Saturday Morning in Brownhills

We’ve had an interesting weekend so far. On Saturday we popped into what can only be described as “dodgy central”, ahhh yes – Brownhills Market. It’s like a hundred Derek Trotters have descended on the place. It’s full of counterfeit stuff from DVDs, electricals, clothing, shoes, out-of-date sweets and cheap make up. You’ll also find stuff to help you smoke weed and – if you ask enough, you’ll probably be able to buy some of that too. The market has been raided many times and although it’s now supposedly “clean” we still spotted the guys selling copied DVD’s from cardboard boxes on a wall near to the market whilst their mates looked around for the police. It’s overflowing with chavs, much to the disgust of the people living in the newly built estate opposite, who were told by the builders that their quarter-million pound Lego land houses were in a “posh” area. However, I must say that the builders have done a great deal to clean up the rancid trolley-filled sewer that canal boats previously never navigated. Yesterday I actually saw a canal boat chugging its way down the cleaned-up canal. They did keep looking to the at the new houses on the right at all times and not to their left.

On the left of the canal is an old “Focus DIY” store, which has been there for decades and sells axes so that the local thieves can do their break-ins, next door is the Tesco – this is where everyone parks to get onto the market and people queue to use the toilets, which – believe me – you don’t really want to have described here. In the market we spotted the obligatory “mobile butcher”. These guys sell huge slabs of meat for about a tenna a throw, usually thrown into one big stripy plastic bag…

..this guy was selling some beef, a bit of gammon, some sausages and a few slice of ham in one big bag – all thrown together after magically “appearing” from somewhere in the van – for a tenna. Now obviously I can’t wildly accuse any of these fine meat sellers of causing the constant gut-rot that everyone seems to have in the area, neither could I say that the hot-dog, chip and burger-stands cause the problem either. That would just be wrong. ;)

Anyhow, we walk around the market. People around us are eating doughnuts or chips whist eyeing everyone else up, who were all doing the same thing. A pair of girls walked past us and I caught them saying…

“Yeah, and her says ‘how old are ya?’ and I goes, ‘none of your f**kin business’. Her goes loik, ‘I don’t care anyway ‘cus yow aye gerrin in am ya?'”

There’s teenage girls strolling around in Kappa track-suits pushing prams whilst sharing a fag with their skin-headed boyfriend, who’s usually called “Shane” or “Daz”. Meanwhile you can hear the guys owning the market stalls talking about how they’ve been shagging each others’ wives, girlfriends or mothers in some cases. While this is happening you hear other girls talking about how they’ve shagged a bloke off the market, “Cus he’s got a Mercedes Sprinter and my old boyfriend only had a Ford Transit”

On one stall, which was selling shampoo and make-up with a sign saying, “Please don’t open the bottles as we’re actually selling testers !” I saw a big cardboard box full of Paracetamols. They were Tesco Paracetamols – probably stolen from the shop about 100 yards away. They were in boxes of 16 – as this is now the legal maximum you can sell in one box. I’ll describe why – basically people could previously buy a huge box of Paracetamols and then swallow the lot if they felt like topping themselves. So the government had this whizzy idea of reducing the amount sold in each box. I’m not quite sure why, as if you really had the intention of killing yourself I think you’d probably find it easy enough to buy more than one box. Anyhow – this one stall had a special offer on, “BUY 5 BOXES FOR 1”

At the next stall were some Freeview boxes (for watching digital terrestrial TV) for 17. Bargain.. just don’t ask for a guarantee, or where they came from.. or why the batteries are already in the remotes… You can also buy a DVD player for 15, or a cordless digital phone for a tenner… just don’t ask for a box eh ?

Following that there’s the infamous shoe stall, where you can buy some shoes and boots which look very much like they’ve been worn. Your suspicions are confirmed when you find a used sock in each shoe.

I know, I know.. I’m going on about Brownhills Market quite a bit here, but to be honest – deep down – I love it. I remember going to Walsall Market as a kid with my mom and I loved it too. At heart it doesn’t matter how successful or “rich” I ever “think” I am, this is where I came from – shopping in a market on a Saturday afternoon. Walsall, Wolverhampton, Wednesdbury or Brownhills – I love it. Maybe deep down I’m a chav too eh ? :)