The next morning we arose early to take full advantage of the coming day of shopping. Since our hotel is just a short walk from Camden High Street, we were among the first to begin perusing the various wares on show. The market (and even some of the surrounding shops) are great places to find deals. However, I offer three bits of advice that I accrued in my pursuit of the best and cheapest clothes:
1. Don’t be afraid to look around. One thing you will notice is that there is a lot of overlap with regards to what is sold at the market. Don’t assume that just because the stalls are selling the same thing that they are selling them for the same price! A lot of times I would see a dress that was £30 at one stall sell for £25-20 somewhere else in the market.
2. Don’t be afraid to bargain. Many of the shopkeepers are willing to negotiate the price of their goods with you as long as you keep the discount to a reasonable range. If by some chance you meet someone who isn’t willing to bargain, never fear! You can probably find someone else selling the same thing who is willing to!
So after conquering the market and making tons of super-cheap and awesome purchases we made our way back to the hotel for lunch (which, I must add, was graciously paid for by one of our parties’ grandmother).
After lunch we headed to one London’s more conventional shopping mainstays; Covent Garden. It was nice, of course, but I just didn’t feel like spending exorbitant amounts of money in stores whose American counterparts offer much better deals (i.e. Urban Outfitters, Aldo, Mango etc.) I did however plan to spend at least a (semi) exorbitant amount of money in Rockit, but since last year they’ve really marked up their stuff. Last November I bought an awesome blue and green Cosby sweater there for £10 and KG bought a beautiful old hounds-tooth coat for a similarly reasonable price. When I browsed the same selection of old man sweaters I had enjoyed the year before, I was disgusted to see how much they were marked up. I mean, who pays £25 for a wool cardigan in summer? Suffice it to say I was not very pleased.
After such a crushing disappointment on the sartorial front, the only thing that could fill the void in my life was a milkshake from Candy Cakes. If you can get past the mediocre service, creepy mint green walls and blasting pop music, it’s a pretty awesome place with delicious cupcakes and other fattening things.
Once we were sufficiently sugared-up we headed to an awesome little karaoke place in Soho called Lucky Voice. Although my friends thought it looked a bit shady (with its rather nondescript subterranean entrance), they were surprised when we entered the sleek, wood-paneled, vaguely Japanese reception area. We were promptly shown to a private karaoke room that would be ours for the next two hours. Complete with pom-poms, afro wigs, and a choice of various mood lighting schemes the place was pretty fancy. I must admit, dear reader, those two hours were among the most fun of the trip. We danced, we sang (read: yelled), we rocked with the fury of any of the many legendary bands to come out of London’s humble streets, and we didn’t actually pay that much for it either!
As we walked back to the train station in our post-karaoke glow, the whole of England glowed with us. The English team had just won against Slovenia in the World Cup and tons of happy football fans (in various states of inebriation) flooded the streets reveling in their shared national pride.
It was a good day.
MUSIC: Daisy – Fang Island
I actually bought the LP at Rough Trade while we were in London. I highly recommend it to anyone who still likes a really nice kinda old school guitar riff now and again. A lot of people are calling this “stadium rock of the future” (you know, kinda like Surfer Blood), but that label kind of connotes the 80’s hair and crazy shallowness we’re all trying to forget. Sure this stuff is epic and anthemic enough for a stadium (and total karaoke material which is why it is appropriate for this post), but it’s got wicked heart too. Think John Farnham as opposed to Gene Simmons.