Vic and Nanny. Kaf Blamire photo
Deptford Market on a Saturday morning is a thriving bastion of old-timey market chaos. The air is full of shouting, arguing, laughing and confusion as people pick through piles of strange china ornaments, odd shoes and every conceivable electrical appliance that has been surpassed by modern invention since electricity began. It is untainted by trendy craft stalls and free from overpriced tourist tat, instead it is full of pure and glorious junk. Junk that it is exciting and rewarding to search through; books, odd paintings, records, furniture, TVs, clothes, old newspapers, hats and the slightly depressing china set your mum had when you were five. Approaching market trader Vic, I admit to being a bit nervous, but soon found a softness behind her hardy exterior.
Snipe: How long have you been doing this for?
Vic: 20 years
S: You come to this spot at Deptford every week?
V: Yeah I’m licensed here.
S: How does the licensing work?
V: Well the Council screw you for a large amount of money and you turn up. Simple as that, and they do, I hope you’re going to print this.
S: I will
V: Carry on [laughs]
S: I can see from the banter that you often have to be quite strict with the customers here
V: You have to be strict, most of them are lovely but you do get the odd one.
S: There seems to be a lot of characters around here
V: Oh, there’s a vast amount of characters, there’s also some horrors. It’s like everything, innit?
S: It is. How do you deal with anyone who gets a bit difficult?
V: I’m old, I say what I like and that generally works.
S: Do you enjoy this?
V: Very much so, very much.
S: You must have made a lot of friends here over the years.
V: I’ve made a lot of friends, a few enemies, not many, but a lot of friends. I think sadly most of my social life revolves around people i know here.
S: That must be nice, to feel part of this community.
V: I’ve made a lot of enemies, yeah.
Another market trader: [shouting] I’m one of her biggest enemies!
V: [laughs] There’s one of my faithful enemies there—[suddenly shouting] Ian how much is that DVD thing?—[a customer is holding up a DVD set of Saw. It sells for £4]
S: How do you collect your wares?
V: Everywhere and anywhere, I go to people like myself who want to sell things.
S: Have you always sold jewelry?
V: No, I do everything, anything I can get my hands on. I’m mean, I’m all the way down there, that’s all mine [gestures at the row of stalls]
S: Wow, the record players are really great. Do you find that the trends change as to what sells?
V: A little bit. Mainly, down here, people want things virtually for nothing. They want it for nothing and it gets difficult because they start haggling because they’re a haggling community.
S: How do you feel about haggling?
V: I don’t like haggling—it gets me down. I tell them what I want and that’s it. I don’t get involved in it. I don’t even go down to two for ten pounds or five.
S: Is this a family business?
V: No, but now you can see that most of these people are my family, the ones that are insulting me are my family.
S: What time do you set up in the morning?
V: Five. Six o’clock, I go home. It’s a long day because you have to get up before that. A lot of the time I work twelve to thirteen hours and I never turn off because I can go out for the day and I find something I can sell. I’ve gone out for the day, taken a car, and come back an hour later for a van to fill it up with stuff and spoilt the day out, I’ve done that more that once. I’ve probably done that twice.
S: Is it hard to have a relationship if you are going out for the day and still thinking about work?
V: With people?
V: Well, I’ve got nanny here [a local elderly lady sitting in a chair next to her smiles as she says this]. I’ve got a nanny out of it.
Deptford Market is located just off Deptford High Street and is best visited on a Saturday morning. Get there early to find the best wares. Just don’t try to haggle.
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