My real name might be David but, using the nom de plume Jenbel (don’t ask), I got myself into a spot of bother with Mrs Kentishtowner after challenging a review of The Lion & Unicorn – whilst accidentally coining the phrase Monoclesque Stylism.
Enough about that already but, in a roundabout way, it did get me thinking about how NW5’s disparate tribes – young, old, privileged and not-so – all interact. Because no matter how many boozers are tarted up, or artisan coffee shops open, or attempts at Shoreditchification succeed or fail, our community – like all the best – will always be heterogeneous.
But where are the places of convergence; where all sides meet? Here’s my light-hearted – and by no means comprehensive – glance at five:
#1. The Co-Op. Right-on enough for Earth customers to buy fair trade coffee, a wine range that covers all ends of the market (and challenges Oddbins on price), this is the community shop of choice in KT.
#2.Poundstretcher/B&S Homecare. Some of us may kid ourselves about these outlets, but we all know in our hearts they are the most useful shops in Kentish Town (and yes, I know B&S cleaned up in the 2011 Awards). Whoever you are, where do you go when you need a sink plunger, or your toilet seat has broken?
#3 Greggs. I don’t see queues out the door of many other shops in NW5 at lunchtime, do you?
#4 Kentish Town Health Centre. This is as close as we get to an old fashioned community centre (er, what about the KTCC? Ed). Parent and child drop-ins, various classes and GPs make this the only place you’ll see the likes of David Miliband rubbing shoulders with everyone else. Well, in theory.
#5 Rio’s health spa. Where else? Rio’s wins my award for NW5’s most surprisingly egalitarian offering, pants down. Based on a not-very-scientific survey of those entering and leaving London’s best-appointed oasis, I can confirm that the clientele crosses all age, gender and religious divides. In one afternoon I saw two elderly couples, a builder, an Hassidic Jew and a transvestite availing themselves of its services (From what vantage point? Ed). In fact, I challenge anywhere else on the High Street to come close to bringing so many diverse people together in one blissful place.
Words: David Jenkins
So where else in Kentish Town captures the essence of our multifarious community? Tapping The Admiral? E.mono? Frank’s Superstore on Queen’s Crescent?