“Do you hear that?” “Yea! Sounds like live music…” We HAVE to check it out.” As I approach closer to the hidden noise, I hear a female voice that sounds reminiscent to Fleetwood Mac. I turn the corner to see a fairly average but remarkably British street, lined with booths, folding tables, children and parents alike, and finally a stage. Walking through the booths are selling secondhand goods in a garage sale fashion, grills with chicken and hot dogs, a juice stand, an indian food booth, and a booth selling Parmesan risotto balls — Wait go back — I’m Sold. “Arancini Brothers’ Hand Rolled Risotto balls” is emblazoned on a Sherpa (food truck which I was told is named Brian) with two younger Italians half-working and half-enjoying the high-strung singer at several yards away. With all of the mentions of London food, you might be thinking this is a food blog, and maybe it is. Had I the self control to take a picture of the food prior to eating it, I would show off how good the food looks and tastes. The Risotto balls were cheesy, garlicky, and with the Marinara dipping sauce, delicious. I spoke with the food truck operators about the ordeal and I was told I had stumbled in to the annual Elvis street block party. Every year for the last 5+ years a small street in Kentish town throws a community block party. They invite local singers and performers and the town comes together to celebrate its history. The families living on the street take it upon themselves to hold impromptu garage sales or sell food and baked goods. They had two performance stages, with various acts such as a ballerina and a jazz band. The town came together to celebrate with each other, the local businesses, and anyone lucky enough to stumble in to the fair.
I found the Elvis Street fair by getting lost. While I was lost in Camden/Kentish Town I experienced an area from a unique perspective. It was a look behind the tough touristy exterior put up around the markets of Camden Lock and a look in to the lives of real Londoners. Despite the ‘rough’ aesthetic of the Camden Town crowd and behind the eye-candy punk exterior is a posh, quiet, and beautifully unique neighborhood. On a perfect Sunday morning I stumbled on to a quiet street where I heard more music, out of sight but a sweet and familiar tune preformed by trumpets and other brass instruments. I saw at the end of old english street, a trumpet band, and the tune I deciphered was “O Come All Ye Faithful”. It was a great experience seeing London organic and un-directed. There were about 10 people who stopped to listen to the 12 man ensemble but I took away a special interaction with a truly unique city.
On another day I started in the famous Trafalgar Square in Charing Cross. I went in to the National Gallery and saw the works of Michelangelo, Donatello and Vincent Van Gogh. Then traveled to the Covent Garden market where I sat and listened to an opera singer perform. After sampling about 30 different teas from 3 different tea stores, I left and went to a little known area called Neil’s yard. The yard was extremely small but extra-ordinarily unique. We stopped at a pizza place in the colorful square and was treated to the best margarita pizza I have ever had in my young life. Getting lost in London is spectacular and is a crucial way to see one of the world’s most unique and diverse cities.
In my remaining time in London I hope to explore more of the unique and incredible experiences ranging from modern art galleries to the Kew Gardens, and I can’t wait describe the experience in my next blog.
Thank you for reading,