I’m no stranger to selling things – it’s what I’ve been doing most of my adult life; that and making things and organising things and selling tickets and . . .too many other ways of earning my keep. Yet in all my life, today is the first time I have ever held a stall at a market. I’ve done shows with a caravan and an awning and lovely chairs and tables which people would admire but seldom buy; I’ve sold festival tickets online; gig tickets at the door; I’ve sold ideas of thing in wood which people have commissioned; all this but never the most fundamental and ancient way in which goods are traded: The Market.
What a word with many meanings that is! The farmers round here call it the “Mart” and go to buy and sell animals. Politicians use it to mean the fundamental unit of capitalism. One kind of market in Britain gets called a “Boot Sale”, which must totally mystify our US cousins. Another gets called a “flea market” which comes from the French “Marché aux Puces” meaning the sort of old stuff which might contain fleas! Many towns in Britain have a market hall big enough to hold 30 or 40 stalls open most of the time but joined my many more in the streets outside on “Market Day”. Markets sell anything and everything that can be fitted into the space. In the last 10 years or so they have become a major seasonal events: the Christmas Markets, and it is one of these I am dipping my toe into today, and a different one tomorrow.
I’m not expecting to sell out, but with luck I might get a good idea of what is “marketable”.