Category: Other stuff
Date: 26 December 2001
Lower Marsh Street is my favourite street in London. So far, anyway.
I go there quite often in my lunch hour to eat and stroll through its bustling street market. There are many such markets in London, which get especially lively between 12 and 2 when the workers come out of their offices looking for presents and cheap nosh for lunch and fruit for the office. But Lower Marsh Street is especially cheap and it tends to attract the same people, and all the sellers know each other so well there is continuous banter across the stalls. If they don’t have what you’re looking for they’ll tell you another stall to go to, and you know they've been here for years. In fact, the entire street has a striking feeling of community which is very strange in the middle of London.
I eat often in a Chinese greasy spoon which has the best taste-to-cost ratio of food in London, for both Chinese and fry-ups (warm bacon bap for 75p is a perfect winter breakfast). Last time I ate there, I big man came in and started talking to half the café about the latest vat of cigars he had purchased which would be sold on at a good profit to vendors throughout London. The customers seemed well attuned to his wholesaling activities and were little surprised by the large sums of cash involved. Old mixed with young, black with Chinese, white with Turk, more melting pot than cosmopolitan.
Lower Marsh Street is also great for shopping. Aside from the market where you pick up the latest fashions for a quarter the price of the stores, there are also a sprinkling of designer label shops, one with a handsome Italian who asked me last time "eh you, you lookin’ for sometin’ for your girlfriend", promptly strolled up to me and in grand elegant movements swept various dresses from their hangars and asked ‘waddya tink my friend?’ Its very difficult not to have conversations with people in Lower Marsh Street.
There’s also a sex shop which you must knock on to get in, a second hand clothes shop selling 50s paraphernalia of every kind, some interesting bookshops, a couple of Hoxton-like bars springing up and a tatoo parlour.
And, of course, Boots the Chemist.
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