• Camdenist
  • Posts
  • Culture updates from the campaign trail

Culture updates from the campaign trail

Controversies, success stories and shifting viewpoints

Ed Adoo

It’s been rewarding to see all the positive feedback that the ongoing Camdenist Culture Campaign has been generating this week.

Positive words sure make the late nights putting all this together feel worthwhile, so thanks to everyone who contributes to the polls, emails us directly or otherwise adds their voice to our growing local movement 🥰

🌚 Lovers of the night, unite

Zoom down to the bottom of this email to see the votes and comments that came in for last week’s poll question on Camden Council’s new night time policy, and the interesting, shifting sentiment towards the Borough after dark.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in our focus on the changing face of London’s nightlife culture, we’ve been speaking to Camden-raised BBC radio DJ and Sky TV pundit Edward Adoo about clubland’s current approach to hiring more female DJs, and why he thinks it’s wrong.

🍻 The Duke of St Albans is rapidly returning from the dead

Exciting updates for you on the new owners of the failed wine bar and erstwhile Greek restaurant that was once Parliament Hill’s historic boozer The Duke of St Albans.

The people embarking on bringing a proper pub back to life in the building are none other than Grace Land, who have a fine pedigree at nearby watering holes including Islington’s Earl of Essex, Stoke Newington’s The Axe and Dalston’s Red Hand.

They’re also behind Camden Town’s beloved backstreet metal music pub The Black Heart, and recently took over the London Fields Brewery site, turning it into a new bar and brewery called Saint Monday.

You can read loads more about Grace Land’s two founders, Andreas and Anslem, in this extensive feature in Pellicle magazine, that takes a deep dive into their history, which is properly interwoven with many other pubs, bars, beers and breweries in the local areas and surrounds.

Reportedly aiming to get their latest venture open by the end of this month, it will proudly be positioned as the return of a ‘muddy boots’ pub, serving decent pints to locals and Hampstead Heath’s intrepid destination dog walkers.

Joining a strip running from Highgate into Kentish Town that’s already heavy with award-winning gastropubs, it seems that the once-unlikely resurrection of this former staging post on the road to St Albans is going to add to the area’s rich pub pickings.

From the archives

Two Camdenist features on pubs and nightlife for you to enjoy


Open Iftar prepares to pop up in more iconic locations

Open Iftar in Granary Square last year

🍛 The arrival of the month of Ramadan this Sunday also sees the return of the amazing Open Iftar, a project that brings the traditional sundown breaking of the Muslim fast to the masses. Previous meals have taken place in iconic settings from Chelsea Football Club’s Stamford Bridge ground to in front of the Royal Albert Hall. Look out for 2024’s King’s Cross edition at West Handyside Canopy and a new event at the British Library, too. Tickets to join the meals are always free, but you need to join a ballot.

🍣 Swiss-founded Peruvian Japanese fusion restaurant La Muña is preparing to open in Holborn’s 110-year-old octagonal baroque chapel soon, adding to the attractions at the already sumptuous L’Oscar Hotel.

🥪 Food waste-busting app Too Good To Go is now working with seven restaurants, shops and cafes within St Pancras International, meaning you can pick up some serious daily bargains at the station on the way home, diverting the food from going to waste… to going into your tummy.

Treat yourself to an upgrade

Subscribe to Camdenist Premium today, where membership can earn you:

  • £100 of food and drink discounts at over 50 independent London pubs

  • Special invites to our upcoming events (next local culture pop-up to be announced imminently)

  • A warm and fuzzy feeling for helping to fund local culture journalism for all here in Camden


📊 This week’s 1-click poll

Which cultural sectors would you like the Camdenist Culture Campaign to focus on next - and why?

Feel free to leave your comments via the text box when you vote

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.


Three local scents worth sniffing out

🕯️ Da Lapa Handcrafted is a range of vegan scents for the home, from candles to room sprays and lotions to soaps, all lovingly made locally by a Brazilian artist. You can find her pop-up shop next to Roni’s on Rosslyn Hill in Hampstead through until the end of March.

💮 Vallense is a brand new fragrance company launching on the global stage this week with limited edition scents that are distilled aboard a locally moored narrowboat. It’s the latest project from former cocktail bar and vodka empresario William Borrell, so he knows a thing or two about distilling and blending enticing aromas.

🥫 Solid Cologne is a little hole-in-the-wall shop at Camden Market’s cobbled West Yard, which sells 18 different fragrances of solid, beeswax and shea butter-based cologne sticks that are perfect for travel. Little tins of scent to rub on anytime and carry anywhere.


Pick of the week’s local gigs + news of The Jazz Cafe’s first outdoor festival

Wise Women at Jamboree, King’s Cross

🚺 Celebrate International Women’s Day with a special evening of lush vocal harmonies, cinematic cello and 90s girl power as Wise Women and guest DJ and queer music curator Auntie Maureen bring folk, jazz and musical theatre to Jamboree tomorrow night (Sat 9th March).

🎸 Reputedly the best Smith tribute band in the country, The Smiths Utd play Parkway’s Dublin Castle on Sunday for an early doors gig which sees four die-hard fans recreating their heroes down to the last detail. And with Morrissey so problematic these days, this is the preferable way to hear his music live and authentically, too.

🎛️ Thursday (14th) sees groundbreaking musician Tricky at the Roundhouse for a UK exclusive date, performing tracks from his seminal LP Maxinquaye alongside versions from the new Maxinquaye Reincarnated which dropped late last year. Best of all, a few final tickets are still available, if you’re quick.

