Monday, 13 April 2009

A Fleeting Glance at Portobello Market

The Portobello Antiques Market is a strange place. The street is full to bursting with people, yet fails to feel vibrant. I prefer to make my approach by slinking up the back streets to sit and drink a cold one outside the pubs further up Portobello Road towards Ladbroke Grove, watching the mix of people, old money, new money and no money congregating in the streets.

Antiques leave me cold. Always have done. In the V&A for instance I tend to take a greater interest in the people wandering around rather than the assorted thousand year old nick nacks “collected” by Knights of the British Empire from around the globe. I like painting and drawing, buildings, machines and musical instruments. The ceremonial vase of whoever might make a nice footrest, assuming of course that you cover it with a cushion first.

I guess it’s no surprise that when I wander the street passing the antique shops filled with coins, medals, mirrors and other gold shiny detritus, squeezing down the hill, one hand on the wallet, one hand braced for balance against suddenly stopping Italians and Chinese tourist groups that I’m just looking for the nearest bar.

Come join me! We’d better be quick, the sun is shining, but this is England. It might be our last chance.

Oh, and bring your scarf. Sun doesn’t mean warmth in this country either.