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Comic Con – the aftermath

As I mentioned in my previous post about Comic Con, the following day I decided to drive across London to get home, and to stop off at Old Spitalfields Market at Shoreditch. I was in two minds about doing this as my feet and my hip joints were all very sore from Comic Con the day before, but I decided to go for it anyway.

Shoreditch Selfie

Shoreditch Selfie

The traffic in London wasn’t too bad since it was a Sunday morning and I made it to the market in good time and managed to find some free on-street parking directly opposite one of the entrances. Bonus!

Circuitboard Earrings

Circuit board Earrings

The first stall that caught my eye was a guy selling earrings and necklaces made out of printed circuit boards. I thought this was immensely cool so took a photo in order to mention it here on my blog, and the seller immediately told me off and said I shouldn’t have taken a photo. I apologised and asked if he would like me to delete it, and he went on to say that if I had asked first then he might have said yes. I replied that I had taken the photo because I thought his jewellery was incredibly cool and awesome and I wanted to share it with my friends on Facebook and on my blog, at which point he relented and said that maybe publicity would be good. So he didn’t insist on me deleting the photo after all.
I have to be honest and say that it didn’t even to occur to me that I shouldn’t take a photo, especially as I was taking it for entirely innocent reasons. However, as I continued to wander around the market I did notice that some sellers had signs on their stalls asking people not to take photos. Maybe the circuit board seller should have had one too, rather than telling me off afterwards for what was an honest mistake made without malice.

Although the jewellery itself was very cool, I didn’t buy any. There wasn’t any one pair of earrings that really leapt out at me, and also the prices were more than I wanted to pay (I acknowledge that they are hand-made and unique, and I’m not saying that they were overpriced; I’m just saying I didn’t want to spend that kind of money).

I also found a stall where the seller was selling mostly silver jewellery in an Art Nouveau and Art Deco style. Although I liked some of them, there were none that I wanted to buy despite the prices being quite reasonable. There was one pair that almost tempted me but I decided against it.

The last time I visited Old Spitalfields market, there was a great deal of the kind of stuff I would expect to find at an Antiques and Collectors fair – lots of reclaimed stuff, second hand stuff, ephemera, and the like. This time was different, and it was far more of a traditional market – stalls selling dresses, bags, leather goods, art, jewellery, food, etc. One stall was selling a range of silk t-shirts with scenes and characters from Studio Ghibli films on them and I very nearly bought one with No-Face (Kaonashi) from Spirited Away on it, drinking a cup of tea. With hindsight, I really should have bought it as I really liked it and at £15 it wasn’t excessively expensive and I regret not doing so.

After a while I was done, and headed back to the car and then drove home. I had a lot of fun darting in and out of traffic, which my little car was ideally suited for, and I made it across London in good time and then on to the M3 and to home.

Steve Conway

Steve Conway

The next day was Bank Holiday Monday, and there were a number of Antiques and Collectables fairs on. There was a big one down at Goodwood Racecourse and another down at Winchester, but I decided that both were too far away considering how tired and footsore I was from Comic Con. There was, however, one of Take Five’s regular fairs at Woking Leisure Centre, this one being one of their 20th Century, Art Deco and Art Nouveau fairs, so I decided to go to that one. I also knew that Amita Veta would probably be there, and also singer Steve Conway. Steve is a Swing / Rat Pack singer who Take Five have hired several times now to sing at their fairs. He sings live to a backing track, and really lifts the atmosphere and ambience, and it’s always a genuine pleasure to hear him sing (and swing).

When I got there, I looked around and sure enough Amita was there, but busy with a customer, but she saw me and gave me a big smile and a wave and I motioned that I’d come see her when she wasn’t busy. Steve was also there and I said hello and he recognised me and said it was good to see me again. I asked when he was singing and he said I’d just missed one set but he’d be singing again in 10 mins or so.

Love that Amita Veta

Love that Amita Veta

I started making a circuit of the hall, looking at the stalls, and noticed a stall selling mostly silver jewellery in an Art Nouveau and Art Deco style and I thought “hold on a second…” and looked up at the seller, did a double-take, and said “weren’t you at…” and he laughed and said “Yes, and so were you. I recognise you!”. It was the same guy from the day before at Old Spitalfields Market. 🙂

I got to speak to Amita in the end, and we had a good natter, and I also asked her if she’d take a pic of me with my camera.

This all brings home how important it is to always go these fairs in girl mode, as I am starting to get to know regular attendees now, and going in either girl mode or guy mode as the mood suits me just means that I build up relationships more slowly or, worse, twice. Or, worse still, see someone I know when I am in the “wrong” mode and they therefore don’t recognise me.

