There isn’t much I remember from my childhood. Nine times out of ten I don’t remember last Tuesday. However, I will always remember the weekends upon weekends at the Blochairn car boot sale.
I remember all the little details like the back of my hand. Every Sunday at the crack of dawn, like clockwork, my mum would wake me up and treat the morning routine as a military operation. In & out the bathroom in ten minutes or less, dressed in five minutes and we would be out the door by eight o’clock even on a slow day.
The journey would be a staggering adventure. The drive that had a broad horizon as you looked out the window like you could see the world’s edge. The motorway was so jam packed that. when you looked at the cars surrounding you it seemed like you were in a car park but when there was a gap big enough to see through the cars, you felt like you were at the speed of light as everything passed by.
You knew you were getting close when the Tennants brewery was in smelling distance; and when you could smell it, you could smell it: a stench that would singe your nose hairs like a raging inferno, the smell could actually get you drunk if you stood near enough to the chimneys for only a few seconds. When you actually saw the building it left you amazed. It was a funny looking building. It was as if Doctor Seuss was the architect and had a lobotomy halfway through, a monolithic sandstone building with a maze of pipes and tanks exploding from it.
The Willy Wonka-esque building was the gateway to the most magical street I’ve ever seen. Down one side, there was an abandoned sweet factory but the aroma was still there, on a windy day you could taste the chocolate and toffee in the air. A pub that looked like one of Banksy’s dreams, graffiti laden with a rainbow of profanities on it. It could only look more Glaswegian if there was a fat, bald, middle aged man behind it in a Celtic/Rangers top from 5 years before who was smoking a random substance while listening to “tunes” on an old nokia.
On the other was a small car park. The same old rusty cars. that came straight out of an episode of shameless sat there for years upon the tarmac that looked like a quarry with the amount of colossal holes in it. In the middle of this car park was a small canopy, about the size of a shed but it was more than that. A set of stairs inside led into. darkness but the Immersion, oh the immersion was beautiful. The Blochairn market.
A buzz of people, cars & even more people. These characters weren’t even talking sense, just a combination of numbers and prices. “5 for a pound”, “3 for 2”, “2 for a tenner”. They wouldn’t even say what they were selling, probably weren’t even selling anything in the first place. I sometimes thought that people in mental homes were rounded up onto a bus every Sunday and were left to roam the market shouting whatever they wanted.
2 / 2
Whenever somebody was actually selling things there was some incredible things that they sold. The range of items were unreal: one man would be selling a commodore 64 at one stall; to his left a guy selling Burberry trench coats riddled with makeshift stitching repairs; and to his right a women with an admirable bb gun collection. Some of the things were beyond belief. I once saw a man selling what looked like half of his house for £20, ornamental clocks, fine china & high class suits, if you looked hard enough you would probably find the guy’s liver in there.
However, whenever there was all this wonder and magic about the place, somebody made it their ambition to ruin it. There was always a dodgy looking guy in a parka strolling about with a list of the biggest films and pocket bulge that looked like a tumour. He was one of those shady looking guys you’d find selling pirate dvd’s and without sounding like a wobbler, it put a damper on things, not cause of what he was selling, but he was usually a bit of a dick. Every weekend like-minded folk would descend trying to sell camcorder quality films and then run away as a lookout in a van shouted “Polis! Run!”. This war cry was met with an army of police who showed up not long after. It gave me a chuckle cause you could hear the Benny Hill theme song as they ran away throwing half a cinema from their pockets.
We haven’t gone back since more and more Cretans tried turning into some sort of black market. The most recent memory I have is when I went with my mum so she could get a new record player. The place looked abysmal. All that was left of it was immigrants looking for cheap work, a few white van men with a truck load of goods that looked like they came straight from Saville row and of course, the dodgy dvd blokes. The people that did come to sell stuff looked like they were just trying to clear debt. Half of them looked suicidal while the rest were so bored & lifeless that you could steal the clothes off their back and they wouldn’t notice.
I miss the place. With the taste in culture I have nowadays I reckon I could go mad in there. For only £50 I could buy a whole new wardrobe. Double the size of my record collection for £20. Buy a guitar Paul Weller once considered buying for £5. The place was a treasure-trove of glorious purchases. If only I had appreciated the quality of product within the place instead of just my narnia-esque surroundings.