Launch Email 5

Immersive Lido video + more refreshing local tips

Inbox-friendly ideas, events, culture, opinion and damn good reads, from across London's most creative and innovative neighbourhoods.

> Friday 14 August 2020

Have you been busy

Eating Out


Shopping Local

with vigour this week? There are plenty of schemes encouraging us to get back out there, yet confusing messages and seemingly endless contradictions abound. This email should help you make at least some sense of what's currently happening, be that in the digital domain, IRL, or most likely a curious and

very Summer 2020

hybrid of both. C'mon, dive in...

 1. Lido - The Movie 

It's high time for a cool-off, as we emerge from a proper sweltering week in London. If you haven't been quick enough to score one of the Covid-limited daily swimming tickets, local director Angela Elvira Bruce's evocative celluloid ode to Parliament Hill Lido is almost as refreshing as taking an actual dip. Just listen to a few seconds of the gentle swish of the water or observe the silent snow blanket fall in winter and you'll feel cool and serene again - guaranteed. Watch her 27-min film (above), and read about the making of it in the words of the director, and some Lido regulars. 

   2. Make a Beeline for the West End  

Bees probably outnumber people in Central London at the moment, so take advantage of the quiet streets, shops and restaurants, and make a beeline for Covent Garden's lovely free art trail The Yards and The Bees. The area's little courtyards currently feature bright bee-influenced installations celebrating the hives kept up on the roof, while the legendary Stanfords (map and travel bookshop which relocated to The Yards last year after more than a century on nearby Long Acre) is currently abuzz with bee books and gifts, too.

   3. Lockdown Love Stories Live  

Local participatory art project

has captivated the attention of the national press, with it's anonymously submitted tales of sex, commitment, longing, break-up and socially distanced passions through the pandemic. Now the artist who cryptically chalks the web address onto local paths and benches, Philippa Found, has been reading out some of the stories in suitable lockdown style, live from her own bed.

 and why not consider sharing your own tale? The project reveals our universal, yet very individual need for connection, and is assured column inches and book deals long after our masked faces and elbow greetings have reverted to uninhibited kisses and lingering embraces.

   4. Shop Local: Beyond the Groceries  

You won't need reminding that now's the time to drop the supermarket and use-or-lose your independent neighbourhood grocers. But alongside frequenting the small coffee guy and the friendly trad butcher, do also remember Camden's more quirky non-essentials shops need our patronage just as much at this time too. Places like Shorts Gardens unique lifestyle store


for one example, where th

is fetching

by artist Fumi Koike, is currently discounted in their summer sale. 


 5. More Staycation Temptation 

It continues to be wise to keep an eye on the capital's enviable selection of lux and boutique hotels if you fancy an impromptu little break with no quarantine risk or other travel hassles. Without the usual tourist arrivals, innovative and attractive deals are cropping up to tempt Londoners for urban staycations. This week,

The Hoxton 

noticed the WFH crew quietly melting, so have 

with merciful air conditioned rooms for a totally-worth-it £99 per night. If you're quick, you might indulge in further accessible escapism via another of their Covid-safe summer solutions; 

 at the August pop-up Camp Hox. They've pitched up in Oxfordshire, where every bell tent booking comes complete with a free night's stay at any of their London hotels until October, too.

  • Theatres remain dark for now, but you can now go out and see a play - on the comfy, socially distanced sofas of the Everyman King's Cross. This week you'll find Benedict Cumberbatch in an NT Encore screening of 2011's sold-out production of Frankenstein, showing Monday and Thursday.

  • A new video emerged this week revealing the latest progress on the exciting Camden Highline project. It includes drone footage along the route of the proposed elevated walkway, and footage of Camden Gardens, the new pocket park that 300 volunteers landscaped under the railway arches just before lockdown.

  • Dartmouth Park's Neighbourhood Forum have posted the results of their 'streets for people' survey of over 400 residents last month. Enjoy masses of stats, as they prepare a strong case for improving local roads for cyclists and pedestrians. 

  • #EatOutHelpOut is proving a hit for many Camden restaurants and their hungry patrons, but can there be a better independent lunch deal around than pizza, pasta or a grande salad + a soft drink for £3.50 at Rosella on Highgate Road? If you've found a similar bargain, do let us know and we'll spread the word.

  • While patiently awaiting a return to more familiar scenes of a packed-out Roundhouse hosting world-class bands, why not revisit the microsite curated in 2016 in honour of the venue's birthday? Featuring some amazing archive stories and content, it marked 50 years since Pink Floyd played the opening night, the moment this former locomotive shed and gin storage facility was destined to morph into a legendary gig venue.

  • Covid has highlighted the 'digital divide' that unfairly disadvantages kids without laptops and wifi at home, preventing them from accessing online learning resources. The parents association at William Ellis School have set out to do something about it, already raising half of a £30k target  in a mission to buy tech for over 100 students. Donations can make a real difference to individual's life chances, while the scheme also helps encourage social inclusion for students from all backgrounds.

  • The council's Camden Alive project, which works in the borough's estates celebrating local heritage through art and virtual reality tech, has put together A Cure For Boredom, an activity booklet full of creative ideas to do over the summer months while awaiting the return of the full program. Future work will be curated by acclaimed Maiden Lane Estate-based rapper AWATE.

  • Look out next week for the launch of the latest ethical/vegan food joint in Camden Market, which is London's magnet for all things plant-based. Neat Burger proudly state their sustainable Neat Meat patty and hot dogs are a total #gamechanger. We'll soon be able to judge for ourselves if this Lewis Hamilton-backed fast food brand can jostle for poll position in the busy local vegan burger scene.

  • With A-level results controversy raging, and the same  drama likely to befall GCSE's next week, Camden's Careers and Connexions drop-in service for 16-19-year-olds has gone virtual, so it can continue to provide advice on apprenticeships, education, training and jobs at a really vital time.

  • What's it been like as a singer working on a solo album when lockdown struck and changed everything? S.E.L (aka Soulful Emma Louise) reveals the good points, and the bad in the latest installment of Camdenist's Covid Stories.


 Well worth following, too...