• Camdenist
  • Posts
  • Dua Lipa and a host of other celebs bang on about Camden

Dua Lipa and a host of other celebs bang on about Camden

Famous people are constantly shining a rose-tinted light on this area. Is that a good thing?

Dua Lipa

In so many ways it’s lovely to live in a part of the world that has been - and remains firmly - a globally significant centre for cultural production.

From music to movies, art to politics, fashion to beer, brand Camden holds weight - even if locals have occasion to raise their eyes to the heavens at the more commercially exploitative characterisations of this broad creative juggernaut.

And now, hot on the heels of Camden Town being stylised as de facto backdrop to the latest Amy Winehouse movie, comes Camden: Where Music Icons Are Made, the four part docu-series hitting Disney+ in a few days time (it’s available to stream from the 29th, to be exact).

Hosted/exec produced by Parli Hill schoolgirl-turned-Glastonbury-headliner Dua Lipa, it promises a whole load of talking head anecdotes about legendary local gigs, rock ‘n’ roll misbehaviour, formative moments and ensuing global success, courtesy of an all-star line up.

They include proper locally-rooted acts like Dublin Castle royalty Suggs, Hampstead mansion-owner Boy George, Chris Martin of Gospel Oak studio band Coldplay, and Mornington Cres res Jazzie B OBE of Soul II Soul - of course - plus there’ll be input from Camden-adjacent acts like Pete Doherty, Chuck D, Mark Ronson, Questlove, Little Simz and Yungblud, too.

Without having seen it yet, it’s hard to tell if Nile Rodgers has a killer Camden story or two up his sleave, or just pushy management, and whether less mainstream but 100% Camden-born musical history such as DJs Gilles Peterson and Patrick Forge’s genre-defining house-jazz fusion Sunday afternoon sessions at Dingwalls, or Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson’s midweeker The Loft, over the yard at HQs, get given rightful and meaningful airtime, too. Let’s see…

The danger is that all the misty-eyed reminiscence from music’s big hitters simply amplifies the lowest common denominator view, reducing our whole Borough to little more than a faux-debauched Disneyfied (very on brand) music heritage circuit, based around a few iconic pubs, venues and the Market.

While it’s sure to draw yet more visitors, the current global box set spotlight could equally give the area some welcome boosts. Despite the cultural renown, as we also know too well, creative life right now can be barely navigable economically, and much talent can no longer gravitate - or percolate - here as a result.

If the Disney show inspires more next gen musicians to grab the reigns and stamp their mark here, preventing the area flagging into the future, then it will be worth it for having a few more pavement-clogging tour groups and Camden Square shrine pilgrims, right?

Primrose Hill’s luvvies special

It’s not just the rough side of the Euston mainline that’s getting a moment in the sun, either. Beatles progeny James McCartney has been eulogising local well-appointed semi-precipitous urban Royal park, Primrose Hill, as the title of his latest eponymous single, including asking social media fans to self-submit footage to make up the official video (see below).

The crowd-sourced result is a curious thing, particularly all the bits clearly filmed at an out-of-London location, but if you’re a fan of either his unimpeachable pop-rock lineage via dad John, or Camden’s unique and spectacular P-Hill views regardless, you might just tap a foot to this…

🐕‍🦺 Still in that corner of town, the always-impressive Primrose Hill Festival returns this Sunday (19th), bringing multiple stalls, pop-up performances and the acclaimed annual dog show to the ‘main street’ thoroughfare of Regent’s Park Road, plus Chalcot Square and surrounds.

💚 Or head over to the Borough’s other iconic big green hill on Saturday evening for the famous Night of 10,000m PB’s, the athletics ‘festival’ that includes races, beer, fire performers and lots more , all for free, up at the newly refurbished Parliament Hill track until 10pm.

🗞️ I was speaking to media students at UAL London College of Fashion the other day about the world of hyperlocal publications, and they were a little negative about the Primrose Hill’s neighbourhood On The Hill magazine, and how uncool/undiverse it felt to them for an urban title. Dare we suggest that Camden’s remaining local mags, papers and online titles might aim so much higher, even team up, to explore what this part of London can deliver media-wise in the unswervable A.I. era ahead?


New on Jamestown Rd’s food riviera: Cushla, Shrimp Shack, plus 50% off at the launch of The Lock Inn

Shrimp Shack - coming soon to Camden Town

New F&B places to try out are arriving in a wild flurry, rather like busses, on Camden’s waterfront backstreet of Jamestown Rd this week.

As we mentioned a couple of weeks back, All About Eve bar has now transformed into new nightlife proposition Cushla, (which opened last night), and will still host the exciting weekly Monkey Business Comedy Club and Camden Cabaret on weekend evenings, alongside some fresh new elements soon to be revealed.

🍤 Shrimp Shack are preparing to bring their roadblocked Streatham original to NW1 in the coming weeks, taking on the Jamestown strip’s former Camden Social unit and mounting a lip-smacking seafood challenge to Chalk Farm’s incumbent, Trap Kitchen.

🍺 The Jamestown strip‘s brand new music boozer, The Lock Inn, also opens this Monday, with a soft launch offer of 50% OFF everything on your bill until the end of May. Check out their roof terrace, cocktail menu and DJs until late at weekends in this brand new spot.

Duke it out: Outdoor tables return + a new cafe, too

Swain’s Lane’s minor outdoor seating drama (see poll results below) seems to have been resolved since we reported last Friday on the struggles of fledgling new pub the Duke of St Albans to place benches and plants outside.

Summer in the Highgate West Hill foothills is officially saved.

Meanwhile, the nearby former failed Wine Cellar unit is about to become a new branch of East London fave cafe, Trade. Expect fine coffees, grilled cheese sarnies and brunch favourites for the post-stroll Heath crowd and increasingly spoiled locals.

