Councillor Jonathan Simpson, Camden borough’s first openly gay mayor, was last night confirmed in his role at a ceremony in Camden Town Hall. In his new position, Councillor Simpson pledged to retain the “rock ‘n’ roll” spirit of Camden, a major landmark on Britain’s musical map.
Mayor Simpson’s fellow labour councillor Theo Blackwell said to the party: “In the immortal words of Spinal Tap, this mayor turned it up to eleven. Rock on Jonathan!”
Councillor Simpson said that the Roundhouse Trust – which helps local youths gain access to the arts – would be his official charity and that all money raised from his work as the First Citizen of the borough would go towards helping young musicians reach their full potential. He said: “Music really can have an impact on the emotions of people. We have so many great venues – Kenwood, Koko, the Jazz Café [and the] Dublin Castle. I want to encourage all young people to learn an instrument.”
Amy Lamé, Broadcaster, writer and hostess of alternative south London gay club Duckie, was introduced by Councillor Simpson as his Mayoress. Ms Lamé, speaking to the Camden New Journal, said: “I nearly fainted when Jonathan asked me to be his Mayoress. It will be an absolute honour. We’ve been friends for 15 years. All my early clubbing days were in Camden Town – most of all the Black Cap.”
The ceremony was followed by a packed party which, in keeping with the new mayor’s promises, included music from young Roundhouse musicians Maya Talwatte and Bangla Shur and the London Gay Men’s Chrous, who concluded the night with a rendition of an old hit originally recorded by The Eagles, ‘Desperadoes’.
Councillor Simpson concluded: “It is a fantastic honour to be the Mayor of Camden. I’ve been proud to represent the council since 2002, and now I intend to use this special year to do all I can to promote the borough’s incredible music and to encourage everybody to be active as citizens.”