A few words about Bury Market
What happens when we forget where our food comes from?
The way we go about our everyday tasks have been disrupted. We’re internalising, our networks are getting smaller, and we’re not very sure where anything comes from anymore.
At the very end of the tram lines, tucked into the north of Manchester, there is a market town. Hot smells of meats, and butter and pastry linger. Incense, piercing sweetness of fresh fruit turn heads to follow. The war cries of fishmongers, green grocers and butchers permeate the air, two punnet for a fiver. We are not in silent, contemplative isles of white washed and brashly lit supermarkets anymore. You have now entered a space that is very much alive.
The voices of stall holders, retain the recipes of their mothers, and their mothers mothers. I can taste the grass that the sheep grazed on, a few miles away. I can see the roughness of your hands from when you were kneading dough with the tips of your knuckles this morning. Stories that are kept alive and real, by the close network of voices, passing down recipes and scandals. Tales of death and life and all those bits in between.
She started making black puddings when she was three years old standing on a milk crate.
We now live in a world where human interaction isn’t efficient enough anymore. Conversations are now a set of commands from faceless systems. Fishmongers turned into cashiers, turned into self-service machines. The contact, the visceral and the personal has been eradicated from our everyday experience. We now interact with various sized boxes. We don’t look people in the eye, or exchange money from one hand to the other. We’re not asked how our day was.
He sits on an old plastic garden chair and observes his customers in the warm sun. I can tell when they’re going to buy something. I’ve been doing this for years.
It’s an overwhelming and vibrant space, fluid in human traffic, yet slow and soft. The days are the same for those who trade everyday. Waking up before the birds, eating tea with aching bones and tired eyes.
Markets are integral social spaces, the oldest forms of trade. We must keep them alive, to understand the social history of ourselves, of what we buy and why we buy it. At the very end of the tram lines, tucked into the north of Manchester, there is a market town.