I moved to London in March of 1999 and stayed with my aunt and uncle for the first week or so, until I had the sense to check a housing notice board at UCL. There was a listing for a room to let in Camden for 55 pounds a week. My cousin had taken me to Camden in his Citroën station wagon six years previously. (During the same trip I had bought my first, and only, pair of Doc Martens from Kensington Market.) Camden seemed like a dingy neighborhood, but it was familiar, and if my cousin said it was cool then it was cool (He made his own suits and wore Buddy Holly glasses.) I was interviewed at the flat by three medical students, all about four years younger than myself: Georgie, Rowan and Lisa, who asked, “What bands do you like?” I looked her up and down, not sure what the right answer would be – what would she like? “Belle and Sebastian?” “Oh I love them!” she cried. They called me back the next day to say the room was mine. I officially lived in Camden – albeit the very edge of Camden – on York Way.
On my second day in the new flat, I splurged and bought an all-day Travelcard. By 10:00pm I’d been all over town, and despite being exhausted, I decided to visit Old Street, which I’d heard was “hip”. Outside the Underground station I gawked at the big, steel structure over the roundabout and noticed only a few bleak newsagents, so I started walking east towards Hoxton to find what all the fuss was about. Just a few steps later I stumbled upon a very large wallet containing a Polish passport, some British pounds and a huge wad of US dollars. Looking around, seeing no one, I marched straight back down to the Underground, back to York Way, clutching my tote bag containing the bulging wallet. In my tiny room I counted the money: £80, some Turkish bills and about $2300 US dollars. I flipped through the passport and out dropped a scrap of paper. It was a wish list, written in English, of titles I didn’t recognize. The last line said “Anything by Megadeth.” At the age of 22, I proceeded to have the time of my life.