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.
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!
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.
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.
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.