Sunday, June 05, 2005
A Sensory Fragment
What do we make of the car boot sale? The stalls and the stands on the farmer's lands. Or a carpark or wasteland. A wasteland. But not for waste. For clutter. Organised clutter, but clutter nonetheless. Each stall resembling the gathered together belongings of a bombed out house, or the salvagings of a Rumanian refugee's check list as they prepare for the trek to safety. But it's not. It's the British doing their week-end thing, the nation of shopkeepers confirming a suspicion.
The car boot sale. The 'car booter', or just the 'booter'. 'The mercantile scrapheap for sellers and buyers, an obsession for die hard bargain hunters and brass from muck cash generators. Row upon row, tier after tier in homage to the farmer's plough, his furrowed brow, and his till. No tills here, only tupperware containers and bumbags bulging with coins. Coins are its currency, items are priced in pence, in Ps, (pound signs are scandalised - not what it's about.) Sellers looking to turn their junk into money, urging browsers with plaintive looks to buy this, buy that, take a look at this tat; this tat I've arranged on my mat, on my, wallpaper table.
Now it's the owners who are getting a pasting - a tasting of a pasting. No one wants what they're selling. This dreck has laid dormant in garages for years in some cases. Peeking out of cases, popping out of boxes, poking out of crates. Then laid out on picnic tables and groaning under the weight. They're buckling, they're bowing, they're loaded, they're showing: egg cups and toasters, stackings of coasters; cracked plates with unknown fates showing faces of the Queen-how mean! Coffee pots, kettles, knives, forks, spoons; photo frames, trinkets and novelty runes; crap brought back from Spain - that donkey, was always a pain, with its sticky up ears and its stupid straw hat, who the hell wants to buy that!
A wreck of a bazaar, a spread-scattering-spattering of trash, tripe and trumpery all dog-eared books and solemn looks and raggle-taggle-gaggles trying half hearted haggles. And getting tetchy when it doesn't work. But the car boot sale does work. And the 'booter' is here to stay.