Skopje Gypsy Market 3.3.17 / by Ed Godsell

Last year I managed to find the huge Gypsy market outside Sophia in Bulgaria and it was a real treat, both in terms of Photography and actually buying random, interesting, obscure stuff.   This year I found the market in Skopje.  It took me some time to locate because it was previously close to the city centre but the authorities deemed fit to move it from sight (directly in front of the US embassy...) and pushed it to an industrial area well out of the city.

I was happy to locate it and the had the same excited feeling upon entering it as I did last year in Bulgaria.  Gypsy markets are the bees feckin' knees in my book.  Not only because here one can observe amazingly random characters and find incredibly random stuff for super cheap but because of the whole idea of them.  Recycling all kinds of stuff that others don't want anymore, old men refurbishing things that we in the 'West' would just throw out.  Old ladies frying burgers in the heat, men drinking beer and laughing in the shade.  Kids running amok amongst the debris.

Of course people say 'but don't bring your camera, there are thieves!'  and i'm sure there are, like there are anywhere but I can honestly say I feel totally at ease in places like these, I find people smiling, I usually end up chatting to most of the place, via my amazing co-pilot, translator and fixer, Angie.

I was very tempted to buy an old accordian for a nomadic Irish busking mate of mine who'll soon be in Skopje.  600 Denars, around 10 euros for the accordian but I aint dragging an accordian around for no-one.... I know where to find it if my mate wants it!

Me and Angie bought perfectly good adidas runners for €6, an hand carved wooden pepper grinder for €2, and a set of hand enamelled clay pots for cooking the Macedonian traditional bean dish 'Tavce Gravce' for 50 cent but we broke one on the way home.

Gypsy boys winked at me, old women smiled.  People were happy for me to take photos and usually ended up laughing and although usually I have no idea what's being said I kind of get it anyway.  Long live gypsy markets!  I'd happily spend my weekends trawling through the mountains of stuff, seeking the gems that still can be found, after all, it's all about the hunt.

 These two young lads had come with their Dad who had the good sense to buy them both a Rubix cube.  What a fantastic thing to give your kids!  The Dad told me he was a sailor and his Captain was an Irishman.  I told him my Dad was both a Captain and an Irishman!  Random synchronicity amongst the random objects.

These two young lads had come with their Dad who had the good sense to buy them both a Rubix cube.  What a fantastic thing to give your kids!  The Dad told me he was a sailor and his Captain was an Irishman.  I told him my Dad was both a Captain and an Irishman!  Random synchronicity amongst the random objects.

 Amongst the rubble I noticed this book entitled 'The History of Western Literature'   I love this mixing of high culture with the practical.   

Amongst the rubble I noticed this book entitled 'The History of Western Literature'   I love this mixing of high culture with the practical.

 

 Dolls, Dolls, Dolls.   

Dolls, Dolls, Dolls.

 

 When I first was these two the older one was dragging the younger along by this plastic chain around his neck.  At first it looked nasty but when I asked them for a picture I realised how cool the younger one was to be dragged around.  He was having a grand time of it.   

When I first was these two the older one was dragging the younger along by this plastic chain around his neck.  At first it looked nasty but when I asked them for a picture I realised how cool the younger one was to be dragged around.  He was having a grand time of it.

 

 This chap works selling teas and coffees just to make a little extra.  He made us two hot chocolates and wouldn't take any money so I'm not sure how much extra he actually makes.  Many people work here just for the love of it, we even spoke to one lady who told us she only comes to sell stuff because her family at home give her grief for smoking so she comes here where she can smoke all she likes.   

This chap works selling teas and coffees just to make a little extra.  He made us two hot chocolates and wouldn't take any money so I'm not sure how much extra he actually makes.  Many people work here just for the love of it, we even spoke to one lady who told us she only comes to sell stuff because her family at home give her grief for smoking so she comes here where she can smoke all she likes.

 

 The best thing for me is not the items that can be bought but the items that can be found.  Stuff just lying around for anyone to take, like these purple stilettos, I was tempted but not my style, or Angie's, so they are still there if anyone needs a pair of kick ass purple high heels...

The best thing for me is not the items that can be bought but the items that can be found.  Stuff just lying around for anyone to take, like these purple stilettos, I was tempted but not my style, or Angie's, so they are still there if anyone needs a pair of kick ass purple high heels...

 This record is of music made by a Yugoslav actor and his wife who set a children's travelling theatre in 1977 called 'The snail' ( A snail carries his home on his back)   These guys made many children TV shows in the 7'and 80's and I found them on youtube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVP12APCtm8     Not quite as surreal as the kids show I watched back then in Ireland, but close!

This record is of music made by a Yugoslav actor and his wife who set a children's travelling theatre in 1977 called 'The snail' ( A snail carries his home on his back)   These guys made many children TV shows in the 7'and 80's and I found them on youtube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVP12APCtm8     Not quite as surreal as the kids show I watched back then in Ireland, but close!

 The last found object is my favourite.  This green plastic framed statue of liberty was missing it's torch to shine the light of justice and was lying abandoned amongst the rubbish.

The last found object is my favourite.  This green plastic framed statue of liberty was missing it's torch to shine the light of justice and was lying abandoned amongst the rubbish.