Friday, April 15, 2011
I know it’s only rock and roll…
I walked into a supermarket in Accra today and asked who was in charge of the poultry section. A nice feller came up to me and said “I am the Eggman”. I wondered whether he had heard of the Beatles and he looked pinched before nodding dubiously. No Ghanaian wants to say no to anything. We shop in supermarkets because there is more chance of hygiene being applied to food preparation and storage, though sometimes, when there is a gap between electricity supply going off and generator coming on, there is a smell that drives you to the food that is not raw. We tend to buy in bulkwhen desired offerings appear on the shelves because there is no guarantee you will see them again for weeks. Hence, the fruit and vegetables we juice every morning are at the centre of the shopping quest. It is not unusual to see us making off with several kilo bags of carrots, beetroot, green beans, cabbages, ginger and the fruity rest. There are scares about buying on the markets because sometimes root crops are grown in effluent.
Which reminds me of shopping in Tashkent, Uzbekistan a few years after the demise of the USSR. There, the supermarket had what it had. There was no rhyme nor reason for what was on the shelves. I remember seeing a brass telescope next to umbrellas and tinned goods. Then, next to them I became excited because there were piles of vinyl, albums by British and American artists, copied in the old USSR, despite their degeneracy. I got everything that fulfilled my love of the riffs of progressive rock music or which, like The Eagles or The Band melded rock with country.
So once again in 2011 I was shopping in that same opportunistic way, sticking my hand in the bran tub of surprise and pulling out a plum; Jack Horner rather than Jack Sanger. I thought to myself, placing a half dozen big white eggs in my basket, that I was never the Egg Man, more Jumping Jack Flash which then reminded me to look for Brown Sugar.