Four days after the attacks on London Bridge and at Borough Market, the Market is still cordoned off. This beautiful public space, at the heart of my local community – and the global food community – with its huge population of residents, workers and visitors, remains at the epicentre of the painstaking and important work that needs to be done after these terrible events.
My friends at Borough Market have generously commissioned me to write some pieces for their website over the last year or two, most recently on the theme of Utopia. That series has only just started, but it in the current circumstances it feels like even more of a gift, and an even more powerful concept, than it did before. For me (and lots of very brilliant scholars – I can’t claim to have thought of this all by myself), Utopia doesn’t mean a descent into unbending ideology or an impossibly perfect design for living. On the contrary, Utopia represents an unfolding, flexible journey of the imagination and a desire to make things better. It’s a constant, pleasurable striving for more humane ways of organising our world and living in it together. Given where we are today, it feels more important than ever to recognise, celebrate and continue to build on all the aspects of food, place, community and shared culture that Borough Market so consistently and brilliantly brings to us.
It’s hard not to feel helpless in the face of such events, but there are always ways to do something. The Red Cross has designed a particularly brilliant campaign called ‘A Saturday Night for London‘. It’s come up with a way for everyone to raise money, remember those who died and support those suffering in the aftermath by participating in mass acts of public conviviality: exactly the kinds of sociable shared activity we associate with Borough Market, and one of the ways we celebrate our city every day.
The Market and its people are having an incredibly tough and upsetting time, so let’s try to support them however we can. We can all keep in touch using #LoveBorough. Join this very special community – whether in person or virtually – on its voyage into the future.
To read more on Borough Market as Utopia, go to this page on the Borough Market website.