Sometimes the big things in life come with unexpected smaller side-effects. Take my job, located in between Southwark and London Bridge. It’s a great location, close to the river, but most of all, close to Borough Market which is an unintended, but very welcome side effect. Every Friday I roam the market at lunchtime (or preferably slightly later when it’s less busy). I know there’s a lot that true-blue foodies can say about Borough Market (it’s expensive, it’s snobbish at times, overcrowded with tourists at times), but I still love it passionately. I love the sights and sounds, the wonderful products (Polish sausages, chocolate and real truffles, more butter you can swing a stick at, meat (it’s the rabbit season at the mo’), scallops, tomatoes, garlic, jams, and of course my usual lunch: German Bratwurst (with curry gewurz ketchup in my case, reminds me of home), and a ton more foodie-goodies I’m forgetting to mention. Reading a book this morning (Lewis Hyde’s The Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World) where the author talks about the gift economy reminded me of another reason why I love the market: because every purchase is a little bit of a gift. It’s much more human buying something off a vendor of the market than in the anonymous supermarket. You chat, you talk about the produce, you banter, and occasionally you haggle. Try that at Tesco. Buying something off the market feels like a gift, not a chore. It’s something you want to do, rarely something you need to do. Which as soon as I wrote it down made me feel snobbish. I give up, no more excuses or explanations. I just love the place.
Another book which was delivered by my friendly Amazon delivery guy was A Technique for Producing Ideas, which yielded some useful advice for people working in advertising, which I think has a relevance far beyond advertising too:
‘This then is the whole process or method by which ideas are produced:
First, the gathering of raw materials — both the materials of your immediate problem and he materials which come from a constant enrichment of your store of general knowledge.
Second, the working over of these materials in your mind.
Third, the incubating stage, where you let something beside the conscious mind do the work of synthesis.
Fourth, the actual birth of the Idea — the ‘Eureka! I have it!’ stage.
And fifth, the final shaping and development of the idea to practical usefulness.
The principle of constantly expanding your experience, both personally and vicariously, does matter tremendously in any idea-producing job.’
[note: the above image is of my friendly Bratwurst guy, but not at Borough, he’s at the Covent Garden Night Market which was held in August.]