Red Ink vs. Kentish Town – A Musical Love Story

Few things thrill me more than when I read a book, or watch a TV program, and there is SOMETHING FROM MY REAL LIFE IN IT.

Imagine my delight then, when I first read Julie Mayhew’s unbelievably wonderful RED INK, and discovered that my own dear and beloved Kentish Town features quite heavily in it. Not THAT heavily, I grant you (the book is mainly divided between Crete and East Finchley) but old K-Town has a pretty significant part to play in the plot. I’ll say no more, but when you read it, you’ll know.

Anyway – Julie has prepared a playlist on Spotify (here) which is designed to reflect the mood of the book as it progresses (kind of like a soundtrack) and I thought perhaps you might like to listen to it whilst going on a ‘Features of Kentish Town Virtual Walking Guide’. So, come with me now on a journey through time and space (but mainly North London), and have a listen whilst you go:

1) ‘One Big Family’ – templecloud

A great and moving song choice – perfect for looking up at the HMV Forum! Just look at its fabulous Art Deco exterior.

So Art Deco!

So Art Deco!

2) ‘Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want’ – Slow Moving Millie

As we get nearer to Christmas, this is surely a pertinent song choice. And, luckily, you have a great chance of getting what you want if you visit the Kentish Town Pound Stretcher! Funnily enough, this bobby dazzler of a shop is also featured in Imelda May’s song ‘Kentish Town Waltz’. Kentish Town: inspiring a generation.


3) ‘Zorba the Greek’ – Mikis Theodorakis

If you are in the mood for Greek food, look no further than The Phoenician Mediterranean Food Hall. They do a stunning range of baklava, cheese, mezzo and every sort of olive you can imagine. It is also compulsory to hum this song as you browse – fact.


4) ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ – Astrud Gilberto

There are few landmarks more famous in Kentish Town than Rios – but maybe ‘infamous’ is a better word… Errrm, it’s a naturist spa. Let’s skip over that detail,  and enjoy its joyous 80’s facade instead (look at those palm trees!), whilst listening to a bit of Astrud Gilberto and imagining we’re in the REAL Rio, not the (let’s face it) slightly grotty North London version.


5) ‘La Valse d’Amelie’ – Yann Tiersen

Julie has included a lot of the Amelie soundtrack in her playlist (one of my favourite albums! More me real life stuff!), so if you’re in the mood for some whimsy to match these magical tunes, perhaps you’d like to pop in for a pint at The Pineapple – a beautiful pub nestled in amongst multi-coloured houses – and filled with pineapple paraphernalia (it’s also Venue Of Choice for my birthday party this year).

The Pineapple

Leverton Street

6) ‘I Remember’ – Deadmau5, Kaskade

Well, we have come to the end of our tour. I hope YOU will remember all the magical sites you have seen – and that RED INK is out awfully soon, and is truly brilliant. I will leave you at the station, which seems appropriate – but before I go, I offer a challenge. There is a significant launderette in RED INK, and it’s based in Kentish Town. I cannot find that launderette anywhere. It might be that it’s fictional – but if you find one, let me know. Especially if it happens to be run by Cretians…

Kentish Town Station

Hope you’ve had fun!


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