Skip to content

The Transformation of Iris

June 11, 2011

Jun 11th, 2011 – Day 6

I woke up this morning Iris Mansour. I went to sleep a comic book character with a cheerleading mentor, an intro to Oprah and an opportunity to befriend Sarah Palin.  

It was all in a day’s work at the Underground Market.

Most people at the market were selling… wait for it… food. Really good food. The kind that looks so good you’d put it on your mantelpiece and invite the local TV channel over for a viewing. Think gourmet meets Willy Wonka. Think fawaffles, salted icepops, Kimchee tacos, pies that looked like Christmas presents…

But I wasn’t there to eat, I wasn’t there to ask for money, I was there to ask for ideas. And the underground marketers didn’t disappoint.

Evangelisation throughout the nation leading to Americanisation

First, I had to spread the word. So I spread it far, I spread it wide, I spread it with the subtlety of a pneumatic drill.

If you were washing your hands in the toilet, you saw my to-do list. If you were sitting on the toilet – there’s nothing like a captive audience – you saw my to-do list. If you were buying a burger, you saw my to-do list. If you stood by the DJ and turned your head right to the right, you saw about 4 to do lists. They were everywhere. People were surrounded by smiling photos of JR Ewing alongside my 20.20 list. It was a conquer Americiana acid trip. Nothing more, nothing less.

Second, I found a patch by the bar. So all the passing trade was either queuing, chatting or inebriated – the perfect conditions for creative thinking.

Third, I pimped my stall. And god darn it, JR Ewing would have been proud. To-do lists, post it notes, suggestion envelopes, coloured pencils, posters with “bucket list emergency” and “help me be prom queen”, covered the wall.

You only have 60 days to live?

I came across two major obstacles. People still thought my table was one like any other. Hence the curry stains on my marketing materials.

And apparently I hadn’t quite perfected my message. Over and over again people would look at me sympathetically and ask “why 60 days?”, “should you be doing this in your condition?”

But once I’d clarified that as far as I knew, I had more than 60 days to live, they came up with some gems.


Multi-taking geniuses: “I think that’s your challenge all in one.”

My comic book hero: “What does it take to be a comic book hero..? Guts, bravery and the ability to be drawn. Check out my invisible cow.”

How to become a mushroom: As if I didn’t have enough on my plate.

Invest in the him, he’s the next Donald Trump.

Go to a zombie prom: sucking blood and eating brains.

Just speak to Oprah: d’uh

Looking like Tom Cruise in Romania: genetic luck or a talent?

All you need to be Dolly Parton is sheer force of will: just tell people you’re Dolly Parton


A big thank must go out to Mr. Iso Rabins – forager extraordinaire, market mastermind and certified dude. I met Iso ten years ago at a language school in Bologna. I was 18 years old, it was my first time away from home and I was on an improvised trip based on the suggestion of a barista at Starbucks. At the time, I could just about order a cappuccino in Italian if I used lots and lots of hand gestures.

Iso, thanks for listening to the mad ravings of an English girl you haven’t seen in ten years. Thanks for giving me a stall. Thanks for letting my speak to the fine folk at the Underground Market. It’s been an important step in making m’old dreams come true.

Grazie mille.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: