Sunday May 20th, 2012. Posted by Alex:

Birmingham food markets

So yes, about the markets.

I mentioned in the last post how fast food outlets seem to be swamping the country. While in Birmingham I went to Marks and Spencers food hall in search of one particular condiment. That was a mistake. I have the impression that M&S used to be noted for good quality food. All I found was the thinnest of thin choices of pre-packaged ready-meals, food and drink that is perfect for a pre-packaged lifestyle. Fifty flavours, but all one taste. Pre-packaged, sanitised imitations of various “world” cuisines, a synthetic failed simulacrum of interesting food, quality-controlled into near-identity, but all of it aspirationally packaged. (I didn’t even find the item I was looking for, and had to go to the nearest Asda when I was in the north-east of England where there was plenty of it.)

Anybody who really has aspirations to eat well will not go anywhere near the place, but will go a few yards down the road to the market. There you find thin people, fat people, black people, white people, people from British, Indian, African, Caribbean, Chinese and south-east Asian backgrounds buying and selling food that is interesting, far superior in quality to anything you’d find in a supermarket, as fresh as you can get without collecting it yourself – and cheap!

These videos were just taken wandering around with my little compact camera, but try to imagine that you are there. I started outdoors:

And then there is indoors:

Not to forget the rag market, but I don’t have video of that.

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