Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Greenwich Market

Greenwich Phantom brings the sad news of the closure of the 'village market' (that's the second-hand flea market), noting correctly that this was 'one of the very last bastions of old, scruffy Greenwich before we're forced to hand the baton of bohemianism over to Deptford, and acclimatise ourselves to a future of conformity and blandness'.

This was also one of the last remnants of Greenwich's former status as a second hand book centre (other than the excellent Halcyon Books). I used to like to trawling through the stalls for the kind of obscure out of print books that you didn't even know you were looking for. And of course there were the characters on the stalls. Last year when I picked up a copy of Stewart Home's Mind Invaders book there, the stallholder - without any prompting from me, or awareness that I know Stewart - told me solemnly that Home was a member of the OTO magical order! Of all Stewart's achievements, managing to create a persona that has entered into the folklore of conspiracy-minded South London market traders must be one of the greatest.

There are still some 'nice' things to be had in the main Greenwich Market and elsewhere, but that's just the trouble. If you're not looking for something nice like a Christmas present for your mum, there's less and less to be found in Greenwich and certainly very little unexpected.

All is not lost, there are a still a few interesting stalls in the second hand market next to the cinema, and I gather that some stalls may be moving up there from the village market. But that really could be the last stand for second hand Greenwich.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that I got round to buying my desk (about fifth-hand by the looks of it!) from the market before it closed. There were some great pieces of furniture there, and well-priced.

Mister Trippy said...

That's funny - although it should go without saying that the OTO is not something I'd be interested in joining, aside from anything else it is just too well known... I felt Greenwich kinda lost it a decade ago with the 2K nonsense, but sad to see even more of the good parts go. Aside from all the bookshops in the old days, Goddard's pie and mash shop was possibly the best in London... I also used to practice with a band I was in during the eighties in Silo Rehearsal Studios.... And of course much of my novel "Come Before Christ & Murder Love" is set in Greenwich, leading some readers to believe I must have lived there... but the nearest I've ever lived to Greenwich is Poplar to the north and Kennington to the west...