Sunshine, honey the length of South Street, blessing nearly every pale shape there. Sunshine smears the terraces with a liberal ease and the windows cannot help but grin. The market is near gridlock with browsers, dawdlers: a mix of locals and grockles. Pushchairs and trolleys chariot. Shopping bags and shoulder bags tangle, and endless people brush. Sorry is the battle-hush! The treasures on the trestles twinkle. There is some breath beneath the awnings.
The market traders (these ones, this one) are mostly bronze age future-retro dreads, nu-age bohos, swing-hippies. Tattoos, facial hair and piercing. ‘This is The Last Stand’ declares one banner above a stall selling drill bits, Brillo pads, cassette tapes and 12 inch vinyl clip-art frames. Cheap sweets.
The market traders stand around, enthusiastic, pretend to chat. They sip, wipe coffee, from polystyrene cups, from chins. They reminisce the night before, the decade before, the century before: romancing the Stones. Their faces show that their tales can only ever become more mythic, more tedious with each practiced telling.
Transistors and biographies. Couples and trios shoot breeze amidst the bric-a-brac of old corkscrews and toys. One hundred years of used postcards depicting every county, shoebox filed… humorous, local, historical, christmas, birthday, seaside.
Tobacco tins, filled to brim with assorted screws, nuts and bolts (tin not for sale). There are ancient and rusted garden implements, fruit boxes stuffed with paperbacks, demob and dead mens’ suits. Polyester, nylon and rayon dresses, hang with more contemporary cotton numbers from wire coat hangers, strung on string. Here are some wooden boxes: hand painted; over varnished, under varnished, distressed, rotting, decorative. Recycled firewood and beach trawl. Pretend wood sidles up to dead wood, and everywhere, trays and dishes and anything you fancy, rendered wood effect.
Picture frames. Crockery waiting to be stylish again. Iconic, unironed.
Here are the three wise monkeys. They crouch, totemed on a trestle table. The brown teak simians reveal themselves, quite soon, to be nothing more than shit-coloured plastic, rendered, furniture, functional; styling it seems, for the bathroom: ‘See-no’ squats at the base, little crappy monkey hands plastering his face. On his shoulders, ‘Speak-no’ covers his mouth in a not-quite clench of the fists. His plastic palms are pierced. On top of his shoulders, ‘Hear-no’, hands clamped over his monkey ears. His elbows protrude forward and I see that they have attachments at the end allowing a roll of toilet paper to be at hand. The space between ‘Speak-no’s fists is a space for him to clutch a toilet brush! Unfeasibly shit.
Tables are crowded with potted plants in varying stages of life. Rock n Roll memorabilia: posters and badges and stickers and scarves, bandanas and tees. Some is the deal, some is the cod. Machineprint in Vietnam. Anarchy symbols, Alvin Stardust mittens, peace signs. The Elvis mirror. Pink Floyd, Charles Manson, thumbs-up and wolves. Fairies and angels and devils and dwarves. Skulls. Lennon-McCartney buddhas, Marilyn, The Doors. One inch I Hate People pins. Rebel flags and yankee flags and rainbow flags and swastikas. A hammer and a sickle. Aztec shit. The girl at the tennis net scratching her arse. Bowie, when Bowie had English teeth. Tie-dye Dion, Patti Smith patch, Nick Drake face, Kafka badge. The multi-untalented, unliving, sixty percent cotton Sid Vicious, his cartoon Cliff Richard sneer. Play It At Your Sister! Apollo 11, Bob Dylan, Bukowski. Up Yours! Here is a tee shirt with the face of Bob Marley and the name below reads Jimmi Hendrix. The whole of rock n roll turned through the mangle.
Over there is a mangle.
‘Brocken handle £45’