North London's Cultural Guide

Jonathan Simpson is the new Mayor of Camden. Here’s his Top 5

Last night at the Town Hall.
Last night at the Town Hall.

Yesterday saw Kentishtowner Jonathan Simpson become Camden’s “rock ‘n’ roll” mayor for the second time. And here he is, in all his finery, posing on what can only be called “the Spice Girls staircase” at the Town Hall.

“Hopefully I will still be rock ‘n’ roll,” he told us this morning. And, suitably enough, the charity he has chosen to support is the Amy Winehouse foundation. “I want to celebrate our fantastic music scene and the life of one of our most famous singers over the next year. Amy was hugely talented and the charity in her name will help many hundreds of young people in London.”

While the mayor will raise funds for the Foundation’s work, the Foundation will hook up with schools in Camden to provide a drug and alcohol education awareness programme. The ‘Resilience Programme’ will provide an effective educational and support service for young people and their families. The work will start at three schools in Camden: Acland Burghley, Hampstead School and La Sante Union.

And once again, he has a very cool mayoress (last time round it was Amy Lame). And this year it will be Marcella Puppini, founder member of the internationally acclaimed group the Puppini Sisters and lead singer of Marcella & the Forget Me Nots.


He’s passionate about supporting our great arts venues too. “It was sad to see the Bull & Gate close,” he says. “I want Camden residents to appreciate the great venues we have on our doorstep and will be putting some ideas together on how we can encourage people to enjoy the great heritage we have.”

Back in 2011, when the mayor first moved to the area, we asked him where his favourite haunts were. Here’s what he said:


1. The Library, 262 Kentish Town Road

“It might not be rock ‘n’ roll but I don’t have any more space in my flat to store books, so I borrow them now instead. This has a great mezzanine area too. As they say: use it or lose it.”


2. Phoenicia Food Hall, 186 Kentish Town Road.

“A classic ethnically diverse shop with a fantastic selection of goods from around the world. It’s the place I head to for desserts when friends are coming over.”

Wine Cellar-8

3. Wine Cellar, 193 Kentish Town Road.

“Why? It’s all about the coffee, of course. And the custard tarts. A real local institution. And the downstairs wine cellar itself is a thing to behold. ”


4. Georges Barber Shop, 324 Kentish Town Road.

“A tiny little barber’s up near Fortess Road. Every fortnight I get my beard and hair trimmed here for a very reasonable £12.50.”


5. Dot’s Music Shop, 132 St Pancras Way.

“I recently bought a ukelele here as I’ve started taking lessons, and the staff are really nice. I’ve just about learnt Walking On Sunshine, but can’t, alas, yet play a perfect rendition of YMCA like Amy Lame!”

The Mayor hosts his first fundraiser for the Amy Winehouse Foundation on Friday 24th May at the Purple Turtle. Tickets cost £5.

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