Camden Town is a horrible place these days. It’s jam-packed with thousands of tourists who seem to have no purpose in life other than to get in the way! I found myself repeatedly careering into the backs of people stopping dead in the middle of the pavement simply to take a picture. The amount of times I look into someone’s view finder and want to say “that is an awful picture which you’ll probably never look at again. Anyone you show it to will be bored and wonder why you took it.”
Photography has become so disposable.
I also had to negotiate school trips whose teachers seemed obsessed with the safety of the children over and above the safety of themselves. They were stepping out into the traffic left, right and centre seemingly just to keep the children on the pavement!
I was at Camden Market to buy some props for Sunday’s shoot. I left feeling really disappointed. It used to be really cool. You could go there, rummage about in rails of vintage clothing and racks of Bric-a-Brac but these days it’s all tat. And expensive tat at that! It’s been swallowed up by its own success. Just like Soho. And Shoreditch. And all that’s now left is a little husk of nothingness.
I went to see a really wonderful Hungarian film at the Jewish film festival last night. It’s called 1945, and it’s exquisitely shot in black and white. It’s not a film to watch if you like your films fast-paced, but I found myself utterly entranced by its fleetingness. It was like a long dream. A series of trance-like impressions of a bygone simple world. The piece is set in the immediate aftermath of World War Two in a tiny rural village in Hungary. Properties in the village which had belonged to Jewish people before the war had been “officially” handed over to non-Jewish people and there was a strong sense that the villagers didn’t want the Jewish people back. This is a village filled with guilty secrets and corruption which some are almost desperate to hide. When two Jewish people turn up, the entire place combusts. Is this the much-feared homecoming? Are the Jewish people here to reclaim what’s rightfully theirs?
We ate at the Groucho Club afterwards and, as usual, bumped into Philip Sallon. He must live there. As we sat down, the waiter plonked a bowl of olives on the table which looked very inviting. I ate one. It tasted rank. When the waiter returned, I asked if the olives were stuffed with anything. “Yes” he said, “anchovies.” I instantly felt sick. I’m not altogether sure in which world it’s appropriate to add fish by stealth to a product which gets plonked on a table without anyone saying “these are stuffed with something a vegetarian can’t eat and probably won’t be aware of the taste of.” Yeah yeah, really funny. A veggie ate fish. And no, I won’t die. But I have been a vegetarian for 35 years, it’s an important part of my identity and I don’t feel it’s appropriate to shove something on a communal table which doesn’t look like flesh, but is.