Market value

This year I’m trying to shop local, avoid supermarkets when I can and buy second hand whenever possible. There’s a new trend sweeping Scotland’s capital and the great thing about it is that it’s the greenest type of shopping you can do – markets. You Londoners have been spoiled for years with all those lush trendy spots like Portobello and Spitalfields while we have been stuck with a so-so farmers market and the occasional ‘world market’ – run by the City Council and featuring French soap, Italian ‘leather’ handbags and paella, every single time. A few years ago I happened to be awake on a Sunday morning and found myself wandering around the Omni Centre weekly car boot sale. It’s not the type of event you’d just stumble upon – it takes place 3 floors underground in a sort of subterranean multi-storey carpark. I was impressed but couldn’t find much good stuff – just grubby kids’ toys and naff LPs that lacked even retro comedy value.

Now though – now it’s transformed, and teeming with trendy types flicking through a much wider selecion of music, books, clothes, bags, shoes, and home-tat every week. And it’s not just the weekly ‘booty’ that’s seen a renaissance in Edinburgh of late. Here are some of the other little gems that will titillate your rummaging genes and tantalise your taste for a bargain…

Out Of The Blue monthly Flea Market: This beautiful venue is host to a number of awesome events, from clothes swaps to art exhibitions. They’ve started running a monthly Fleamarket specially for rummagers like me who love to buy vintage and shabby-chic stuff at a fraction of the price of the local boutiques, yet can’t be arsed rifling through old men’s jammies in charity shops all the time. Rather than dark underground car-boot vibes this place has a light and airy feel, and even a café with superb cakes and sarnies!

Next Fleamarket: Saturday 26th February 2011 10am -2pm free entry

The Forest Café Free Market: Quirky and let’s face it a little bit scruffy, this indie institution has hosted loads of free markets where everything is free and no one pays a penny if they bring something along to get rid of. There’s a good standard of stuff and the swap ethic is impressive in an age when money means everything. The Forest collective is under threat of closure and is trying to raise money to buy its premises so their next event is a jumble sale in aid of the cause. The Forest has been a fantastic example of a volunteer-run arts initiative supporting music, poetry, art and staunch vegetarianism for years now. It’d be a shame not to support it and at least experience the great atmosphere of one of its fun market-style events.

Next Market: see Free Shop every other Sunday

Local Market and Tinker Tailor: The Drill Hall in Leith (home to Out of the Blue, above) holds a thriving local market every Saturday from 10am – 2pm. It’s all ethical so you can feel smug while you tuck into cakes baked by local angels, and you can buy fresh local seasonal fruit and veg, eggs, jam and baking. You can even get your e-cover washing up liquid bottle refilled! It’s the Leith version of the West End’s pricey (but lovely) Farmers Market. What makes the market extra special is that they also run a ‘Tinker Tailor’ service, where you can bring along things that need mending and someone will fix it while you watch and learn how to do it yourself! Different craftspeople are available each week on a rota and can teach you about mending fabric items, small electrical things, bikes, jewellery, bags, leather goods, musical instruments and even furniture! If you live in Leith add this must-have market to your weekly shop.

If it’s antiques that grab you – Kirstie Allsop is probably responsible. You can get your antique fix by heading to the regular Antiques and Collectables Fair at Meadowbank Stadium. Pay £1 to get in and get haggling as there are bargains to be found. This is primarily a trade event where dealers come to buy things to sell on, so do your best impression of Lovejoy and only offer half what you’re willing to pay for anything. If you don’t live in Edinburgh don’t despair – you can check Antques Atlas online to find similar markets in your neck of the woods.

Next Market: see

That lot should keep you busy and don’t forget buying second hand is a great way to cut your carbon footprint – reusing old stuff has never been cooler!


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