Few things will raise a smile in the average Goth faster than the chance to go and drop some serious dollar in the cradle of Goth/Punk culture that is Camden. You can spot them every day, shuffling out of Camden Town station into the drizzling rain, and the recurrent theme that you will observe if you spend any time hanging around the World’s End is “buy all of the things!”
It’s easy to blow your whole wedge within 100 yards of the station in Camden, when you start spotting all of the awesomeness and trinkets that slap you upside the head from the adjoining stalls and shops as you start wandering along.
However, if you want to make sure that you go home with something better than a stupidly overpriced Nightmare Before Christmas satchel, restrain yourself for long enough to read some of my tips. If that’s not enough for you, check out the Camdenguide.co.uk blog, for news about what’s on and what not to miss when you’re resolute about parting yourself from your hard-earned cash.
Put yo’ money away
One thing that the seasoned Camden-ite will tell you early on is that that one-of-a-kind, unique, never seen before shiny thing that you spot within ten feet of the station is also available three stalls down… and three more… and three after that too. Yep, stuff that you would be hard-pressed to buy anywhere but Camden or possibly Whitby and so, have the ultimate novelty value to the common or garden Goth, are ten a penny on Camden’s stalls. The traders that work closest to the station will be selling them for significantly more than the shops further down too, so try to restrain yourself for long enough to get there.
Understandably, shopkeepers are well-attuned to the shopping psychology of their target market, and know that with Camden being as busy and full-on as it is, you’re likely to buy their offerings on the spot rather than taking a half hour to shop around for the best price. Beat them at their own game by holding onto your cash until you’ve walked up at least as far as The Stables market, and shop smart, to keep some pennies for the pub later.
Don’t be afraid to haggle
There is a real mish-mash of shops and stalls in Camden, and they are all, always busy. This is what makes shopping Camden so vibrant and exciting (or pants-shittingly terrifying if you get a bit uncomfortable in crowds…) and also means that every seller is in competition with all of the others to part you from your cash, and often, will be selling the same or similar wares.
From the mass-produced cheap tat to top brands like Demonia and New Rock to the one-off vintage pieces you can find up towards Camden Locks, haggling is de rigeur pretty much everywhere in Camden, so don’t be afraid to chance your luck. For sure, in chain shops such as Punky Fish, your negotiating skills won’t cut the mustard, but pretty much everywhere else is fair game, so don’t be a precious little flower about putting your ruthless head on and dickering over the label prices.
It’ll all be there tomorrow too…
Maybe not for the one-off vintage pieces (Love Camden can give you the low down on where to find them), but if you are around for a couple of days or return to Camden frequently, you will notice that all of the cutting edge novelty tat that caught your eye on your first visit will still be there next time.
Black canvas bags with cat faces on them with speakers for eyes were ten a penny in Camden when I first moved there in 2007, and guess what, they’re still there now. But I paid £14 for mine, and I know I could easily have got it for £9-£10, knowing now what I didn’t then.
So take your time, go for a pint or eat something unidentifiable from one of the numerous Asian buffet stalls, and don’t let the atmosphere and general Camden vibe replace your common sense.
Finally, one of the hidden gems of Camden shopping that you should make the effort to visit include Oddballs Juggling shop, up on the left near The Stables market, run by the ever-entertaining Max Oddball and friends. You can follow them on Twitter, or read their blog about all things Camden, as well as all things juggling related. Try it… You might like it!
Got a Camden shopping tip? Let us know!