🔥Hot off the embargoed email press, news has just landed that The Jazz Cafe will be heading South to the fields of Burgess Park in the summer, to throw the first ever edition of The Jazz Cafe Festival on September 15th. They’ll be bringing along some of the wealth of talent that has graced the stage of this bona fide Camden institution over the last thirty years, including R&B songstress ELIZA, hip-hop hero Alchemist, uproarious party-starters Crazy P Soundsystem and an exclusive outdoor show to close the event from brilliant pianist Nils Frahm. To be sent a link for priority access to pre-sale tickets when they go on sale next Wednesday (13th), sign up here. 


Heritage hip hop is Camden’s hidden scene

The weekly column: reflections on living, working and playing in the borough…

AWATE at The Forge

WEDNESDAY: The music you grow up listening to clearly leaves an indelible imprint somewhere deep in your brain. There’s an oven-ready fondness - a latent adoration, perhaps - for artists who you might not have heard from for decades. But spin the dusty classic record, or reminisce about the hazy days it soundtracked, and the intervening years fall away. Find out that they are playing live, and WhatsApp school friend groups light up with the fleeting vigor of lost youth. “We have to go!”

We know there are the 70s rockers who’ve never stopped touring the hits, and the 80s manufactured pop groups who reform to pull in the mums ‘n dads as a way to top up their pensions, but those seaside or stadium-sized gigs hardly constitute much of a ‘scene’. Meanwhile, largely under the radar, Camden is home to scene it doesn’t really claim as its own. But it should. Forget the former glories of 60s psychedelia and punk, the overhyped Britpop era or Amy Winehouse falling in and out of the Hawley Arms, they’ve all come and gone. What’s been a consistent is the area’s love of hosting hip hop heritage acts.

Largely spurred on by the Jazz Cafe and its enviable roster of acclaimed rappers who assuredly drop by for their annual visits, many artists from hop hop’s heyday can often be found playing intimate gigs around here to a dedicated subculture of diehard fans. This week, rebooted Delancey St venue The Forge hosted three consecutive nights of Ultramagnetic MCs, whose seminal LP Critical Beatdown was released over 35 years ago. Such gigs can be wildly hit and miss, with ageing rappers drawling their way through tracks that sound much better simply played by a DJ. Kool Keith and his crew brought some early 90s energy, but not exactly much pizzazz, to these proceedings. It was left for local rapper AWATE, who we’ve interviewed previously in Camdenist, to bring something a little more memorable for the evening.

But the point isn’t really to come expecting microphone fireworks (although the venerable Big Daddy Kane somehow still seems to set them off whenever he’s in town), but rather it serves a simple, reliable gathering of the music heads. Camden may never be renowned for this particular scene, but it’s alive and well out there, filling local venues on cold midweek nights, and eliciting bear hugs from old mates who still know all the words, three decades on.

This section is where you’ll find all the extra benefits of being a signed-up member of the fast-growing Camdenist community.

📈 We’re now 5,909 subscribers

and counting…

🏅 120 new signups in the last month
🤝 Now Camden’s most engaged following


Help this newsletter to grow and we’ll send you a gift for hitting your first 5 successful sign-ups 😲 Begin adding points to your running total right away. Simply share the link below with all the friends, family and colleagues you know would also love to read Camdenist every Friday morning (and keep an eye on your total as it grows!):


What do you think of Camden Council's moves to support the night time economy?

Love it - after dark culture is vital and it really needs this support
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 52%

Loathe it - I'd much rather be tucked up in bed without street noise
🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️ 27%

Lump it - I don't feel that the night time economy impact me
🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ 20%

Poll comments:

We had a surprising amount of support from older residents, who were voting for a positive approach to the night

“Despite being very very old, always loved and always will love night/early morning life.”

“Wish it was 25 years ago when I was younger!”

There was also plenty of considered commentary from people who wish to see a professional approach to Camden’s after dark economy

“There has to be a balance. At night Sunday to Thursday people need rest and quiet. Families. Adults. Most people. Camden Council are not listening or taking into account the serious negative physical and mental health issues of an extended night time economy in residential areas.”

“Camden’s music scene and night time economy in general requires emergency surgery. It’s dying in front of our eyes. Time to protect that which brings joy and is available for everyone without fear of offending well organised home owners who have seen double digit growth on their properties year on year. Time for some double digit cultural growth in Camden.”

And a reminder that the night is about a whole lot more than the pull of music, dancing and drinking

“It’s important to note that Camden want to support a number of areas of night life. Women walking home safe, non-alcoholic evening arts hubs and so on. I think a lot of people hear the words night life and think night clubs.”

Thanks for all the votes and comments - keep ‘um coming.

  • 60 mins of free Forest bike rides: Download or open the Forest app, then enter promo code CAMDENIST60 to ride for free right away. Minutes can be used for multiple trips for up to 3 months, on top of Forest’s standard 10 mins free each day too!

  • Get a free City Stack pack when you become an annual premium member of Camdenist, plus more benefits. Upgrade now - it’s less than £1.50 per week 😁


Got an editorial idea you’d like us to consider for a future newsletter? Just fill in the online form:


NEW! Boost your event, business or special offer to nearly 6k weekly readers & 1,000s more on social.

Your feedback, suggestions and requests are always welcome. Reach out to us: [email protected] 
This weekly Camdenist newsletter is run on Beehiiv.

It’s the new all-in-one tool tailored for growing email newsletters (rather than plan old marketing mails), so it’s the ideal platform for us – and one you might want to explore too. Try Beehiiv free with no credit card required.