All The Black Traders Out? (Tooting Market) - aka Selective Predjudicial Vision? (Part 1)
Updated: Sep 13
This particular blog is inspired by the momentary remarks of a fellow trader at Tooting Market to me on the Monday after the extensive police raids and searches on Saturday Afternoon, the Fifth of September 2020, that have impacted the two businesses that were the subject of the raids and the wider market and community of Tooting. I take the remarks with a pinch of salt and put them down to warped and cynical humour in a time of partial lockdown widthdrwal symptoms. Also they are a wider revelation, I feel, to the ongoing crisis that we have on planet Earth regarding the misconceptions of skin colour, ethnicity, nationality and what is incorrectly termed race or races. These misconceptions have sadly become concrete solid in the minds of many due to a simple methodololgy termed, divide and rule. Long Live Carl Sagan's idea of the 'Pale Blue Dot'. Perhaps one day truth and facts will rise above naivety.
I am very happy with our progress at our Tooting Market Store. We started in December 2019 in the Yard Market Area enduring the freezing cold breeze that naturally whistles through at that time of year and the usual posturisng that comes from traders when faced with someones and somethings new. As we began to come out of that freaky and surreal lockdown, as the market began to open up again, we moved to the present unit. The market, I have had a long familiarity with. My Parents moved to Tooting in 1969 from Balham when they purchased their house on Gilbey Road. They and the many other families that purchased and rented their properties on that and the other streets of this town of Tot, the Anglo-Saxon chief who started a settlement here, as I was informed the name derives from by my geography teacher, Raymond Nash, were perhaps the gentrifiers of that time. People from all parts of the world, a wide range of social classes. The two markets that this town has have since then be places that I have always continued to have a connection with.
Time rolls on and trends vary and change but human existence in essence remains the same. The markets and the town have developed a considerable coffee cafe, bistro, bar, restaurant, street food, nightlife.
Streatham, with the longest high street in Europe and back then was complete with a John Lewis related department store, a nightclub that I still call the Cats Whiskers, even though it changed its name to Caesers, now no longer and flattened and site built upon on as apartments, endless restaurants and two cinemas, was the place of immediate slight envy, even though Tooting had four cinemas that I can recall. Near by the NatWest Bank was a cinema, small by comparison to the others. I can't recall its name but it showed primarily hindi films, I recall. It eventually became three, the Classic, close to Tooting Bec, which is a nightclub and banquetting venue now, the Mayfair, to the middle of the high street, which is now a mosque and the Granada, which was and still is a place of great affinity to myself, as I recall endless Saturday morning cinema sessions, with tons of other kids watching the likes of Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Flash Gordon, Abbott and Costello, The Three Stoges and more than I can immediately recall. Their we would laugh, sometimes scream and shout but lived and slurped fizzy pop and munched popcorn. The Granada was where I saw what is my favourate James Bond film until this day apart from 'You Only Live Twice', which has the best plot in my opinion. 'Diamonds Are Forever', Shirley Bassey's powerful voice, that huge screen and plush curtains that flowed open as the program began. Most importantly of all was ascending the wide ornate rich carpetted staircase, the usher opening the doors that revealed the grade II listed corridor, mirrors eitherside, the entire length. Now its a Bingo hall and for some time at that. The advances of television and the advent of the video recorder playing I think a big part in the demise of the masses of cinemas that were all around.
Humans come and humans go. Property rises upward from the ground, changes of use occur and sometimes they are demolished and something new is contructed replacing what was previously there. This is the way it is. Dynamics are dynamics and trends are trends. Tooting Market has recently been raided by the police on a nice late saturday afternoon. Two units, two businesses were deep searched, deep, deep searched, as a matter of fact, deep, deep, deep searched. To say the least, the show business nature of the raid was comical but equally now highly disruptive and damaging for Tooting Market and its traders and the town as well. The air of tension remains and the mistrust is at an alltime high. So is the hypocracy, the cynicism and the machinations and perhaps the revelations of powerplays of the past, the present and the future. The show goes on and on and on. The settlement of Tot continues.