Lynn Tolmon weekly columny about life at 2Up2Down/Homebaked

, Nov 2012

So yesterday was a bit hectic. Saturdays at the bakery are so random. That’s what the young people are saying these days, no? “oh my god you’re so random!” ... but they literally are pretty random too, not just abnormal and zany. Some weeks it’s dead until the exact moment the Tour arrives, led by Carl with a C (not with a K, that’s just weird). Some weeks we have a ton of locals come in for a coffee – “oh god it’s him” “dog in a pram” and “bodybuilder in a Porsche” to name but three. Some weeks we’re stuffed to the gunnels with biennial bigwigs (you can identify them by their question of “do you know Jeanne?”) or confused tourists (“where’s the art? I thought there’d be some art?” or “do you do pies? We just went on a tour of LFC”)
But this week it was heaving. From the second we opened the front shutter, we didn’t have a moment’s peace. It was bleedin marvellous. I personally would prefer to have more cups, because when your job is to make tea for the “Unexpected Guest” you really don’t want to find yourself saying “oh, sorry, no clean cups” but I have come to realise that Hospitality isn’t about perfection, but personality.

My favourite comments were “this is THE highlight of the biennial, this is EXACTLY what art should be” (tell us something we haven’t heard!) and... well, this one needs context...
So we’ve dealt with the tour, and are all having a breather, when a footie family wander in. You can always identify the footie family – dad and son dressed in football kit, mum and daughter looking glassy-eyed and slightly passive-aggressive. They come in expecting a cafe, and then have a couple of minutes of drastic existential confusion which ends with them having to decide how much to pay us for their tea and cake. Usually they walk into a conversation about the intricacies of today’s performance, or the politics of the built environment.

In this case I had to say “oh sorry, bear with us, we haven’t got any clean cups...” and then Angela explained why... tea in hand, they then mooched for a bit and relaxed. As they left they said “we thought you were a cafe, we didn’t expect to walk into this! It’s like we’ve come into your front room!”
That made my day. Coming to us is like coming into our front room. It doesn’t get any better than that. I often wonder what Art is, when I’m asked “where’s the art then?” or “so which bit of this is the art?”... but ultimately doesn’t it boil down to things like enriching someone’s day, showing them an alternative perspective, challenging habits of thought? Isn’t art about being random, thought-provoking?

So the footie families go home with a memory of the multi-billion pound football club, the Regeneration zone desolation, and a funny little bakery where they felt at home. Random.

related project
2up2down / Homebaked