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Local culture stories worth following

From an exciting new grassroots venue to the return of a devastated restaurant

Artist Anne Pigalle

Our corner of London is feeling very much at the centre of attention right now, in part due to the big Disney+ doc and also the leading role of one of our MPs in a certain general election.

But, as ever, there’s loads more juicy unexpected stuff than that waiting to be discovered when you scratch beneath the surface.

And that’s what we do here, each and every Friday morning.

We received another crop of lovely reader feedback this week - it’s rewarding to know that this newsletter is an essential (and welcomed) part of your media consumption, particularly with so much competing for every minute of attention.

A couple of messages voiced frustration that not all the exciting new rooftop terraces listed last Friday featured links to find out more, and hands up, that was basically down to running out of time (3am after a night out in Brighton is no hour to attempt writing half-decent editorial 😬).

Anyhoo, we’ve added more info, so when the rain finally stops, here’s where to go.

🤔 The jury is currently out on Dua Lipa’s aforementioned Camden docu-series now that it’s available for streaming: read HuffPost’s summary of the reviews so far (TL;DR: it’s all a bit sanitised and lightweight).

🎺 Flitcroft St grassroots music venue gets a precious late night licence

Brilliant news to update about the recent Camdenist exclusive on the proposed 500-capacity club, bar and gallery venue in the West End, which has won its vital late night licence at a ‘heavily contested hearing’.

Despite what sounded like vigorously argued but ultimately flimsy objections from some residents and police, the venue’s team presented a robust case for how they intend to improve the area, their representatives sweeping aside lazy tropes of anti-social behaviour and noise in favour of enabling an important and still all-to-rare new music venue to open in St Giles late next year.

It feels like this is a really pivotal moment in restarting the lost cultural production engine in the heart of the capital (which, according to one item raised at the hearing, had more late night venues open during the Blitz than it does today!), and continues to hint towards refreshingly grown-up thinking about nightlife culture by the local powers that be.

A timely review of the artistic output of Anne Pigalle (pictured above), aka ‘The Queen of Soho’, has just opened at the still-to-be-named venue’s ground floor Farsight Gallery through until June 11th.

The Soho Connection features the renowned singer and nightlife host’s erotically charged art, some of which we’ll stick up on @camdenist Instagram this weekend. She’s also doing a Q&A next Thursday (6th).


🔒 Beloved local restaurant shuts - so what comes next?

Odette’s - the Primrose Hill classic

After an epic 46 years in business, and with owners ranging from recently deceased live music empresario Vince Power, to TV chef Bryn Williams (who’d owned it for the last 16 of those years), Regent’s Park Rd classic Odette’s announced its final service last weekend.

Williams signed off in a statement posted online, revealing that he’s sold up, with the intention of spending more time in his native Wales focusing and on some on his other ventures.

A big question mark remains over whether the sale is actually just another chapter in the star-studded Odette’s story, or marks the final full stop.

Either way, we do hope the new owners bring a sustainable approach to any reinvention - just look how lovely the place is already (pictured above) - and that whatever they bring next to the Primrose Hill riviera does justice to the amazing history of dining here, in this most storied of local restaurants.

🫔 The latest kitchen takeover for the summer at NW5’s Rose & Crown comes courtesy of Two Als Bodega Bites, offering New York style chopped cheese fried beef sandwiches plus weekly specials.

🥘 Meanwhile, just across Kentish Town, Malden Rd’s Gipsy Queen is home to colourful authentic Indian and London fusion streetfood team at Haveli Indian Kitchen.

🧛‍♀️ After the devastating fire that ripped through Euston’s Lost Souls Pizza exactly a year ago, the popular Vampire-themed restaurant is finally reopening next week, kicking off with a special house party on June 5th, with bookings being taken from the 7th.

