Many thanks to the city of Winterthur for playing host to the annual Martini Markt, but to be honest we were disappointed – there was no Martini to be had: no bianco, no rosso, not even any vermouth. Just the usual Glühwein and Süssmöst for the kids. Turns out, Martini refers to a Saint Martin and it’s all just an excuse for children to stay up late and for adults to eat raclette standing next to a bin. It’s the same story with the city’s Albani Fest – I expected some tasty Albanian baklava and perhaps a bit of ethnic dancing. But what did we get? Saint Alban, the patron saint of drunken teenagers on fairground rides.
So anyway, despite the lack of olive-garnished cocktails, the Martini Markt was pleasant enough. It was fun watching the Curly Girlie try to consume a day-glo lollipop while clinging on to a carousel horse. And of course, this being Switzerland, there were plenty of sausage-eating opportunities.
The problem, though, is that they don’t stop at catering and fairground rides – they have to insist on the market element. And that’s when my enjoyment stops and a sort of horrified car-wreck fascination sets in – I can’t stop obsessing about the tat that’s on sale at the junk-peddling market stalls. More particularly, whose fevered mind designs the stuff, why do people think they can make a good living selling it and, most of all, who buys this... landfill?
Hollowed out lumps of pink crystal with tea lights in. Vomit-coloured socks knitted from hairy wool that looks itchy. And, my personal nemesis, dream catchers. They don’t catch bad dreams – at best, they catch fire on one of the tea lights and burn down all the rest of the tat.
I’m enthralled by the choices people make about how to dispose of their hard-earned cash. Do we put in all those hours at the office just to hand over our precious pennies for a special Christmas doormat? Does the dream of installing a very wide exhaust pipe on a souped-up Fiat Panda make the dull afternoon shift fly by? Are people spurred on to achieve their yearly bonus so they can mount giant plastic butterflies on the side of their house?
The next stage of my pondering shifts my attention from the Landfillmarkt and other people’s inexplicable cravings, to my own seething cauldron of consumerist desire, which I try to keep dampened down to a controllable level, but will on this occasion let loose like a demented Genie brandishing a Mastercard. With five minutes thinking time on the clock, these are all the things I want, in no particular order of importance or tatishness:
- A photo printer - Jamie’s Thirty Minute Meals - A book about Swiss German - An Audi Quattro Allroad, in black - A red top to go with my camel-coloured trousers - Boots that are halfway between snow-boots and smart-heeled boots - A pair of Converse with sheepskin lining - Sheepskin gloves - Sheepskin slippers - Sheepskin throw
Mmmm, sheepskin... Oooh, and then there’s:
- An American ‘food centre’ fridge that will fit up the stairs - A heather-coloured woolly hat to match some gloves I have - A set of green hat, scarf and gloves that I saw while searching for a heather-coloured hat and then wished I hadn’t already bought the heather-coloured gloves - An omelette pan - An antique French dresser for the kitchen
Oh Goodness, now I’m out of control:
- A how-to-draw book so I can impress the Curly Girlie - New bed linen - A party dress - A new mascara - A kilt pin - An entirely remodelled bedroom / dressing room / bathroom suite.
OK, I really should stop.
So, I’m interested – do share via the comments if you dare – are you responsible for buying the tat? If so, what’s your best tat? And what’s on your materialist-list?