🥃 Award-winning USA bourbon brand Buffalo Trace has just opened a distillery store on Covent Garden’s Longacre, where you can go on tours, enjoy tastings and get stuck in to other spirits-related celebrations here.

🍕 Fast growing street food-indy-done-good Pizza Pilgrims opens a big new Euston on June 3rd, complete with an Italian water feature centerpiece. Just a quick heads-up: they’ll be dishing out 1,000 free slices on the first day 😉, and then opening another branch over in King’s Cross in the autumn, too.

Support local campaigning culture journalism. Subscribe to Premium

Euston’s new Impact Hub is having a couple of free open days (May 23rd and June 13th) so you can try out their state-of-the-art facilities for co-working and community events. Find out more & book here

Camdenist in partnership with

Explore Camden like never before with TownSpot

Stage highlights come to you each week in partnership with the TownSpot app: your ultimate guide to local events. Join over 1,000 locals discovering the joy of nearby happenings, combating loneliness, and feeling more at home than ever. Enjoy Camden Town, Kentish Town, and Belsize Park, made accessible with the support of Camden Council and Matthew James Estate Agents. Ready for a deeper connection to your community? Download TownSpot today.


🎭 Our top 5 performances to go see locally this week

🐊 The Festival of Korean Dance returns to The Place this week, running through to the end of the month, with Kontemporary Korea: a Double bill of K-Dance on Wed (22nd) presenting two contrasting emotive and high energy works, followed by a post show talk.

🤣 It’s only a quid for a night of laughs at Top Secret Comedy Club in Drury Lane, as Sunday Stand-up Comedy Late Show (19th) offers a mystery bill, and you are welcome to tip them extra on the way out, if your sides are suitably aching by then.

💃 It's Gonna Be May is a new one-woman drag show from star of Rupaul’s Drag Race Just May, screaming into the Phoenix Arts Club this Wednesday night (22nd) to celebrate all things May this May.

🔪 The smash hit Heathers - The Musical makes a welcome return to Camden’s bit of the West End from Wednesday for a six week run (until 6th July) at the new Soho Place Theatre.

🌍 AWO the Musical: The Man, his Jewel and… portrays the life and legacy of legendary African statesman, politician, lawyer and philosopher, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and his political work in post-independence Nigeria. At Euston’s Shaw Theatre tomorrow (18th)


🎶A whole world of music in the vicinity

Soema Montenegro at Kings Place tonight

🌍 It’s the Songlines Encounters Festival at Kings Place all this weekend, bringing the magazine’s world music highlights together for a 25th anniversary edition. Tonight there are still a few tickets left to catch Malian folk from Vieux Farka Toure in Hall One, or the UK premiere of Argentinean ‘shamen-poet’ Soema Montenegro (pictured) blending indigenous jungle and urban sounds.

☠️ It’s the big stoner-rock, doom and heavy psych fiesta Desertfest all weekend in the area at Underworld, Electric Ballroom, Roundhouse, The Dev, Black Heart and Dingwalls. Get in…

🚺 Head to Ladies Night at the Sir Richard Steele on Sunday (19th) for a strong, vocally-led bill of rousing live music with vocals and guitar from SJ Mortimer, Lucia Comnes and host Savannah Gardner.

🎻 Talentbanq presents Jacob & Drinkwater doing their dynamic folk-influenced thing down at Parkway’s Green Note this Tuesday (21st).

🎹 Time to blow your musical mind with the feel-good organ-jazz sounds of Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio at Camden Town’s The Forge on Friday (24th)


📊 This week’s 1-click poll

What do you think when Camden is given a global spotlight?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

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 6,292 subscribers

and counting…

🏅 139 new signups in the last month
🤝 Camden’s most engaged, fastest-growing readership


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!):


QUESTION: As a pub has to remove benches and plants from its own terrace due to a single complaint, do residents have too much power over London's social and cultural spaces?

Yes! We should prioritise everyone's right to congregate (and even get a little overexcited once it a while)
🟨🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️ 41%

No! The right to a quiet life is sacrosanct - go make noise elsewhere
🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ 9%

Maybe - a better balance between residents and venues of all kinds is sorely needed
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 50%

Some of your comments:

“It all depends on the situation. I can’t imagine someone who lives by a pub doesn’t know there will be late night noise and lights. I have lived above a pub and understand sometimes the clients (not the pub themselves) cause issues. There has to be a middle ground. I would say ensure landlords include a sign off before renting that the occupants understand there will be noise and late nights because DUH! they are moving into a place close to a pub! ”

“Totally agree, the council need a vision for the Borough which creates and promotes joy and isn’t destroyed by the first irritated letter writer that comes along. It doesn’t make the resident happier either, it just encourages them.”

“I think anyone living in Camden or any major city has to expect that it will be noisy. Most people move into houses/flats after the pub has been established, so know what they are signing up for. If you don't like the noise or the sights, move to the countryside.”

“We went through lockdown where meeting in groups of any kind were forbidden. Remember the joy when we finally could meet in groups of more than 4 or 6? Come on, give it a break, will you? Surely we can all cope with some congregation and a bit of noise? ”

“Actually I think you have got it wrong. Not ‘their own terrace’ ( the enclosed area in the photo) but the pavement by the zebra crossing on the south side of Swain’s Lane. 4-seater tables would do nicely. The 6 seaters crowded the egress of the zebra crossing onto the pavement. BTW I made no complaint and have enjoyed a drink there and very much hope this one is a go-er (but I did object to the zebra crossing being placed there. I thought it potentially dangerous but hey ho).”

  • 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 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.