Whilst I was out, I had a text from a client saying that they had some development hardware for me to test against for some work I am doing for them, and did I want to pop in and get it, and catch up, if I was free. I replied that I would be happy to so long as they didn’t mind me being in girl mode. So after I had finished in Woking I drove over there.

I wouldn’t say I was nervous about turning up in girl mode, as they’re a small company and they know I’m transgender, but they haven’t see me in girl mode before, and also this is the first time I have ever let my work life and my personal life mix like that.

They couldn’t have been less fazed by the whole thing, which was absolutely brilliant. We hung out for a while, ordered pizza as it was lunch time, discussed the work I’m doing and the work they’re doing, and had a really productive time.

I’m not saying that I want to transition or go “full time”, but having had 4 whole days living full time in girl mode including meeting with a client, it does make me think that I could possibly cope should the need arise.

 

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Take another Five

20th Century & Art Deco fair

20th Century & Art Deco fair

On Sunday I was back at the Woking Leisure Centre for another of Take Five‘s fairs, this time for a 20th Century, Art Nouveau and Art Deco fair. These are generally less packed with stalls than the “flea, antiques & collectors” markets but the sellers tend to have more expensive and larger items for sale.

I went in knowing from previous experience that I would be unlikely to find something that I both liked and could afford, and that was certainly the case. There were some lovely pieces but were way outside my price range. Rather amusingly I also saw a few items that had also been in the ‘flea, antiques & collectors’ market a few weeks previously. I guess there is some overlap between the two.

One thing that did catch my eye was an absolutely gorgeous Art Nouveau necklace, which I asked to look at. As the seller took it out of the display case to show it to me, she said it was an original Charles Horner dating from around 1908, and at that point I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to afford it.
As we chatted she remarked on the necklace that I was wearing and how pretty it was, and I mentioned that I had bought it for next to nothing. She then said that this one was going to be a little more and the very best price she could do was £220. I winced, and explained that I really just buy stuff on aesthetics and I don’t really know anything about anything, and I don’t buy to sell on; I buy to wear. She said she totally understood, and that she thought I had a very good eye given the fact I liked this necklace and also given the necklace I was wearing.

I asked if she could write down the name of the creator of the necklace for me, so I could read up on him and if I could possibly take a picture of it to remind me how beautiful it is, so she wrote down the name ‘Charles Horner’ on her business card and said that there was a picture on her website. Her name is Amita Vetta of Love That Jewellery, and when I got home I visited her website and saw that the necklace is for sale there for £285 so she really was giving me her best price and I appreciate that, and also appreciate the amount of time she spent chatting to me; a thoroughly nice lady. It’s just a shame that it was just way outside of my price range. I confess I was really tempted though. I do hope this doesn’t turn out to be another of life’s little missed opportunities.

A little disheartened, I moved on and eventually came across a necklace that I thought was quite nice, and which the seller said was probably from the 1920’s. The best price she could do was £20. I said I’d have a think and come back to her, and continued to wander around. At some point a live male singer began to sing to a backing track (you can see the microphone in the centre of the pic above if you look hard), which was really nice and gave a lovely atmosphere despite the fact we were all in a Sports Hall.

Fan necklace

Go on then

Eventually I finished my tour of the stalls, and I returned to the cheaper necklace and after a little pondering said “ah go on then” to the seller and gave her a £20 note. It was probably a little more than I wanted to pay but I consider it a consolation prize for the fact I couldn’t afford the Charles Horner necklace.

After that, it was a drive from Woking to Basingstoke, via Lightwater to the M3, because I had to take that sequin dress back and only had one day left to do so. I made good time despite the M3 being on a 50mph speed limit with Average Speed Cameras due to the extensive roadworks they are doing, and eventually I arrived at Festival Place.

I took the sequin dress back to Top Shop and they gave me a full refund for the £68 I paid for it (I notice it is now £40 in the sales) without any quibble. When the sales girl asked me if there was anything wrong with it I said there wasn’t, it just wasn’t right for me. She nodded and said that this is always the problem with t-shirt dresses and that she prefers a more fitted waist. I agreed and said that was exactly why I was returning it. So in some ways I felt quite vindicated by her comment. Which was nice.

I wandered round the shops but nothing much caught my eye apart from this awesome pop art canvas of Iron Man. I knew the moment I saw it that I had to have it, and the fact it was only £15 was a bonus. So I bought that and returned to the car to stow it, and then went back down to wander the shops some more.

