Mrs Darsham Patel, Nisa Food and Wine, Archway. © Dylan Collard.
Charles Jennings writes:
Booze in quantity: voluptuous and magical. There’s even a wistfulness in the expression on the face of the proprietess as she stands guard over (in all probability) a few grand’s worth of drink, as if it’s enough just to be close.
It’s a bit like an fabulous picture I once found in a Paris Match from 1952: a French family of four, posing with their entire annual food and drink consumption – Ce Qu’une Famille Française A Mangé Cette Année.
As you might expect, it shows two small parents and their two small children surrounded by everything they nominally consume in a twelve-month period: a double-page spread of scarcely credible eventfulness, containing entire sides of beef, whole pigs, several metric tonnes of bread and potatoes, some game, a lot of charcuterie, and, of course, alcohol.
Three hundred litres of wine; one hundred and sixty-eight litres of beer; fifty-eight litres of cider. The bottles are set out at the feet of the little quartet like a stockade, behind which they sit with understandable complacency. It is described as une ménagère économe, which nonetheless enables the mother and father to absorb well over a litre of booze a day between them (the kids are plainly too young), to say nothing of the apéritifs and digestifs (about four litres’ worth) which also grace the photo. As an advertisement of French priorities, it is hard to beat; and even now, has a cave-of-wonders feel which combines with a nostalgia for something one has never actually experienced, in a deeply affecting whole.
But it’s only the drink which makes one feel truly sentimental. The fascination of the stuff, bottled or poured, is really an inheritance from childhood – when it was not just dazzlingly jewelled in appearance, full of complex and occult signifiers, but also forbidden – and as such contains longings which are deep, unresolved, inadmissible. Just look at all that booze, glowing with the same coral intensity as the proprietress’s stretch top! How can she stand there so calmly?
… for The London Column.
Charles Jennings blogs on wine and other forms of drink at Sediment (‘I’ve bought it so I’ll drink it’). Up My Street is Dylan Collard‘s project documenting shops between Kentish Town and Archway. His exhibition The Twelfth Man is currently showing at Exposure Gallery, 22-23 Little Portland Street, London W1. Dylan is represented by the Vue agency.
Elizabeth Sullivan, Beautiful, Holloway Road. © Dylan Collard.
From Born and Bred – Stories of Holloway Road:
Elizabeth Sullivan was born in Hackney in 1991. She moved to Liverpool Road until she was 6 and then moved to Penn Road just off Holloway Road where she has lived since 1997. She has worked as a Beauty Therapist at Beautiful at 639 Holloway Road since 2010.
“I’m always over in Holloway shopping. Even now I’m like ‘I’m just gonna pop over to Holloway’ and I’m over there for hours. I do love it as a little shopping place, you can get a right bargain and if I don’t get my nails done in here there are always the little nail bars. I’ll always meet up with a friend over there and we’ll go for a bit of lunch and have a little shop around.”
“I do waxing, tanning, nails, tinting, facials, massages, a bit of everything really. I really like it here, it’s lovely. The people that come in are lovely. I get on with the staff here hence why I’ve been here two and a half years already and I haven’t planned to move on. I get regular clients who come in and come back to me. With this kind of profession you do build up a clientele just because either they like the way you do certain things or they like coming to see you. You do get a lot of requests. I do think the salon is really good for the area. Everyone that comes in says it’s so nice to have a salon like this locally.”
The above interview is taken from Born and Bred, an oral history project by Rowan Arts documenting the life of the Holloway Road. You can hear more at www.storiesofhollowayroad.com. Up My Street is Dylan Collard‘s own project documenting shops between Kentish Town and Archway. His exhibition The Twelfth Man is currently showing at Exposure Gallery, 22-23 Little Portland Street, London W1. Dylan is represented by the Vue agency.