bored of excitement – the griefjunkie blog 

Daffodils In SE10

Dear Rachel,

Non violence never solved anything. It would, however, have prevented me playing unlikely mentor to a bunch of young nightbus stabbers from Stratford at Greenwich Market on Sunday, because if they hadn’t spent their GCSE revision time recording petty crimes on their phones, they a) wouldn’t have been caught and b) wouldn’t have found themselves selling daffodils from a market stall at seven thirty on a Mothers’ Day morning.

I find myself in these situations quite often, and the first thing to do is to de urbanise the retail experience. This is Mothers’ Day, I explained, not Baby Mothers’ Day. People tend to respond poorly to eight hoodies behind a six foot market stall saying yeah yeah buy a flower and sucking their teeth. Sucking their own teeth, I should like to point out – sucking a customer’s teeth is, if my experience is anything to go by, very tricky indeed. I further explained that as I’m not a social worker, it wasn’t my job to identify with them. It was, in fact, their job to identify with me, a process which could start immediately by fucking off to Greggs and getting me a large Americano and a Belgian bun.

The reason behind this unscheduled swerve into the world of casual retail was interesting, though. They were young Asian offenders – and again, I’d like to clarify that they were not young people who offend Asians, but young offenders of Asian descent – who, if they managed to raise a certain amount of cash, would be given a grant to start a small film company. My first question, obviously, was why not just steal it, what with being offenders and everything. The trick is, though, that their half of the cash has to come from demonstrable entrepreneurship, and not family donations, bank loans, or crime, which in my book is a kind of entrepreneurship, and would enable them to play to their strengths.

I am, nonetheless, pleased to report that they did rather well, although they were initially dismayed that a lot of people liked the flowers but didn’t buy any. Market trading is a lot like this, with people telling you how perfect a gift you stuff would be for someone that they know while walking off, and you really can’t let yourself be bothered by it. I often think of it in terms of the leading a horse to water but not being able to make it drink metaphor. In this case the horses concerned are very thirsty – parched, in fact – but, having been led to water, have chosen to go canoeing on it.

As London’s premier gentleman retailer, my gorgeous and – there’s no denying this – slightly furry ears are well and truly to the ground in an attempt to whip up something they can actually sell on a regular basis. They certainly can’t sell flowers. I will spare you the exact sequence of events under which the daffodils were procured, except to quote one of the fellas themselves, who said that ‘…it’s almost like they they don’t want you to have them, what with all the locks an’ shit’.

Facebook: Down to 109 members. The heady days of 114 seem a long way off now. Still, I have decided to keep a list of who leaves, for naming and shaming purposes.

Twitter: Oh go on then.

Still no photards. Still, if I had been able to upload them, they were the interior of a service lift at London Bridge station, myself having a splendid time on a roundabout at an early age, and some meathooks on a table in a pub.


  1. Ruthie 'Free Massage'

    Mar 27th, 2010
    10:48 pm

    Get them to come up with their own t-shirts and flog them? Get them to yell ‘try a free massage’ in tatty market trader jeans and then get involved with wooden sheep? ;)

  2. Paul

    Mar 27th, 2010
    11:17 pm

    Haha. Actually, they are quite a nice bunch of fellas. A bit stab-happy, but quite a larf. They were flogging tea towels at Stratford market today, which must have been grim grim grim grim grim.

  3. Ruthie 'Free Massage'

    May 9th, 2010
    12:31 am

    Yeah, fair enough, good luck to them, that takes guts

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