North London Food & Culture

Ich Bin Kentishtowner: Simon Pitkeathley, CEO, Camden Town Unlimited

'Who do I hate? People who get off the bottom of the escalator and stop to look at their phone'

Simon Pitkeathley: ‘What has my career taught me? That planning it is a waste of time’ Photo: CTU

Simon Pitkeathley is CEO of Camden Town Unlimited (CTU), which runs the Collective project, providing pop ups, hub spaces and job opportunities to young creatives in Camden Town. He began his career as a musician playing in and around Kentish Town, before moving into banking and politics, during which time he worked for the Prime Minister twice, in 2001 and 2005.

When were you happiest?
I met my wife at a gig at the Bull & Gate, so I’d better say that. I offered to take her on a date and she said she’d make me a hat. I never got the hat.

Where would you like to live?
I live in Tufnell Park and I really like it there. It’s where my kids went to school and I have lots of friends in the area. But in another life I’d love to live in a tiny high spec NYC-style bachelor pad on Camden High Street – if only they existed.

What is your favourite sound or smell?
Black Sheep coffee is amazing but you have to be careful. More than one and I can’t sleep. And of course walking through Camden Lock’s new food stalls by the canal is a smell sensation that always manages to wreck that day’s calorie control.


What is your greatest life achievement?
Getting paid to do things I love in Camden Town of course. Oh and having kids and stuff.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
To be patient, but not to take no for an answer.

What is your earliest memory of the area?
Running up and down the high street trying to buy spray string for a gig at the Bull & Gate.

What makes you unhappy?
Seeing great ideas not come to life. Plus I always cry at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life.

What simple thing would improve your quality of life?
Hair. And more money to do great things for creative start-ups in the area.

What is your most unappealing habit?
Treating my office like home and not editing what I say when I drink tequila.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Tequila. Or an Old Fashioned at Blues Kitchen.

Impressive: Collective 159, the new "creative marketplace" on Camden High St
Collective 159, the new “creative marketplace” on Camden High St
Where do you hang out?
I like the new Record Club on Kentish Town Road. Also La Patagonia near Mornington Crescent and Lemongrass on Royal College Street. My local’s the Tufnell Park Tavern.

Who or what do you hate and why?
I hate lateness, and people who get off the bottom of the escalator and just stop to look at their phone.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Hair and lack thereof.

What’s the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
“You don’t care.”

What has your career taught you?
That planning it is a waste of time. Just grab the opportunities as they come along and try not to miss them.

What is your favourite dish and why?
Spag Bol. I can make it and my family like it.

What did you do today?
Spoke to a room full of cool young people who want to learn to coding for the web. And spent time sorting various things out at our new space Collective 159 (pictured, above) on the high street.

Describe yourself as an animal.
A cross between a lion and a fox. With a little less hair, of course.

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The award-winning print and online title Kentishtowner was founded in 2010 and is part of London Belongs To Me, a citywide network of travel guides for locals. For more info on what we write about and why, see our About section.