camden blog

"Anyway, here’s my list of top places to stay cool in Camden, followed by a list of places
to be avoided unless humidity, sweat
and filth floats your atypical boat"

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Jesus Christ its been hot in recent days. I loathe this vile city heat. Its filthy, and everyone is walking around feeling sick, either with the pollen or the pollution or some weird metropolitan ailments. Nothing ever gets done, because we don’t really know what we’re doing in heat like this. We’re like an Irishman in a fancy restaurant. When you call people at their offices you can’t get any sense out of them, they’re just thinking about ice cream and holidays.

Anyway, here’s my list of top places to stay cool in Camden, followed by a list of places to be avoided unless humidity, sweat and filth floats your atypical boat.

Chill Out in…

1. The backroom of Café Nero in Parkway. When this place was Coffee Republic, they installed a huge Manhattan-style air conditioning system in the back. You can actually freeze to death in this room, even when it’s 32 degrees in the shade. Unfortunately since Nero moved in, the emperor’s new spots have changed their leopard, and you can no longer buy Coffee Republic’s fantastic range of cold squishy stuff. A moment’s silence please, while we remember the Banoffee Milkshake…

2. Camden Odeon, Parkway. Sitting in a large, darkened, air conditioned room for two hours or so is no bad thing when the sun is beating on you like a Death Star. Speaking of which, the new Star Wars movie is still running. Weekdays at the pictures are cool anyway. No kids, and the tickets are cheaper.

3. Hampstead Heath. There’s lots of water to jump in, they’ve even got a Lido, if you like that sort of grossly uncivilised behaviour.

4. Swiss Cottage Library. Its always just a bit cold in there for some reason.

5. Chalk Farm Tube Station. Underground, but near enough to the surface so that the whole place acts as a wind tunnel. Take the steps and be amazed at the gale forces thrown up from the Northern Line.

6. Regent’s Park Canal. Actually this is just a guess, but it looks pretty darned cold down there…

7. The MTV Building. Reputedly fitted with vast air conditioners. Definitely filled with irritating television personalities, bubblegum pop stars and Chelsea boys. Let’s all meet in Jamestown Road on Tuesday at 3pm. Bring a pitchfork, and a gallows pole if you have one.

8. St. John’s Church, Hampstead. The last resting place of Keats, Constable, Eleanor Farjeon, The Du Mauriers, Peter Pan (Michael Llewelyn-Davies), Anton Walbrook, Kay Kendall, Hugh Gaitskell, and Peter Cook. Plenty of quiet shade under the old sycamores, the church itself is plenty a-marbled and thus naturally refrigerated.

No no no, its too hot in…

1. Nandos. Full of hungry noisy day-outers, grill flames barbecuing the clientele up a treat. Queue for an hour to be seated on a leather cushioned bench that is slippy with the bumsweat of its previous occupant. Order a hot breast but get a shrivelled leg with your soggy chips. What has happened to this place?

2. Argos. Never go shopping in Argos during a heatwave if you want to live.

3. The Devonshire Arms. It’s where the Goths go when they’re not drinking Ribena & Scrumpy Woodpecker in Highgate Cemetery. Wall to wall layers of thick black material wrapped around skinny pale folk, like a shrunken Easterhouse Nunnery on Amyl Nitrate and a twist of lime. If that’s your scene then there’s nowhere else like it. If not then the widest possible berth is called for on a hot day.

4. The Post Office in Camden High Street. Oh thou, most foul of all things, the evil Necropolis that is the Royal Mail, here to be found at it’s most vile and unholy. Come Giro day in the height of summer ‘tis the unwritten next circle of Dante’s Inferno.

5. Marine Ices. The stench of pasteurised strawberries cannot hide the body odour of the ones who gravitate towards it. Never trust a substance that cannot decide whether it is a solid or a liquid…

Jude Rawlins

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