Tuesday, 31 July 2012

How to Kill a Market Pt1

If you have already read this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-19049239 and think traders in Greenwich are just moaning, and not getting into the Olympic spirit, then I am here to tell you that's really not so.

Before the Olympics we were told by the that the Market and shops in Greenwich were vital in helping absorb people leaving the equestrian events to stop the train stations being overwhelmed by so many people trying to get trains when the events finished at the end of the day. The market had to change layout and reduce stalls to make it more 'permeable' to visitors so it could soak up more people. The trading hours were changed from 10-5.30 to 12-8pm, with many traders still getting there early to be set up by 11am, all to help keep people in the town. I even agreed to set up my stall outside in the street to help showcase the market.

Showcasing the market, but no one allowed to come and look. Note the lack of people, this was taken at 12.41 when the high street pavements are normally packed

And so at the end of the event everyone was marched past. Barriers remained in place. Normal shoppers avoided the area because we've had bizarre announcements on the buses from Boris Johnson telling people that London is going to a terrible place to travel. I spoke to one stall holder on Monday who'd come from London Bridge (there had been warnings on all the news reports the night before to avoid it as it was a 'hotspot' and would be packed) who told me he'd had an entire train carriage to himself.

I was outside on Saturday, and before we'd even started setting up officials came an complained the stalls were about 14inches too close to the barriers - which were some 4ft away from where we were. Not that anyone over on the distant pavement could get to us if they did see us. If people did want to investigate and try and go through the few gaps in the barriers officials stood in the gaps pointing which giant foam 'pointing finger/hands' to direct people to the stations - where doubtless they all then had to queue for ages anyway in an ever growing crowd. So I spend a depressing day trying to keep my stall clean as the wind blew dust and dirt onto everything whilst thousands of people ten feet away streamed past.

I know there have been official complained to ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority) and LOCOG (whatever that's supposed to stand for!) but I don't know if there will be anything fixed quickly. If nothing changes quickly I really may have to close completely for the next six weeks until the Olympics and ParaOlympics are over, and find some temporary work stacking shelves so I can at least pay my bills. Yes, it really is that bad.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

The man from the Olympics says 'Yes'

On the front door mat this morning came a letter and license from the ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority) which allows me to trade in Church Street in Greenwich. Normally I'd be in the main market, but to raise the profile of the market they want a few traders to be in this road which is being closed off to traffic, as a sort of sample of what's on offer to all the people walking from Greenwich Train station going to the Equestrian events.

I still don't know how this is going to work, or even which days I'll be there, but could be interesting! The market is having a slightly different layout during the Olympics to allow more people access, which might also mean less stalls. I'll certainly be doing some odd days, maybe not even weekends, although I do plan to be at the market on Saturday 28th July, as well as Sunday, and an extra Monday too on the 30th! The hours are going to be long too, starting at 12 miday (although I hope to be there a couple of hours before if I can) till 8pm. I'm still a little worried as I don't know if anyone going to the Olympics will be in the mood to shop, but fingers crossed! At least I have a license and won't be hauled away for selling glass!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Where was I?

I've been doing the odd extra Friday at Greenwich market, partly because of the upcoming Olympics and not knowing how busy that will be, and also to see if it's possible to drop Sundays and do Fridays instead. It's a much more laid back atmosphere, so I've been able to get away to chat to other stall holders and, most importantly, have a chance to get some yummy Chicken Katsu Curry from the Teriyaki stall, rather than wilted sandwiches!

This extra day, and trying to make extra stuff in advance of everything coming up in the next few months has sadly meant lots of projects have had to take a back seat. I've seen quite a few things of late that have me mulling over new ideas, but first I need to stop saying 'yes' to commissions. They start off simply then just go off the rails! I feel really guilty when they don't work out, at least if I stick to my own mad musing when they don't go as I plan then I don't feel I'm letting someone down. Right now I have a head full of half formulated ideas, drawers full of half finished bits, and no idea when I can tackle them. This also includes a collaboration with another artists which I haven't had chance to work on, which reminds me - if anyone has any old 1950-1970's chunky ex GPO telephone relays I'd love to hear from you. I used to have a boxful, and remember every electronics surplus place I went into had piles of them gathering dust in a corner, but I guess they're all melted down for scrap metal now.

Throw into this a general uncertainess about how the Olympics is really going to effect me, it's either going to have Greenwich packed with shopping Olympics tourists, or avoided like a plague house as it's right on the doorstep of the Equestrian events. I am still waiting to even find out what days I'm going to be there, which I hope to know within the next few days. Oh, and the markets open from noon till 8pm, so lucky my body clock gave up being in sync years ago!

One of the few things I've been able to do is to pop a few of the new little bottles necklaces into my Etsy shop. I was planning to list more, but someone seems to stole some hours in the day again....