I took a couple of days off at the end of last week to extend the weekend and catch up with a few people. How about some micro-reviews? Catching up on films I missed: The Social Network (excellent), Milk (great) and Alice in Wonderland (should have left it missed). Good food: St John Bread and Wine (fantastic plates to share with superbly selected ingredients) and Borough Market (great, obviously, resulting in a fantastic home-cooked breakfast of scrambled duck eggs with fennel-infused salami).
For Saturday brunch I met Sarah in Bermondsy where she introduced me to the bizarrely bourgeois market that has sprung up in the local railway arches. While the area is undergoing regeneration, one assumes the myriad council tower blocks are not filled with the target consumers. Some of the fresh produce sellers apparently became disenchanted with Borough Market and moved. From a buyer’s perspective the lack of the bustling Saturday Borough crowd is certainly welcome.
The last location we passed, a newly opened wine and oyster bar (at 11am, remember) was so ridiculous that we began to ponder what sort of outlandish niche offering we could open in our own arch. Specialised balcony foliage was mooted alongside a decidedly middle class culinary equipment store that sells those weird kitchen utensils lacking discernible origin or purpose. Sold in packs of three to suggest you really ought to be using several.
Once we warmed up — and dropped any pretence at political correctness — the unexplored opportunities crystallised. An import baby store seemed ideal for the up-and-coming would-be parent. With a worldwide selection the fashion-conscious will be able to select the latest styles to match seasonal trends. A Dulux-style colour-matching service would let customers bring in sample material in their desired shade for our dedicated selection team to work their magic. The name, of course, was obvious: United Colours of Bermondsy.
Meanwhile Sarah offered a business plan for Natural Disaster Soaps (“Natural” or “Organic” being key words guaranteed instantly to double interest in your business). The basic premise is overpriced soap inspired by Fight Club. The difference is that rather than sourcing materials from liposuction clinics, we use reclaimed fat from natural disaster victims, and thus assist in the clean-up process at the same time. Connoisseurs may select between “single estate” and blended varieties from multiple disasters.
I daresay we’ve converted a few customers to our new businesses in the time it’s taken you to read this post.