Sunday, September 07, 2008

To Market

Recently, whilst engaged in some pleasant pursuit my enjoyment has sometimes been curtailed by the sudden thought that this activity is almost certainly the subject of a post on Stuff White People Like. As you probably know the title of that blog is misleading - it's not so much about what white people per se like, but about what reasonably well-educated, middle class, middle-aged people who like to think of themselves as socially aware (ie. me) think they should like. In some ways the title of the French equivalent is better - it's called Trucs de Bobo (a bobo being a bourgeois bohemian).

Viz my trip with the children yesterday morning to the market at Saint Michel. There are several markets in and around Bordeaux during the week, notably a rather contrived one on the quayside on a Sunday morning which attracts well-heeled city-dwellers out with their baskets and their poodles for a little local colour. (Rumour has it that the mayor Alain Juppé often has his driver drop him off just round the corner where he unloads his bike from the boot then cycles around the market stopping to shake the occasional hand and make some token purchase.) The market at Saint Michel is nothing like that - it's big and authentic and full of pungent smells and shouting and people pushing and shoving.

Yesterday we made our way through crowds of cash-strapped people doing their weekly fruit and veg shop; women buying vast quantities of pastries in preparation for feasts at sundown (it's Ramadam remember), past tables piled high with mint and coriander and barbary figs, others with many bolts of either very sparkly or very dowdy material; stalls that specialise in Spanish cheeses, hams and chorizo; young men in robes collecting money to build a new mosque; Halal butchers and African spice merchants.

It's all hugely enjoyable and dépaysant, a bit like a trip across the Mediterranean but only a stone's throw from home, and the produce is cheap to boot. Just the sort of thing we bobos go mad for.

But if there's one thing we bobos know how to do well, it's decorticate our own smug little predilections and laugh at them, n'est-ce pas?

4 comments:

Lucy said...

'Decorticate'?? I like it!

Ironies within ironies...

Antipodeesse said...

Oh, so cleverly put!

Lesley said...

Thank you both for the nice comments.

Anne said...

Bien sur. This reader is currently seeking a Francophone nanny in Dublin. I can stop any time.