Life Tips #2. John, 60, Market Stallholder


1. ‘If you’re a jewellery seller, don’t ask for a stall nearest the entrance. It’s the first one customers see …



1. ‘If you’re a jewellery seller, don’t ask for a stall nearest the entrance. It’s the first one customers see so they’ll walk straight by, and then you have to hope they haven’t spent all their money when they come back out. You’re better off by the food where people start slowing down.’

2. ‘Leave your ego, religion and politics at the front door. That’s my easygoing philosophy. Icons and quasi-imagery are fine, but don’t try and sell a belief.’

3. ‘Market banter makes you realize that not everything should be taken as it’s said. Some of the ex-professionals, like doctors, social workers or teachers, take a while to come out of themselves. You might be called a prick, but remember, it’s a term of endearment. Trust me.’

4. ‘Over the years I’ve learnt to look up. Now I’ll walk past a building I’ve seen every day and notice a statue of a horse on it. It makes me sad that I wasn’t as observant before; too wrapped up in what I was doing. Whatever your view is, look around.’

5. ‘Religion can’t answer the questions that I ask: where did God come from? Why is this belief more right than another? Dave Allen used to sum it up: wherever you go, may your god go with you.’

6. ‘I still don’t know what I want to be. People my age don’t admit to that as it’s like saying they’ve wasted their life. But to me it’s part of the journey. I think it’s good that I haven’t got there yet.’

7. ‘I haven’t found out who I am, either. There are little recesses in my brain that I sometimes wonder about, such as, if I got angry enough could I actually kill somebody? It worries me that I’ve never had to test myself to that level. But it’s a relief too.’

John (not his real name) preferred to remain anonymous. Words & Pics: Stephen Emms


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  • Leslie Wilson-Rutterford

    I totally agree with the advise to look around you. Now with all these little square boxes people carry around with them and remained glued to everywhere they go and everywhere they are is such a limiting way to function. They’re missing real life happening where they are, right then and there. Mobile phones have there purpose, but they’ve become a total diversion, a way to avoid strangers, boredom or just looking stupid in case you’re alone and waiting for a bus or whatever. Try some reflection, observation or conversation instead. Be where you are.