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
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…