Citation: yara. "Shopping for Psychedelics in London: An Experience with Mushrooms & Peyote (exp37135)". Erowid.org. Oct 2, 2004. erowid.org/exp/37135
I went to Camden Town Market today (September 2004), where I had heard there were a number of people selling mushrooms. I thought I'd have to ferret them out in the back of the market, near the rasta incense guy and the questionable seafood stirfry. No! Right there on the main drag, at least a dozen places. Most of them are selling mushrooms as an adjunct to an existing business (usually pipes & paraphenalia, sometimes shoes or leather jackets).
Amsterdam of London (where the price list is from) had four refrigerator cases full of mushrooms. She said they'd probably sell them all by the end of the day. They package them in those little plastic containers you see herbs at the grocery store in.
Some of the places, the mushrooms looked really icky. Moldy, spotty, not at all fresh. It just runs the entire range: from the guy selling leather jackets, lighters, and oh yeah mushrooms to Amsterdam of London with four cases and Camden Mushrooms with nice booths and good looking stuff.
However, where there's a will, there's one guy determined to make an empire. That man is Thor, owner of the Camden Mushroom Company with 3 locations (Camden, Portobello, and Covent Garden). I didn't get a chance to talk to Thor as he was helping customers and I had no plans to buy. I did talk to his assistant and he seemed fairly knowledgeable, conscientious, etc. He said they're not supposed to really talk about the 'experience' angle--you should know what you're getting into before you come buy, he said. But they are willing to answer questions as to differences between the mushroom types in terms of experience. They won't sell to anyone under 18 (which is common, but i don't see how you'd card anyone here) or to anyone who 'looks nervous'.
You can read the flyer they hand out from their stand at http://www.camdenmushroomcompany.com/ and email them at email@example.com. Thor seems to be the big player in town next to the Amsterdam of London people and probably more of a true believer. T-shirts, booths, banners, flyers. The Amsterdam people are just making bank. I would mail him if you need more nitty gritty on the size and shape of the market, details, etc. Obviously they are singularly focused. When I asked the assistant to guess how many places he thought were selling mushrooms, he said, 'well you can see probably like a dozen places from right here.' And that's not counting all the various places set up in basements and backrooms of stores with a sign on the street.
Some other places are less focused. I did see places with actual cactus in a pot for sale, but I have no knowledge of whether they were legit or not. It could have been 99-cent Garden Center cactus for all I know. Prices on the Amsterdam board are probably close to what almost everyone was charging, give or take, here or there. It seems like there's a lot of competition. Camden Muchroom Company guy mentioned they just dropped their prices to be a little more in line with everyone else.
One curious thing, they all had the exact same packaging. That made me wonder if there was a main distributor outside of the two big players.
Something that bothered me was that they all had the same crappy single page 'info' sheet on mushrooms: it was vague and unhelpful saying things like 'Experience a wonder of delights...' The wording sounded like an advertisement for a pastry shop to me. The 'information sheet' was a list of the different strains of mushroom they were selling with such useful tidbits as:
Mexican (Psilocybe Cubensis)
These mushrooms will give you a happy trip, with nice visuals, laughing and trippy thoughts. Social and comfortable. Recommended for first-time users. The trip will last 4-6 hours.
Indians (difficult to read on my photo ??)
These mushrooms will give you a very wavy feeling with a happy trip, nice visuals, laughing and trippy thoughts. Social and comfortable. If you like the Mexicana, then you will love the Indians. The trip will last 4-6 hours.
These mushrooms will give you a trip like the Mexican, but a little stronger and little more thinking. The trip will last for about 5 hours.
These mushrooms will take you to another level, not recommended for the beginners. The trip will last for about 5-6 hours.
This is the strongest kind. This trip is very visual and very intense. The effect will last about 6-7 hours. Not recommended for the faint harted [sic].
Economis t article from September 2004 about this area
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