Charlie of Boston Sausage and George from Flax Farm talk cider, The Rake and student pranks
Charlie on George
George was here first and I came to the Market because of him. He always seemed to be having a good time. I have been here for about a year, starting at Bread Ahead, which I came to from a different bakery, then Northfield Farm—I still do some sign painting for them—followed by the pad thai stall and now Mountain’s Boston Sausage.
I have known George for about five years. We met when we started at university and lived in the same halls. We were standing on opposite sides of a gate and realised that we each looked like somebody the other one knew. We just got on from the beginning.
It happened that my flat was having a party that night and one of our flat mates hadn’t moved in yet, so I thought it would be great if I rocked up with George and pretended that he was the last flat mate.
He managed to sit through the whole dinner. I remember comments like, “I knew he was going to be ginger!” Eventually we had to break it to them that he wasn’t the new house mate but some bloke I’d just met in the smoking area. I think some of the guys were quite disappointed. We’ve been mates ever since.
George is great behind the stall at Flax Farm, he really knows his stuff, and when we are out he can’t stop talking about flax and all that: what it is, why is it good for you. He is really very funny. If people want to get into a debate about his product he is quite happy to, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously and has always got a smile on his face.
Off duty we hang out at The Rake. The really nice thing about that is it’s where the majority of the stall holders drink—we all just congregate in the carpark outside. People sometimes bring some food from their stalls and it is really lively, it’s like a little party every night.
He is into the cider when it comes to choice of drink, but George can be a bit tricky on the food front. There is a lot of great stuff I think he would like on our stall but he is gluten and dairy free, so that cuts out a lot of what we sell. I could force feed him a sausage, but I don’t think it would end well. He is definitely a foodie, but his dietary requirements can mean it’s quite difficult grabbing food when we are out.
I think his glam rock personality is one of the best things about George. He can be loud, but in a good way. My least favourite thing is that he hates to lose an argument—there is always some tactic he uses to try to win. It can be frustrating at times, but it’s always in good fun.
George on Charlie
I think the way we met sums Charlie up: he is always up for a laugh and does not take things too seriously. I think we actually tried to get me to move in, but it didn’t work.
I had a job at the Market and remember telling him he should look for a job here. He was a skint ex-student at the time and needed the money. I just remember thinking that he would love it here and do well, which he has.
Behind the stall Charlie is confident and cheerful, pretty much what he is like all the time. I have seen him with the customers and they enjoy the banter. He builds up the drama, and you are not just buying a burger when he is serving. I swear I once heard him compare a burger to the Garden of Eden—I have no idea what was going on, but there was a lot of laughter around.
He really likes the triple ginger flaxjack from this stall. I don’t think he is into porridge or that sort of thing in the morning so he sometimes swings by needing fuel and those are his favourite.
When not at The Rake, we hang about in places like Peckham, Camberwell or other parts of south-east London. I would say it’s a mix of cheap pubs and dodgy nightclubs.
When it comes to food, Charlie is definitely not a posh food guy. He does appreciate the good stuff, but at the moment I’d say his favourite food is really good fried chicken. It is a great improvement from the days before he started working at the Market—a couple years ago his favourite quick food was frozen lasagne, so things have moved in the right direction.
The social aspect of working here is the thing I think Charlie likes most, the sense of community the place has. I think he really likes the way relationships between stalls are quite relaxed and open. His confidence and good sense of humour are what makes him great on the stall.
His only downside is he can be a bit moody sometimes. If our gang thinks it’s time to head home from a night out and he wants to carry on, he has been known to throw a strop. But it never lasts for long—that’s why we are such good mates.