I’ve had a very busy week with work and didn’t think I was going to get around to visiting the businesses up at Dominic Square but I was determined to do it yesterday afternoon and I’m glad I did – I met some great people and had a good laugh at the same time.
After getting a rejection to take the picture of a couple of guys sitting on the benches in Dominic Square I was a little worried I might be out of luck but the shop owners were very happy to oblige. What I noticed most from visiting the two shops I did was the overall determination to do the right thing by their customers and to have a laugh while doing it. Here is Mohammed …
Mohammed is the butcher at the Halal Meat and Food Centre – business is going well – there is a large Muslim community in Luton and Lewsey Farm is no different. After being in the shop for about 10 or 15 minutes talking with the guys, it occurred to me that not everyone who came in to buy meat was Muslim and I can see that with the shops friendly manner and their diverse range of goods people prefer to use the halal shop than the more mainstream supermarkets that are on Dominic Square. With the recent mud flinging about Lewsey Farm I wanted to know if the shop had experienced any trouble over recent months and Mohammed looked at me quizzically and just shook his head “No, we don’t get any trouble here, this is a nice place”, which of course is very encouraging, they have the odd thing stolen through shoplifting but I think you find that everywhere.
Having had a chat, a laugh and taken a few pictures of Mohammed I headed for Asia Coiffure situated on the corner of the square. I knew the shop had been a hairdressers for a long time but I also knew that it wasn’t always a hairdressers but I couldn’t remember what it used to be. Muni and Sharnia work in the shop and Sharnia had in the back of her mind that it was a bakery in a past life. As soon as she said that I remembered going over on a Saturday morning and getting a large bloomer (always a large bloomer) for sausage sandwiches for lunch. Saturday lunch in our house was always sausage sandwiches !!
Again, Asia Coiffure doesn’t see any trouble but then Sharnia remembered, knock down ginger (where the kids knock on the door and run off ), well I used to do that and I don’t consider myself a major trouble maker – we had a bit of a giggle about knock down ginger.
So if the odd bit of shoplifting and a game of knock down ginger is the level of trouble Dominic Square shop keepers are seeing it’s all very encouraging – it’s no more than it was 30 years ago and therefore goes against the general perception of how rough and uninviting Lewsey Farm currently is – no racketeering nor firebombs ?! Who’d have thought it.
And last but by no means least I read on the Luton Today website that Luton Community Arts Trust had opened a shop in High Town and were championing local artists and musicians so I popped up and met them. Chris and Anthony have both recently left university.
Chris (L) was studying Art at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton and worked with the Luton Arts Community Trust for all of that time. Chris is also lead singer and lead guitarist of local alternative rock band Flexy Boys.
Anthony – Flexy Boys band manager, he became manager because he’s the most regular gig attendee, as I am official photographer for Percy’s Blues Jam, because I’m the only one that turns up with a camera (see previous posts) – went to the University of Hertfordshire where he studied Music Journalism, English Literature and Film Studies – he has now left university with a Masters in Film Studies !
We had quite a chat about English Literature – George Orwell and Oscar Wilde were common areas of interest and their both dying relatively young (Orwell died at 47 and Wilde 46 – so we weren’t far off Anthony).
And, just as a little plug for myself, the guys have kindly agreed to put some of my black and white pictures on the walls for sale – so at 92 High Town Rd, a 2 minute walk from Luton Train Station, I would confidently say you find the best shop in town.
Not sure at the minute what next week’s topic will be but I’ll do my best to buck the trend of negative thought about Luton and or LU4 Lewsey Farm.
Have a good week – thanks for reading and of course comments always welcome.