It’s an oft heard complaint that you can’t buy anything useful in Glastonbury. This is of course nonsense. What could be more functional than a mirror ball Ganesha? Who needs underwear when you can simply don a very long cloak? As Kim said to me earlier “I don’t actually want a cauldron, but it’s nice to know I could just pop into the High St and buy one if I did”.
The High Street has changed enormously in the two decades I’ve been here. When I first arrived there were a handful of hippy shops – the Glastonbury Experience Courtyard was already here, so we had Star Child, Margaret Kimber and the Library of Avalon upstairs. Gareth started selling some Buddhist books in a tiny cupboard there which grew into Speaking Tree Books, now a worldwide wholesale business. Bruce had Unique Publications on the High St, there was Gothic Image of course – which was one of the very first alternative shops, there were a few vegetarian cafes – Rainbow’s End, the Blue Note etc. We also had a dress shop which sold the kind of floral frocks stout ladies wear in church, a Woolworths, a shoe shop and a furniture shop and other, rather more ordinary, consumer outlets.
Nowadays the High Street is full of emporiums of what is locally known as ‘Hippy Tat’ – crystal shops, witchy supply stores, even the flower shop, Enchanted Florals, sells broomsticks and fairy catching nets. We still don’t have any big High St chain stores, and the Co-op supermarket sells a wide range of wholefoods.
As some of the window displays in the photographs show, especially the ones I photographed at night, Glastonbury shopkeepers have a way of making things you don’t really need, or even want, look particularly attractive. Lilith have consistently brilliant displays – one Christmas they had a full size unicorn (Jan 2018 Note: Lilith have now closed and been replaced by Wildwood). Little Imps Toy Shop have a treehouse on display that I would very much like to live in – should I ever find myself miniaturised. It makes for a very different High Street, which is colourful and interesting, the streets might not be paved with gold, but they are often strewn with glitter. If you want a fridge or a pair of knickers or a rucksack you go to Street Village a couple of miles away.
A special mention in the ‘simply ridiculous category’ must go to the Buddha Maitreya Soul Therapy Centre. Amongst other things they offer Buddha Maitreya Metatron Mat Healing. Apparently lying on one of these “Applies the sacred geomancy of the Vesica Pisces. This alignment is applied by Buddha Maitreya synergistically with the Metatron’s Mat that is based on the cosmic geomancy of Christ using an electromagnetic grid incorporating copper fabric tape with neodymium rare earth magnets at each intersection and small etheric weaver crystals”. This sounds like utter codswallop to me, but as Glastonbury consistently demonstrates, it takes all sorts to make a world.
Do click on the photos for larger images.
March 2018: Since I wrote this post even more quirky and unique shops have come to town. Several new businesses have opened up in Benedict Street – where you will find Laura Lou Lou’s vintage and retro emporium, Shield Maiden where you can buy anything for the Viking in your life and Magpie’s Nest who have a distinctly steampunk style.
The top of the High Street is now well worth a visit, so don’t stop when you get to the Post Office. Sonus Magus Glastonbury’s wonderful music shop now has a High Street frontage in Abbey Mews (you can read my post about the shop and it’s wonderfully eccentric proprietor by clicking here), If you are after vintage clothes check out Mumani Vintage who have more sparkles and sequins than you can shake a wiggly stick at. A while I go I featured wonderfully colourful PinK-allie in my Glastonbury Style post, her shop Maharanee’s Palace is now to be found here too. For vintage furniture, clothes and bric-a-brac Presence of the Past is close by.
Sorry to all the lovely shopkeepers who I’ve missed out, but a blog that listed every shop in Glastonbury would be, quite frankly, boring. No one has given me any money to advertise their shops in this post, but they are of course welcome to in the future. Would you like to commission me to write an in-depth article about what you do, and what Glastonbury means to you, for Normal For Glastonbury? You’d be reaching thousands of readers who love the Town. Please Click Here for more information
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