Bring on the Brick Lane Backlash: Redux

I was having a gander at blogs from days gone by and remembered the bemusingly vicious consternation caused by my time spent in Brick Lane at the Old Truman Brewery and I felt like giving it another glimpse of the light of day. And not just to pad out this blog, honest. So without further ado, it’s time for a trip down Memory Lane (perpendicular to Kingsland High Street, near the Rio cinema) and revisit the Brick Lane Backlash of September 2008…

Last week I mentioned that I’d be taking a break from Camden Lock Market for a month in favour of doing the full weekend at the Old Truman Brewery markets on Brick Lane. I gave an explanation why: it’s an experiment to see whether it’d be better for Sally Can’t Dance’s finances and, in the long run, better for Sally as a whole.

Quite a few people took exception to this; both the Facebook group and MySpace profile shed a couple of comrades and I received some bewilderingly angry messages. Apparently it’s like when Dylan went electric.

Rather than ignore these protests and let my correspondents think that I don’t care about their opinions, I thought I’d take some time to address their concerns and to tell them outright that I don’t care about their opinions.

The occasionally eye-bleedingly bad grammar has been left intact but I promise not to rag on it; that’d be too easy. To avoid embarrassment, all names have been altered.

So without further ado, let’s rock this joint:

“nice going looser your such a sellout. i use to think yuo had sum integrety but now i see your only worryd about money. if you realy cared about camden lyk you say youd stay thru thick nd tin”

-Samuel O’Gonad

Thanks for writing Samuel. Here’s the thing: if I really only cared about money then I’d do what any sensible person would do by throwing in the Sally Can’t Dance towel altogether and capitulate by getting a Real Job with an Actual Wage. Instead however I soldier on in the face of logic because I’m too stubborn to give up on the dream and too misty-eyed to see sense.

I don’t think I’ve betrayed any fundamentals of Sally Can’t Dance. It’s all still designed and hand-made by me. I haven’t “sold out” in terms of designs:  it’s still following the same design aesthetic and sense of humour. I’m still using extremely high-quality, certified ethical cotton garments. The only difference is a temporary shift in location.

“Yeah I’m sure you’re going to brick fucking lane cos it’ll be better for your business. It’s blatantly cos you want to be around all those other too cool for school fuckers with stupid skin tight I can see your tiny cock skinny jeans like every other cunt down there. Well fuck you you Shoreditch twat Camden’s better off without you.”

-Alexander McCrabscratch

This guy, he's my kind of people.

This guy here; he's my kind of people.

Someone once said that profanity was the crutch of the inarticulate and, considering that your diatribe could make sailors swoon, your argument’s on dodgy ground from the outset. But let’s skirt over that and focus on the meat of your message.

When I first went to trade in Brick Lane, a couple of people made light-hearted jibes about my motives, essentially saying my sole reason for going there was a cynical attempt to pull everyone in sight – lies and slander, I swear it.

When you’re creating your own stock and trying to make a living out of it, experimentation is going to be a key part of it. As such, I chose to trade at the UpMarket and Backyard because they’ve got a reputation for being full of interesting, original products sold by the people who design and/or make them. So a bit like Sally Can’t Dance then…

Your enthusiasm for Camden is to be applauded; your angry, angry demeanour is not. The fury of your response confuses me: I’m taking a month-long break from a market to briefly work on another one; I haven’t bludgeoned your dad to death and fucked your mum across his corpse. Not yet at least.

“i don’t want to seem like i’m harassing you [Wait for it…] but [Ah, there we are] surely you realise that the overall cheapening of camden is only exacerbated by original indepent traders like you leaving? in some ways i can’t help feeling like you’ve given up too easily. commitment is an important quality. camden’s where you started after all and it seems like you should show it a bit more loyalty”

-Henrietta Groinsweat

Firstly I’d like to thank Henrietta for the most cogent piece of hate mail I received. Ok, so that’s a bit like thanking someone for setting your dog on fire because they also handed you a fire extinguisher and a recommendation for a lovely pet cemetery, but even so.

I’d advise you not to accuse a market trader of being disloyal or uncommitted until you’ve stood around for ten interminable hours in the freezing December cold for the princely sum of £15, day after day in the disappointingly less-than-lucrative run-up to Christmas. I’ve only done it once but I’ve got friends who’ve done that particular merry dance year upon year, which is around the point where we cross the border of Commitmentsville and hike on into Masochism County.

However cold I may look, I assure you I'm colder.

However cold I may look, I assure you I'm colder.

As for the “cheapening” of Camden: whilst it’s true that traders with original stock leaving opens the gates a bit more for people selling mass-produced, imported tat, it’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation. Does the tat encourage original traders to leave or does the original traders leaving encourage the tat? Actually it’s both, but this has no bearing on why I’m leaving Camden.

I’ve said why I’m taking a break from Camden and refuse to repeat myself. Read the blog entry. It explains not only my reasons but the fact (which seems to have been overlooked by the above correspondents) that I haven’t turned my back on Camden for good.

Besides, what’s wrong with Brick Lane? I don’t quite understand this bad feeling towards the East End. Did Brick Lane touch you in the shower when you were a child or something?

I’ll simply close by saying that verbal abuse doesn’t tend to influence people’s decisions and that next time you fancy telling me how to do my job, I suggest you save your energy and fuck yourself with a toasting fork.

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One response to “Bring on the Brick Lane Backlash: Redux

  1. Brick Lane is a heaving mass of touristy wank now days…..but so is Camden. You’re fucked either way. You thought about selling police helmets, toy black cabs and miniature red phone boxes?

    You’ll be rolling in it.

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