Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Market Envy

We have a lot of excellent markets and farm shops in Victoria, but reading a pair of articles in the Guardian about food markets made me pine and yearn all over again. Borough Market is one I try to visit every time I'm in London, and it seems to get better every time; the variety and quality are staggering, and the ambience incomparable. In the companion article about new vs traditional food markets the excellent point was made that marketeers offer human contact in an age where we're removed not only from the source of our food itself but also from the people who raise, process and package it. And that small scale trading in food is not a bad way to make a living, for both sides of the barrow. Supermarkets are cheap, fast and impersonal, like so much of our world today; I'd rather give my money straight to the farmer if I can.

It's not unlike buying discounted books: if you buy a cut-price read from Walmart or Costco or an online discounter, you are also cutting the royalties of the writer, which are slender enough. So too the farmer loses on the profit margin for retailing through supermarkets. So I don't begrudge paying a supermarket price to a farmer any more than I do paying the retail book price to an author (who's had to purchase the book from the publisher).

Something struck me in a recent interview with 87-year old Lawrence Ferlinghetti:
"My poetics are totally different to something like the Ginsberg school, which is based on the idea of 'first thought, best thought'. It is a solid concept to get the most direct transcription of your consciousness, especially if the person doing it has an original mind. Allen Ginsberg had a fascinating and genius mind and so the poetry is fascinating and genius. But when this method is laid on to thousands of students, many of whom don't have original minds, you get acres of boring poetry."



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting you should find old Ferlinghetti. Way back when I was in grade 9 or so an English teacher introduced me to him (on paper) and I was smitten. He is probably one of my favourites still.

10:21 p.m.  

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