I live in Ladbroke Grove and about 90% of my weekends are spent trawling around the markets on Portobello Road. I try to escape it, but when its all outside my door I find it hard to get any further than Notting Hill Gate, by that time I have accumulated some hairy jumpers, a teapot, some baklava, and a painting of cats, so then I have to turn around and go home to recuperate.
I love 2nd hand junk. I just go mental for it. Which brings me to the point of this story: if people love 2nd hand junk - why don't they love free junk??
I have mentioned before my love of The Inn on the Green - the meeting place of Method Steve, and various other shenanigans. The Inn on the Green is like no other place in London that I have been before, and when you bring new people into its crazy realm, you can be sure to have some explaining to do.
Saturday night I took some newbs in for the experience, and I'm sure that deep down. deep deep down - they loved it.
First of all there was a musical memorial wake in memory of a dead guy who may or may not have been in a band - but luckily his brother who was clearly in the midst of a mental breakdown - was. Let me just paint the scene - the guitarist who was the main performer in the wake was wearing; fluffy white slipper boots, hair scrunchies on his arms, christmas decoration bracelets and a cat toy on his head like a hat.
so pretty much channelling Dr Seuss, if Dr Seuss was in the midst of a personal breakdown and been smoking Meth for 2 straight weeks.
Then came the singing: "merrrhhhhnnerrrr brother.. and herrrrrrurgggg sleeping in his cot mummbrleeeeeeeee SHHHHHHHHHHH SHHHHHHHH, ok i'm try that again in D"
Brillant. Best Funeral I've ever been to, and the night kept getting better.
One thing that is at the heart of the Inn on the Green, is that it's a community place, everyone from every walk of life goes there and is welcomed and doesn't stir shit with anyone. It's a place where you can safely walk around with a cat toy on your head without anyone giving you a side-eye.
So it really didn't surprise me when I saw a rack of clothes with a sign saying "LOST AND FOUND CLEARANCE - TAKE WHAT YOU WANT". Friggen Awesome.
I have this recurring dream where I am in a shopping centre and I've been told I can take anything I want and I go into a meltdown because I have too much to choose from and I wake up diving into a pool of clothes and accessories.
This was exactly like that. My dream had finally come to fruition!!!!!!!!!! except instead of really nice clothes from a designer emporium, it was old smelly clothes left behind by drug addicts. Wooooo Hooooooooo! Score.
I found a pair of glittery underpants (mark wouldn't let me take them, even though I did a thorough check for discharge) and this really cool Fred Flinstone vest, which I had to take off when I realised that the vest stunk of nuclear BO and I continued to stink the rest of the night as though he BO molecules had transferred themselves in solid form to my body. But aside from the free undies and BO vest there were some really good finds on that rack.
In the end I decided to go for a scarf, and two cardigans.. My friend also picked up a cardigan and sat in it for about an hour before she started feeling "feverish".. she blamed it on the cardigan and threw it to the ground. I have never heard of a cardigan giving you AIDS before but there was a tense few minutes when both of us thought we may have been infected for life from the free knitted goods we had claimed for our own.
I persisted however and ran home with my free junk to put into the washing machine - knowing that if I at least washed the clothes they would be less likely to kill me with their germs the next day.
And here I come to my point: why - just because something is free, do we think it's going to kill us?? The Inn on the Green also give away free nuts, crisps, chicken wings and samosas... yet no one wanted to go anywhere near them?? why?? I ate about 2 plates of nuts and lived to tell the tale, I wasn't allowed to eat the chicken wings. I don't understand?? what could the Inn on the Green ever get out of serving up poison nuts and chicken wings and giving out free Aids Jumpers?? You're not gonna get repeat service pulling pranks like that. Pretty much all the clothes I buy at Portobello Markets are comparable to the free junk I took home that night - and I don't worry about any of them giving me sleeve herpes. transference of money for clothes = no diseases, apparently.
I have since washed my free cardigans and scarf and am yet to wear them, that is if they are still at home and haven't robbed me - forming a rope out of each other and stealing my laptop and stereo and slithering slowly down the street.
WOO HOO FREE SHIT!!