On A Saturday In Camden: Piercings, Crowds, and Consignment

The Saturday Rush, Camden Town
The Saturday Rush, Camden Town

First week of the new Master’s Programme finished. It was a whirlwind of powerpoint presentations, introductions to a great number of people whose names I am still struggling to get straight, and departmental cocktail hours that were far too short if I’m honest. I don’t yet feel that I”m adjusted back into student life in its relative freedom. I feel slightly anxious about the lack of an eight-hour set structure…but I somehow suspect to get used to it quickly. I should in theory have had a lot more time to write here, but I’ve found myself in the midst of creative paralysis for several weeks now.

A week ago I officially became a student again with my enrolment in UCL, and received my new student ID. It feels really good to have the words “student” and “graduate” attached to my name!

With celebratory pint!
With celebratory pint!

New beginning. New page. New life. New home. Time to mark it.

At many key points in my life, a piercing was needed. I plan to write tomorrow about being a pierced person, similar to Already Pretty’s post about being tattooed, but my desire to put metal through my skin began early. At eight, I obsessed over the earrings a friend of mine got for her birthday and dreaming of the day I could have my own. Little did I know that it would be eight weeks (and ETERNITY for an eight year old) before I could wear my coveted dangly hoops. Weeks after the beginning of my undergraduate degree, I went with a group of new friends to get my nose pierced. After those same friends abandoned me and became the bane of my existence, I walked to my piercing shop between classes and got the first of several cartilage piercings. Each one marks a specific point in my life and remains as a bodily reminder of that moment, carried forward to the future.

Today, a new one courtesy of Cold Steel in Camden.

The shop. Awesome outside.
The shop. Awesome outside.

Through a somewhat terrifying entryway lay the shop itself, complete with an appropriately cold, steel couch fashioned to look like something out of your granny’s sitting room. They were so professional. The reviews online were spot on, and on a Saturday afternoon they were jammed with young folk wandering in and asking about piercings they knew nothing about. The staff were pleasantly blunt: “No, we will not fucking pierce you in this shop. You’re not of age!” They asked everyone the same questions and never backed down. “Who are you trying to hide this from, school? No, you should just give up. It’s not worth it.”

Hallway of Terror, courtesy of Cold Steel
Hallway of Terror, courtesy of Cold Steel

Once it was time for me to go upstairs to the piercing room, it was well beyond the time of my appointment. To be expected, given the massive crush of people outside. The room was small but clean, with surgical sterilisation equipment and a nice futon for Russ to sit on. I had worried that it would be hard to explain what I wanted, but my piercer had the exact piercing I wanted, too! A couple of measurements, the ring lined up, and the piercer had me lay down to begin. Left ear up, feet barely on the examination table, facing my boyfriend.

“When you’re ready, take a deep breath in…and breathe out…”

It's called a Daith!
It’s called a Daith piercing!

Cartilage piercings feel like pressure more than pain. This one bled a fair amount, and the process of putting my jewelry in was a bit more painful that with the others. It had to be moved around a fair amount before settling in properly. And just like that, it was done! The new is official.

The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the area around Camden Lock, without venturing into the madness of the crowds too much.

Camden Lock
So many interesting things to lose my money on!
Let’s avoid this at all costs. Food is just not that important.
Octopus wall art

We even discovered Mexican food!

Post-piercing, nothing works like tequila
Post-piercing, nothing works like tequila
"My margharita! Mine!"
“My margharita! Mine!”

After a trip to one of the very best recycled clothing shops I’ve ever had the pleasure to step into (I bought a sweater dress and will be showing it off soon in a style post) we found Belgian Beer in a bar we vowed to visit once more.

Delirium Nocturnum.
Delirium Nocturnum.
I can't think of who this could be describing...
I can’t think of who this could be describing…

I can see Camden becoming a favourite neighbourhood of mine to visit. Dangerously full of consignment shops, brimming with good beer, and mere blocks from my home base for classes! Thank you, Camden!

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