In Autumn 2016, Matthew was lucky enough to work with Katie Etheridge and Simon Persighetti on Personal Shopper – “a two-year project exploring and celebrating the rich network of relationships between shoppers, traders and goods in Leeds Kirkgate Market.” Personal Shopper: Cornucopia was the culmination of the project and took place as part of Compass Festival 2016. Katie and Simon set up shop in an empty market stall, from which a series of guided (and mis-guided) tours set off each day for the duration of the festival. The tours were all devised and led by different people – shoppers, traders, artists and market enthusiasts.
Matthew led a poetry tour through the market, based around a series of conversations with traders on his favourite stalls. Each trader was asked to identify the favourite item that they sold, and Matthew found and recited a different poem for each one – as well as telling some personal stories about his own experiences of shopping in the Market.
The poems he read were:
- ‘Coffee in Heaven’ by John Agard at Teapot, Tea and Coffee Ltd.
- ‘He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven’ by W.B. Yeats at B & M Fabrics.
- ‘I Ate a Chili Pepper’ by Barbara Vance at Spice Corner
- ‘To Eat of Meat Joyously’ by Bertolt Brecht at Malcolm Michaels Quality Butchers
- ‘Choosing Shoes’ by Frida Wolfe for Timpson’s Shoe Repairs
- ‘Oyster’ by Robin Robertson for Tarbett’s fishmongers
- ‘This is Just to Say’ by William Carlos Williams (a poem about plums) at Tony Banks & Sons, greengrocers
- ‘To Whom It May Concern’ by Andrew Motion (a poem about Ice Cream) at Fultons
He also created his own poem to record the tour – each line evoking a sound, a texture, a scent, a taste or an image from each of the stalls he visited. You can read the poem below.
Taking part in the project was a great way to learn more about the market. It offered up a whole new set of perspectives on a familiar and well-known place and offered an opportunity to work with two brilliant artists who were engaged in thinking about the connections between place and community in ways that were both similar and different to 365LeedsStories.
Early Weight Watchers: “In the middle of the market was a man with a set of scales you could sit on. You could get weighed for a penny.”