Comradery and Hope at Creative West End Winter Market
Blog by Jim Lupton Photography by Robin Zahler
The weather Gods were in a playful mood on December 4th 2021, at More Music in Morecambe’s West End as stallholders and locals gathered for The Creative West End Winter Market. They rolled their dice and sent a lively gale along with horizontal, slashing rain showers. Any hope of setting up the outside stalls was abandoned as space was made in the main hall in a show of resilience which is quite normal for this part of town, and, as the elements were relegated to rattling the windows and shaking a few tiles loose the people came together in a show of unity that was heartwarming.
Pandemics and politics over the last two years have taken their toll on both the physical and mental health of millions of people globally. However, aside from the obvious effects of the virus which have been chewed over and over by politicians, journalists, experts and anyone with a keyboard, there has been an internalized anxiety created by the accumulation of information, bad and good, regarding these cataclysmic events. This anxiety manifests itself as a growing uneasiness and apprehension about the future. Isolation leads to procrastination and a feeling of “ what’s the point “ I have experienced these feelings myself and I must say that if the Winter Market was not the cure for this malady then it was certainly a remedy.
People do stuff round these parts. The amount of creativity local to the West End and adjoining areas is incredible and was very much on view here at More Music. There was a buzz surrounding the stalls as people who hadn’t seen each other for a long time were reunited under the banner of “ Winter Market.” These people had been busy making things. Lovely things. Creative crochet and warm winter woolys were very much in evidence as were a plethora of home made Christmas decorations in all kinds of materials. Plastic had been recycled to make things that don’t ever get thrown away again such as coasters and plant pots. You could exchange or buy, for a small donation, books of all description, ready for cosying up on those cold winter evenings. There were paintings and drawings and slogans on sweatshirts. Notebooks, ornaments and jewellery and fantastic things. I spent all my money. I have to say I couldn’t help myself.
After skinting myself on Christmas presents I sat down at one of the tables provided to examine my hoarde. There were brews available and hot, reviving Winter soup with doorsteps of fresh bread and butter which was a delight. The piped Christmas music was taken over by the Cacophony Orchestra. If I had been partaking of a little “Christmas cheer” I may have been confused by this set up as the members of the band were all dressed quite convincingly as Christmas trees, dancing and playing to festive tunes with a definite ska and reggae theme running through. They made a great noise and really lifted everybody with their music and high jinks. They were very impressive and it took my mind off the weather which was still trying to get its presence felt. Drawing, painting and printing was there to be encouraged for young and old alike. All free of course. A dandy chap strolled about while animating fantastical balloon creations of great complexity adding explosions of colour to the already vibrant surroundings.
As I was writing this piece, it gave me cause to reflect on the meaning of such conventions. I remember sitting with my cup of tea and my cache of unique gifts, breathing in the scene and smiling. We live in “interesting times” and dark forces are swirling about us in an attempt to disenfranchise communities and further impoverish the already hard bitten. I have often noted that wherever these malaises stalk the Earth, a creative and caring community will dwell in abundance, carefully redressing the balance. Wherever adversity, austerity and authoritarianism gang together to chip away at society and our desire for equality, it is gatherings such as these that grow in strength as a living counterbalance to all that is harmful. The Winter Market is a snapshot of a healthy, dynamic and creative community, committed to restoring equilibrium to the World. Long may it continue.
Blog by Jim Lupton Founder member of The Nib Crib
A keen writer and performer Jim wants to make everyone a writer. Local bon vivant, raconteur, genius and stud muffin. Jim wrote this.
Read more of Jim's writing on his blog: thewritesofpassageblog.blogspot.com
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