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Falmouth, The market

Abandoned on certain days, I forget which, a huge metropolis of skeletal wooden structures echoing Laugier’s first hut. One crescent-like avenue I have dubbed Greek street. An eerie sight all these wooden skeletons, abandoned until the next market day when they will be clothed in blue tarpaulins and dressed up with fruit and vegetables, cloth and trinkets, brightly coloured plastic household goods and shoes, wonderfully arranged in small pyramids, lines or hung like musical notes.

Another smaller market separated from this larger one is in full use. Two formal concrete structures in the centre were recently constructed to compensate the market-stallholders for the closure of the old market in the centre of Falmouth. This had to be upgraded to uselessness: it is now an empty and dead market for tourist trinkets that nobody buys. The two buildings I just referred to are also unused, in contrast to the stalls tightly packed around them, which were bustling with the energy of a lively market culture. It is not difficult to see why. Large corrugated iron roofs spanning a system of heavy, immobile concrete stalls with predetermined ledges and containers for the display of goods as the architect sought fit. Architects do not sell their stuff in markets. That much is clear. Only the stalls at the very edges of these new buildings were being used. No-one wanted them, preferring the colourful light of the blue tarpaulins  perhaps, but more particularly the well thought out geometry of the home-made stalls which are u shaped so that the stall-holder is not divided from the byer by a table. The stallholder wants to practice a discrete but apparent control over her goods.

On emerging from the building I asked a group of very large ladies when the building was made. They misunderstood and began to laugh. A well-endowed lady with a heaving bosom and a small gold stud set in her front tooth, smiled at me and asked rhetorically “How it made?” and proceeded to straddle her chair like she would a naked man and began wriggling her jelly-like body suggestively, whereupon everyone started laughing heartily. It reminded me of a poster I had seen in Mandeville once, it advertised “HARD-CORE JUGGLING”



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