Abel: Camden & Rock Music History

This post originally appeared on UKNow. Visit the story here.

A group of 15 UK students are seeing blue across the pond this summer. In a course designed specifically for first-generation students, students who are the first in their families to attend college, the group will explore global communication and business in London, England, led by Director of First Generation Initiatives Matthew Deffendall.

Throughout three weeks spanning the end of June and beginning of July, the students will visit several international businesses and corporations in London.

Abel Rodriquez is majoring in political science and philosophy. He explored the London Borough of Camden– an important site in Rock and Roll history. His blog is below:

Upon first glance, the most appealing factor of London to a lot of people is probably the amount of glamour to be found in the city, from Harrods -an upscale department store where products like Fendi couches, Picasso sketches, and golden iPhones can be purchased- to the crown jewels at the Tower of London. In combination with the high cost of living here, it almost seems that London is only a place of monetary wealth and elitism, but if someone were to assume this, they would be wrong.

Beneath the lush, frosted layer of London made up of the castles, the royalty, the celebrities, and the Bentleys is a deeper warm place to be found. (That’s right. The metaphor for London would be a large cupcake here, an accurate one due to the unfathomably large amount of confectionary treats to be found across the pond.) This layer is where a mass amount of culture can be found, but not all of this hidden cultural metropolis is as soft as the inside of a cupcake. Perhaps the best example of an unanticipated culture to be found in London is that of Camden, unbeknownst to many (myself included) as the borough from which the Punk Rock movement found its origins.

Camden can be described as one giant bazaar frequented by folks with enough metal in their bodies to make even a TSA agent annoyed at the inconvenience of airport security. The bridges and alleyways are covered with graffiti to such an extent that the ratio of graffiti to actual surface is shifting toward the art, much like the ratio of tattoo to skin on the aforementioned customers of the Camden Market. As though this wasn’t enough of a culture shock to me, we were welcomed into the market by two men fighting who had to be separated by their significant others. Contrary to my first impression, however, most people in Camden were some of the friendliest people I had ever met. Not only was the community friendly, but it was also really into music. Imagine walking into a marketplace and hearing the harmony of hardcore punk rock, techno, dubstep, rap, folk, and a style of music I didn’t recognize but can only describe as a German speed metal/techno hybrid (that I do not recommend at all). As I sat down at the end of my excursion and ate a slice of pizza I bought for only a pound, I tried to condense my new idea of Camden into one short tagline, and if I were advertising for this place as a tourist destination, my pitch would be “Camden Town: The Place Portland Wishes it Was!”

For more information on Abel’s program, visit the program page.

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