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#166 Borough Market

May 27, 2011


Borough Market. Borough fucking Market.

You pretty much know what I should be writing here, about London’s most famous food market, don’t you? I should be using lovely safe words like ‘eclectic!’ and ‘colourful!’ And of course ‘vibrant’!

But I won’t. Screw Borough Market. It can stick its purple sprouting broccoli up its arse.

‘Vibrant’. I hate that fucking word. ‘Vibrant’ is usually hateful middle-class code for ‘working-class but acceptable’, which is actually the opposite of Borough Market. (And using ‘vibrant’ is lazy writing, too. I picked up a Lonely Planet guide, opened a page at random and literally found ‘vibrant’ describing both a bookshop and a bullfighting ring. These writers may need new adjectives beaten into them.)

But Mr Brown, I hear you whimper, how you be so bad? Why you say so many? Which you hate so strong? Where soul, Brown?

Let me explain. I’m not being remotely justifiable here. I understand that food often tastes better from places like Borough Market. I grasp the fact that a lot of the goods on sale here aren’t denuding the gasping remains of the rainforest or bilking farmers out of the pennies they need to survive. I fully comprehend the significance of eating food that hasn’t been reformed, reconstituted, refrozen and reheated until it would make a Geiger counter explode.

Actual humans forming a line for processed meat. In a first world country.

But here’s the thing: it’s just food. It’s tasty fuel we insert into a rubbery hole in our skulls to stop us from dying.

I love the stuff. Don’t get me wrong. I could eat all day. Right this minute, my keyboard is covered in Nutella. Nobody appreciates food more than me. But I’m sick of food as a social marker. A conversation piece. A badge of honour. There’s an air of saintliness about the patrons of Borough Market that just narks me right off. A feeling that because you’re eating a piece of chorizo – which you pronounce like you’re hawking up a lung, to boot – you’re somehow a whole stratum above the proles munching on an Egg McMuffin. Because your olive oil was pressed first, you’re first-rate. Borough Market is (like me) unfeasibly stuffed, too. Try and turn around, and you’ll find some lisping twat bleating into his phone about the provenance of the whitebait he’s just bought. This doesn’t help. It doesn’t even have the grace to open every day – only Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Greggs can manage six days a week, Borough Market. I thought you were ‘passionate about the eating experience’. Just saying. [Does belm face, sticking tongue between lower lip and teeth and groaning].

No individuals in Borough Market (apart from a handful of unsalvageable wankers) are to blame, of course. It’s a group consciousness, a scented perfume of sick-making complacency over the whole place. I’d blame white people, but Borough Market is actually well-represented ethnically, in a – what’s that word? – vibrant mix. So actually, I blame absolutely everyone.

What’s my solution to this, then? Grow my own allotment veggies? Chow down at Maccie D’s every day? Shamble round Tesco defeatedly? Hunt my own food, Mark Zuckerberg style? Of course not. I’ll go to Borough Market and whinge with my mouth full, rosemary roast chicken juices dripping down my chin as I moan about the senselessness of artisinal food and reach for another chunky sweet potato chip.

Does all this have something to do with the fact that when we went to Borough Market last, I was hungover and filled with hate for all humanity? Hrmph. Maybe. Nah.

Anyway, when Mrs Brown sees this, I’m going to get a clip round the ear. Hah! See if I care!

[ducks and runs away whimpering]

4 Comments leave one →
  1. William Petty permalink
    May 27, 2011 12:19 pm

    Right AWWWN! Do you know what gets my chèvre? People who pronounce chorizo as though it were an Italian word (i.e. choh-RITZ-oh). FOR NO REASON. Either say it Spanishly, or don’t acknowledge the existence of any other languages apart from English, and imagine how someone from the Midwest would pronounce it (‘choh-RYE-zoh!’).

    This is especially irksome, as it holes my otherwise-watertight theory that the default foreign pronunciation for foreign words the British don’t know how to pronounce is French. Q.v. Porsche, Pinochet, bruschetta

    • May 27, 2011 1:11 pm

      I pronounce it cho-RITZ-oh like I shouldn’t. Other interesting pronunciations could include: Christo, Sho-Riss Orrr, and of course chuhrizzle. Fo’ shizzle.

  2. Laura Hardiman permalink
    May 28, 2011 10:35 am

    What I really hate about Borough Market are:
    a) Pushchairs that are the size of tanks
    b) People taking “artistic” photos of apples by crouching and “trying to get the right frame” for ever leading to a trraffic jam of middle-class push-chairs

    I’ve given up and go to Old Kent Road Tesco- my brother still goes, but he gets up infeasibly early on a Saturday, I’m sure he just does it to make me feel gulity….

  3. May 31, 2011 8:11 pm

    A most droll blog post old bean.

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