a pervading smell of weed lingers can still be found by those in search of the more traditional Camden experience.  Illuminated by twinkling lights and experienced with a margarita in hand, I rather like the lock by night.  Long may the new Night Market last...and here's hoping the rain stays away.                


  1. Sounds interesting. Might go there one evening, as we also live pretty near,specially if the &*?!! No. 31 bus ever comes. Thanks for the heads up.

    1. You're welcome, Jenny! Aren't you finding all the buses in our neck of the woods surprisingly empty right now? So much for all the Olympic transport nightmares...or maybe that pesky #31 is still misbehaving!

  2. It was a fabulous evening and I am also wondering whether they'll manage the transition to winter night market. I'm hoping to make it back before the end of the summer though!! I wonder why they didn't launch in April??

    By the way, if you check out your spam folder on Blogger, you're sure to find my comments! For some reason Blogger likes to mark my comments as spam (I think I visit too many blogs) but once you've marked them as "not spam" I think it stops happening. It makes me want to give up Blogger!

    1. I reckon they didn't start in April due to all the rubbish weather (i.e. pouring rain) we've had for the last few months! Can't imagine it'd be much fun in the wet.

      Found your comments - yay!


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