On that note, it seems like a good opportunity to watch the official Camdenist video (from our Secret Feasts event in 2023) for the story behind the pizzeria and their signature charcoal crust with ‘satanic balsamic’ pentagram glaze…


More diversions from the grind for you to try this week

Door art for sale

If you fancy owning a chunk of Camden Market history then you’ve got until tomorrow to place your bids in a unique auction.

Up for sale is a rare collection of wooden doors adorned with the work of street artists including Captain Kris, The Real Dill, Fan HC and Secle Style, which you might even remember were sprayed onto the huts that sprang up (without planning permission) alongside Regent’s Canal after the Market’s big fire of 2009.

Just before the whole area was flattened, to be replaced by today’s vast Hawley Wharf development, we managed to take some historic pictures, which you can see here, too… ⬇️

🏙️ Somer’s Town People’s Museum is celebrating 100 years of the trailblazing St Pancras Housing with a series of panel discussions, walking tours and art sessions throughout June.

🎵 I can thoroughly recommend a trip to the British Library’s current show on the 500-year history of Black British music, Beyond The Bassline, having dropped by the other night for a talk by long-time friend and fave of Camdenist, DJ Paulette. As well as the hugely detailed exhibition, the special event series boasts an appearance by George The Poet tonight, a sound system culture day on Sunday, and loads more stretching into July.

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🎭 5 shows to go see in the next 7 days

English at the Kiln Theatre

🏳️‍🌈 Camden People’s Theatre kicks off June’s Roar season with Grills, rediscovering a local LGBT historical gem, self-proclaimed ‘queer nerds’ Vall, Bee, Jaz and Mo delve into the archives of the Camden Lesbian Centre & Black Lesbian Group and take you back to the 80s - to double denim, landlines, and Sony Walkmans. Until 22nd June.

🚢 Tonight and tomorrow, catch The Windrush Warriors at Camden Town’s Etcetera Theatre, which sees pensioners share funny and heart-breaking insights into the experience of Caribbean migrants who helped shape the UK and ended up treated like undesirables. Their answer to this? To fight adversity with warrior-like ferocity…

💼 See it. Say it. Sorted - The Musical sees five strangers under scrutiny for abandoning a suspicious bag at King's Cross. The confines of the waiting room and interrogation process compel them to confront their emotions and the issues they're all evading. Catch it at 26 Crowndale this Tues and Wed (4th-5th).

🤣 This week’s night of free laughs can be found on Wednesday (5th) at Highgate Road’s Never For Ever with the return of the roaming Slap and Giggle Comedy Showcase - do book an advanced table though to make sure you get a seat.

🏫 Transferring from it’s UK premier in Stratford-upon-Avon, the RSC’s Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy English (pictured above) is set in a classroom in Iran, where four adult students grapple with learning English as a foreign language, while realising there’s more to each of their lives than can ever be uttered. 5th-29th June at the Kiln Theatre.


🎶Our pick of the local live gigs


🎤 Californian hip hop legends the Hieroglyphics crew have never been to the UK before, but all that changes tomorrow night (June 1st) with a rap masterclass at 02 Forum Kentish Town featuring Souls of Mischief, Del The Funky Homosapien, Casual, Domino and Pep Love.

🤘 Long-serving metal tribute act Sack Sabbeth bring their Ozzy era (1970-78) powerhouse of a live show to Camden’s Dingwalls on Sat 1st.

🔘 4 bands, 1 DJ and a free party that’s broadcast live on the radio, it’s the return of roaming grassroots music night Boombox to The Fiddler’s Elbow on Sunday (2nd) evening, featuring acts from dark pop to industrial techno.

🎻 Australian singer songwriter Monique Clare has played cello on tour for everyone from Kate Miller-Heidke to Eminem, and on Monday (3rd) brings her own impactful indie-folk cello and vocal show to The Green Note.

🪘 Ibibio Sound Machine are a groundbreaking London-based musical ensemble that blend traditional West African highlife and electronic dance music for a vibrant fusion of Ibibio folklore, funky basslines, and synth-driven grooves, to be found this Thurs (6th) at KOKO.


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