December is the cruellest month,
breeding sweet mulled wine from dead grapes, mixing
childhood memories with more refined sweetness, stirring
root vegetables with fresh frost.
As T. S. Eliot would say, December is a month of high expectations for a perfect family in a perfect house which always fails to fully materialize. There would always be something missing, not fully understood & hanging in the freezing air like suspended snow.
Frozen fingers cannot hold tongs so it wears you out standing in the cold, protecting your market stall.
When the Xmas hype appears, the flow of advertising fluently would take you away, especially if you are a novice in the street food scene. Xmas fairs, festivals, community special projects, foodies get-together & secret supper clubs would present themselves under a spotless pine with expensive fees & dreaming about the boom of trade you may expect, you would end up with a lot of regret.
Shoppers too busy with their familiar Xmas affairs or too frightened of the Met Office weather forecast would excuse themselves from leaving their cosy, warm fireplace. A deserted sidetrack of stalls would leave you
high & dry.
They know the game too well in Greenwich where experienced food traders who regularly, year after year, have been there, without wallowing in somebody else's mire, depart for a long holiday in the middle of December.
Xmas is the bust which has no boom, a-part from the gift shop; an exported Olympics where too emphasys on streets full of traffic jam, leave the street with no traffic a-tall.
No hope? There is hope in fidelity & reward in loyalty. Week after week, hour after hour, same pitch, same street, perseverance & quality is a powerful mix. When the locals are with you, the loyal ones would always make sure you do alright.
When people buying food only for a photo shoot have left like the Fake Plastic Trees in the Radiohead song, the last customers standing are followers guided by an appreciative hunger.
I love the ladies in East End.
They buy bread in group of few loaves like a woman who really needs to feed family & kids. They go straight to the boule, with the dignity of who is doing the right thing.
The honesty of the female buyer is like a resolute tree left by pretentious pine needles &... talk, truly, through their eyes.
A perfect circle of truth & beauty. It was an old philosophical definition of Aesthetics.
It reminds me of 'Becket', the old black&white movie from '64. When the Norman King tries to understand why the British saint can be so loyal as a counsellor of an invading majesty in the same way he can act as an archibishop without a God; the explanation for him is Aesthetics. He is capable of doing it properly just for... Aesthetics.
It reminds me of the fact that the accent used in EastEnd is Cockney, coming from the name given by the Normans to London: Pais De Cocaigne = Land of Sugar Cake.
In this land of sugar, heroic & strong ladies did a lot for women's rights like that slogan "Votes for Women" placed by the East London Federation of Suffragettes outside a baker's shop at Bow.
It reminds me of a poetess, recommended by a mum of three follower on twitter: Anne Sexton.
In 'Christmas Eve', after the party, admiring her mother's portrait in the background of a Xmas tree, she finds the true character of the parent who is no more in the picture which does not seem to age.
Thanks for reading. I would like, just for Aesthetics, to close this circle of beauty & truth, with a song called Fake Plastic Trees.