16 April 2010

How Bazaar

It may come as little surprise to you that I’m a big fan of junk shops. Huge, in fact. Fortunately, Melbourne does not disappoint. There is some serious awesomeness going on in this city, not least of which comes in the form of Old Shit That’s Already Been Used. The Chapel Street Bazaar has to be my all-time favorite such place. It’s an enormous warehouse-space tucked smack in the middle of one of the trendiest streets in the city. When you walk in, your nose is assaulted by the smell of Vintage Stuff. You know the smell. And if you don’t, well, just picture walking into your grandparents’ attic (minus the odor of mouse droppings). Multiply that by a hundred and you have some idea.

We are legion

And we’re talking a vast selection. It’s divided into sections, but not helpfully so. Instead of, say, an area for crazy old lady jewelry, another for records, another for vintage toys, the entire shop is divided into individual “stalls”, each of which is rented out by someone with his or her own private collection of random stuff to sell. So you might have a selection of bottle openers and jackknives perched next to a stack of rainbow-colored melamine teacups, or a pair of kangaroo salt-and-pepper shakers jockeying for position beside an army of Smurfs. Plus a few vintage cameras on the side. And if you want a cigarette lighter from the Nixon administration, you can find it here. Basically, it’s a whole neighborhood of Grandma’s attics all housed in a huge maze under one roof.

Typewriter love

Going somewhere?

Crazy old lady jewelry

The only downside that I can see to this arrangement is that finding something that you want to actually buy (as opposed to just trying on, which can result in excessive squealing and picture-taking, which has only gotten me kicked out once) requires an almost photographic memory: it’s virtually impossible to re-find something once you’ve moved on to stare at another crazy random thing. I once discovered a fabulous cocktail ring that I was apparently desperate to own (it had a giant picture of Elvis on it, c’mon), only to realize mere seconds later, after I’d absently wandered across the aisle to examine a collection of dog-shaped teapots, that the ring was gone. Not bought by someone else, just gone. It had disappeared into the Black Hole of Lost Things, swallowed up by the Bazaar.  It was clearly punishing me for not purchasing it immediately. I searched for it for about half an hour before I gave up. So I adopted the philosophy that I often adopt when shopping (and which usually ends up saving me money): I decided that if the universe wanted me to have Elvis on my finger, it would let me find it again on another trip.

Doggy sugar bowl... I think

Still haven’t found that damn ring again, yet.

1 comment: