Camera Cafe

London, England

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Camera Cafe, London

Camera Café indeed lives up to its name, offering for purchase various kinds of hot drinks, as well as filters, lenses, and—yes—cameras. I don’t want to spill forth right at the start all the reasons Camera Café is amazing (café + camera = guaranteed good thing), waxing hyperbolic towards a soaring crescendo, to leave the reader at the end with only a trite denouement. So, I will begin this ‘scene’ with a litany of criticisms, which may or may not touch upon some common café complaints, such as regarding baristas who spitefully inform customers of extra charge for soymilk; the subjection of patrons to hours of commercial-accompanied classic rock; drug busts staged frequently at intersections adjacent to cafes; streams of perambulators persistently filling café spaces; café interiors that are too dark; and so on. But I can’t do that. Because Camera Café is (near) perfect.

As I am faced with a dearth of decent cafes in my current abode, I have come to obsess over the preponderance (and cost) of soymilk in coffee establishments, resorting to carrying my own soymilk. Does Camera Café charge for soymilk? Do they even carry soymilk? I don’t care. There are cameras and coffee here—and photographs of bikes on the walls, glass cases filled with matchbox cars, a small skylight that filters the grey London sun into a tiny seating nook, and a circa-1980 Scrabble set that is wedged into a crowded bookcase. Frank Sinatra croons through the speakers:

Walk on through the wind,
walk on through the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed and blown,
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart,
And you’ll never walk alone,
you’ll never walk alone.

Camera Cafe, London

Yet this is a place to be alone, mulling over waxy, holographic memoryscapes, pressing fingers into skin, to imagine for one moment what it’s like to be touched—a simulation that never really ‘works’; and on top of that, to savor the bitter taste of solitude, the impossibility of communion of any kind. If you’re a connoisseur of such moments, scouring alleys and beacons for things broken, wasted, and shattered, which you will stockpile and later forget…if no other offers an ear with which to share these vignettes, then Camera Cafe will suit you.

Or, like the suit seated nearby, you can conduct a three-way conference call using Camera Café’s free (!) wireless network. “Listen, Seneca: I’m playing a very devious game here! We will buy 50% of the shares if the people react poorly to the foreign minister’s death.”

Soymilk, free of charge. Come on down.

Camera Cafe, London

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Camera Cafe

44 Museum Street
London, WC1A 1LY

soymilk: no extra charge
wifi: free access

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