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SAVE Camden Market !
Camden Market is strange and interesting, a place of alternativeness, and as well as being an place with lots of shops where you can buy unusual clothes, it's also symbolic of a cultural advancement and diversity which outmodes "normal" and "mundane". Near to Camden Market, there's an underground railway station, Camden Town, and as you'd expect, most of this is under the ground. Let's keep it that way and not allow the Underground to compulsory purchase places and to invade places which have a perfect right to be there on level ground. To see more about this see CAMDEN MARKET UNDER THREAT and make your feelings known by writing to the Council!
Anyway, I was shopping around the marvellous chaos that is Camden Market and was on the side of the road opposite the underground station and I saw a shop which had big signs up that said "closing down sale!", so I went to buy some bargains. Talking to a member of staff I heard a curious story, which is that there are some big property developers attempting to buy up a whole line of buildings on that side of the road so they can put in some kind of newfangled highfallutin' place to sell ordinary mainstream stuff.
The corporate reasoning goes, apparently, that if there's thousands of people milling about in a shopping area, then: "If we buy up some of these shops, then WE will sell loads of stuff and make money". Of course, the point they're missing is that if they buy up the interesting places and put something bog-standard there instead, they won't sell much. People go to Camden because it's weird, unusual, interesting, bizarre, non-mundane, and aren't going to be persuaded to buy something boring just because it's located in the same place because someone has bought up the space that was previously occupied by somewhere genuinely odd.
Come on, give us some credit for some common-sense. If someone's out shopping for some alternative cyber gothic punk clubwear, and they find the shop has been bought-out by a place selling suits like salesmen used to wear in the 1980s, they're not exactly going to be fooled that easily! They'll be more likely to walk 100 yards along the road to where the proper alternative market has migrated to!
As a paranoid myself, I have a different theory for why there is an attempt to take over parts of Camden Market. I know the buying-up makes no sense from a business point of view, and I think there is a political hidden agenda. Alternative culture generates freethinking ideas, and governments don't like that. They want people to be easy to control, and to do what the government tells them to do. Any kind of rebelliousness is considered a threat to the throne of mundane mediocracy. If you dye your hair or wear a weird outfit or smoke your own houseplants, the government is worried about being overthrown by you.
So, what they try to do is to put alternative markets out of business. Look at what happened to Kensington Market! Also, there was a place in Birmingham called the CornMarket which the authorities got rid of by using a bomb as an excuse.
Don't let them get away with it! A free market economy requires freedom of choice, so make sure you vote with your cash!
Also see Camden Market, Camden Market (underground station) problem , Keep It Camden (was www.camdenlock.co.uk/kic.htm ) and Libertarian Links
Update 2006/09: Now is the time to do something. See Save Camden Stables Market.co.uk (www.savecamdenstablesmarket.co.uk - sadly gone) and take a look at the situation. If you feel as strongly as I do, that demolishing/degrading a world class cultural heritage site such as CAMDEN is wrong, now's your chance to sign a petition and add your own comments!
Update 2007/10: On visiting the place where I expected to find The Arches, it was boarded up. In fact it was boarded up right from the walk through bargain fashion shop near the security phonebox to the steps near the oriental food stalls. That's a bad sign and suggests that those interesting shops are gone despite what people thought about it! According to Save Camden Stables Market.co.uk there were 36,000 signatures on the petition. Evidently people's opinions have not prevented the plans from being carried out.
Having said that, most of Camden Market is still there. How can we keep it that way? One idea would be to get as many of the shops as possible to have affiliate programs*. That would mean that as long as there are customers on the Internet, the shops will stay in business, regardless of property dealing and questionable political goings-on.
* Well, at least Punkyfish has an affiliate program!