We’ve all had those kind of weeks. When someone enquires after your health and for the sake of hassle, you plump for “great thank you” rather than beat down the poor unassuming person with a list of peeves and problems. For some reason or other, I’ve had backache all week. Of course, Mum had something to say on the matter.
“It’s your own fault, you never do as I say and take two Ibuprofen before the pain kicks in”.
My Mum is the only person I know, or have indeed heard of that believes in preventative medication. She will take two Ibuprofen regularly in the course of her day, i.e before driving or going for a walk so that she’s one step ahead of any pain that might conspire to bring her down. This made me howl with laughter when she first told me of her scheme. Needless to say, Mum is having the last laugh.
Luckily, I did anticipate that somewhere down the line in the grip of winter I would quite possibly (unquestionably) require a pick-me-up when I felt like hibernating forever. Over the summer I started to stockpile lots of photos; not unlike the manner of a squirrel storing away pine-nuts for an unadulterated feast when things got bleak.
The afternoon I took these photos I was having a casual stroll through the delightful Old Spitalfields antique market (not to be confused with the Traders Market or Arts Market). Spitalfields is the oldest market in London, nestled in the heart of the city by Liverpool Street. It dates back to 1638 when Charles I issued a licence for the sale of livestock. The market evolved ever since and underwent significant structural renovation in the Victorian period. The old part of Spitalfields remains largely unchanged and it is there, as you walk through the red brick archway that it is possible to feel a whisper of the past. It is extremely atmospheric; and it is these types of places whose histories and stories can all too easily evaporate in the face of modernity.
Old Spitalfields antique market teams with people as soon as the doors open. Dealers, traders, antique enthusiasts, collectors, whether professional or casual soon merge into a simmering brew of punters, all beadily searching for a find. It is impossible to comprehensively describe the wares for sale. The market truly is a treasure trove. Tables and trestles teeter with piles and boxes of stock, jewellery hangs in bunches off meat hooks and fur coats are stuffed in wardrobes.
As I was meandering along, I heard some wonderful Argentinian music drifting down the mall. Upon following the tune I discovered that outside underneath the Amphitheatre Canopy, complete with DJ, were a whole crowd of tango dancers spinning in the summer sunshine.
There was seating all the way around the circular dancing area for the public to watch. And watch they did; it was clear to see people were captivated. The crowds grew larger but fell quieter under the spell of the dancers and melodies alike.
For the next two and a half hours I sat drinking tea and taking photos of the dancers. What amazed me the most was how proficiently they moved around the small space, skilfully rotating round each other like satellites, never once colliding. And as each song ended, and partners swapped, the new dancers would move in synchronicity once more like they’d known each other for years. It was beautiful to watch such a diverse group of dancers interact and perform. This is part of the beauty of Argentinian tango; allowing people from all walks of life to come together in the tango embrace to share a connection and create a moment.
Unbeknownst to me, this event is an initiative between Tango-Fever, a community dance group run by René Hellemons and Hiba Faisal, and Spitalfields, which runs annually from May to September. It allows Londoners to participate in a unique opportunity to tango outdoors in a public area. You can read more about this wonderful collaboration here.
I hope that these dancers have brought a little sunshine to your day as they have done for me. As a little something extra, I have photographed just some of the gems that I have ‘magpied’ along those very aisles. Everything is vintage or antique-this is the only jewellery that I wear. The craftsmanship and beauty is generally unparalleled nowadays, and allows you a sliver of that history belonging to a bygone age.