Iron Man canvas

Iron Man canvas

I came across a very strange thing in one shop. It was one of those pop-up clothes shops that sells all sorts of brands and they had my ‘Gold & Grey Mesh Flower Print Dress’ that I had bought from Quiz. Only the label didn’t say Quiz; it said Stella Morgan. I’ve done a little detective work on this since, and it seems legitimate – Tesco are also selling it branded as Stella Morgan under their F&F range.
The shop had the Gold & Grey, and also a Black & Blue. My research online has shown that the usual colours are Black & Grey and Gold & Grey, but I can’t find the Black & Blue online anywhere, which is a pity as if I’d known that I might have been tempted to buy it despite it being £39.99 as it looked stunning in Black & Blue, but it might work in Black & Grey too. I notice that Tesco have just reduced the Black & Grey to £30 in their online sale so I might buy that as I really do love the Gold & Grey that I have.

I’m still a little confused by the fact that this dress is by Quiz with some sellers (including Amazon) and Stella Morgan with others. Clearly there is some re-branding going on.

Anyway, I didn’t find anything else, and decided I was done. But before I went home I took an obligatory selfie because, well, you have to don’t you? 🙂
You can see the pic on Flickr (click here), and can see the necklace I was wearing too – the one Amita complimented me on.

 

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Take Five

Obligatory selfie

Obligatory selfie

On Sunday I attended one of Take Five‘s flea, antiques & collectors markets. These are held roughly once a month at the Woking Leisure Centre, although some events are 20th Century & Art Deco events. You can find a calendar on their website if you are interested.

I got there just after midday, which probably wasn’t ideal as it had been open since 9am but there was still plenty to buy.

Flea, antiques & collectors market

Flea, antiques & collectors market

You enter the main hall of the Leisure Centre via the balcony (hence the angle of the photo of the hall) so whilst I was up there it was kind of obligatory to take a selfie too. 😀

Bieres de la Meuse

Bieres de la Meuse

I’d no sooner got down into the main hall and looking at the stalls when I spied my first bargain – a retro metal sign in the Art Nouveau style which was only £3 and is ideal for my Retro Wall. The sign is a little beat up, unlike my others which were all bought new, but I think it adds to the charm.

It took me a lot longer to find my next purchase. I was quite tempted by some dragonfly earrings, but the seller had £20 on the smaller pair and £30 on a larger pair. When I asked him how much he’d come down from the £20 for the smaller pair, he sucked his teeth and suggested £19. They weren’t worth that to me so I politely said I would leave them, and moved on.

As I wandered around the hall and chatted to the sellers, at least 3 complemented me on my jumper with one lady saying it was “just so cute”, which was really nice.

I also got chatting to a toy seller who, amongst other things, had a Captain Scarlett car for sale and as I was looking at it said that he had the rocket for it and that it was kept safely in a small box to be included on sale. I don’t blame him – having owned several rocket-firing toys when young (including a Buck Rogers Star-Fighter and a James Bond Lotus Esprit). I know how incredibly easy it is to lose those! I told him about how my ex’s step-son had begged to be allowed to fire the rockets on my Esprit just once, and I refused and said he’d lose them. My ex browbeat me into letting him, and sure enough he immediately lost one on just one firing.

Necklace

Necklace

My next purchase was a lovely necklace which I got for £10. It’s not hallmarked (that I can see anywhere) and provenance is unknown although the lady selling it thought it might be 1950’s. I didn’t mind because I was just buying on looks and form. I’m not a collector or a reseller – I just buy things that appeal to me and that I would wear.
I probably could have beat her down on price, but I thought that £10 was fair.

There were a few other things that I sort of liked but not enough to buy. It was quite interesting to see the range of things on sale though – after all, being a flea, antiques and collectors market you can well imagine that it was an eclectic mix. Certainly at the “flea” end of things there was some absolute tat that wouldn’t have looked out of place at a car boot sale yet at the other end of the scale there were some genuine antiques (with prices to match). But on the whole, many things were ‘reasonably priced’.
I think I will go back for the 20th Century & Art Deco fair in a few weeks although I know from experience that often these ones have a lot of stuff that is way outside of my budget.

After about an hour I felt I had seen everything on sale, so made my exit. Since I was not far from the centre of Woking I decided to try out their shopping centre as I haven’t been before. This probably wasn’t a great move. The multi-storey car park was very full, and I had to drive right up to the 9th level (out to 10) to park, then descend to the shopping area. Once there it turned out to be a vertigo-inducing multi-level mall that was absolutely heaving with people. I stuck it out for a little while but realised I really wasn’t really in the mood. Then I had to queue for ages for both the parking station and the lift back up to the car.

When I got home, I decided to take some photos for my Flickr, but I’ll leave that for another post.

 

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