Friday, April 10, 2009

Special Offer: Short back and sides and a lamb's liver

Yesterday saw me wandering through Luton Indoor Market with my bag on wheels trundling behind me. My bag, which I purchased recently, is a lifesaver. It contains everything I need for my job - which as I am more often out of the office than in it is a must - and it saves me from hoisting a huge load on my back. I really don't mind what people think and actually for a bag on wheels it's quite cool really.

Anyway, Luton Indoor Market. This is a place where Luton's multi-cultural profile really finds it most potent expression. There are Irish stalls clad in green playing Irish music and selling Mikado biscuits, Caribbean stalls piled up sweet potatoes and cooking up jerk chicken, Asian stalls selling sparkly pumps and bright headscarves and Polish stalls with all manner of pickled stuff in tins. Added to this you have the stall that sells fascinators (not a type of vibrator but a little bandeau you wear on your head usually decorated with a bobbing feather), the nail bar, the bag seller, the shoe menders. Basically if you need a version of Paddy Reilly singing a reggae version of 'The Fields of Athenrye' in Bengali, then you've come to the right place.

The market is keen to advertise this amazing variety and has invested in a blackboard on which this weeks special offers are advertised. This week: a gent's haircut and a lamb's liver!!! 'A short back and sides and a lamb's liver for the weekend is it then sir?'.

The indoor market always has a feeling of vague threat - the dusty fragrance of cheap sweets, the buzz of the nail filing drills, the mixture of music, the waft of unfamiliar food, the youths hanging about by the entrances to the carpark and the horrid 1960s setting - yet it is far more vibrant than the anodyne shopping centre from which it borrows this corner of seething humanity or any kitsch farmer's market with its stallsof overpriced sundried tomatoes and posh bread.
Good for Luton Indoor Market say I. Next weeks offer? Nail jewels and a packet of sprats perhaps. You never know your luck!

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