I started my residency for the Black Country Creative Advantage today. I arrived in West Brom at around 1, and went straight to the hotel to drop off my bags. BCCA is a project managed by Monika Vykoukal from a market stall in West Brom. I have decided that since my main interest this week is to look at Independent Shops in West Bromwich, then I should set myself a challenge to only shop/eat in Independent places while I am here. I am interested to find out how possible that will be for a vegetarian. I have not brought any shampoo/conditioner/soap with me, so that will be interesting too. The fact that I am booked into the premier inn does go against the idea, but there is nothing I can do about that bit.I started my project before I even got to the stall - as I thought I might need some paper/pencils so noticed that the Cosmetics R Us shop was also advertising stationary (sic) so I went in for a look. I got:Item One:
50 X envelopes
1 X red pencil
1 X green pencil
1 X lead pencil
1 X pencil sharpener
1 X sign writer's kit
TOTAL: £8.65(I haggled the sign writer kit from 11.90 down to 7, and got the pencils for free.)
On entry to the shop three men were talking about Yakubu's car.
I made my way to the stall, and decided to try to locate myself immediately in the market by drawing a map.
All of the images/maps of the Kings Square building show the New Market Hall as a 'grey area'. Which is (as Karl pointed out) quite odd, given the lack of information available from West Brom council as to the future of the market in regen plans. Perhaps due to the perceived semi permanent nature of the shops - with traders coming and going quicker than more fixed shop spaces they have not mapped the stalls/what they sell, or event the spaces they take up.
I went through the market hall drawing my map (above) which was actually quite a good device for getting talking with the traders, who wanted to know who I was and what I was doing.
I was able to set up two interviews for tomorrow which is great.I went on a bit of a wander to find something to eat for lunch but couldn't find a sandwich shop that I was sure was independent. I ended up going to a nearby newsagents and had:
1 X bag of cheese and onion
1 X 7up
1 X Express and Star (for research purposes)
At the Stall I made a list of things I hope to achieve this week; these include:
1. Shop window audit - what shops are there? could do a long photo of the high street, but this may not be possible due to difficulty of getting far back enough from the shop to take the photo.
2. Night time economy measure - as demonstrated by how many shops are lit up/not boarded up at night.
3. Independent shop challenge - only using Independents and recording what I buy.
4. Interviews and photos of market stall holders
I would also like to find a local tobacconists for Monika, as she has a load of boxes of publicity matches that she is not allowed to give out - as the police had a complaint that kids could get hold of the matches and presumably burn things down. It would be good to persuade them to give out the matches to customers, and perhaps tell them about the project.
I went to The Vine with Monika, who stayed for a half and then left me to have my tea.
The Vine is an Independently Run Pub and restaurant selling curries, and the owner has said that I can interview him on Thursday or Friday about running a business in West Brom.
I ordered this, and then couldn't really eat it, as it has been a boiling hot day, and somehow I just didn't fancy a curry - though it was good.
2 X pints of Magners
1 X Veg Balti
1 X naan bread
I had a read of the local paper and a handbook to West Brom which Monika gave me to look at - it was printed in the 60's by the council as a guide to all that's good in the town. Maybe it's about time for another one?
I stopped of at the local newsagents on the way home for some vino and water.
1 X 2l bottle of water
1 X bottle of Merlot
Full total spent today: £20.80