It was sunny when you left home, so you didn’t take an umbrella. An hour later, you’re caught in a torrential downpour. You run into the first store you can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of old artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet you. Tell us what happens next!
Good timing! I was just in there with Frank.
Frank’s taking me for a walk. It’s a real experience watching him shut up shop. He doesn’t, we just walk out, leaving the door wide open. ‘Frank?’ I say. Newtown is a bit raffish still, despite the new money. That’s a polite way of saying, stuff gets nicked if you leave it.
Frank smiles ‘No one else can see it.’ OK then, have it your way. We shuffle round the corner and into King St. It’s busy, well it’s always busy in King St. Frank walks like a man who’s used to driving on the other side of the road. Crowded streets don’t come naturally to him, he’s not from around here.
Up past the station, probably Goth-less, we come to a small bookshop. It’s a second hand place that sells paperbacks. There’s a few boxes of lp records. I know this isn’t a magical place that has just popped up, I’ve been here before. It’s dusty, there’s a shaft of light coming in through the door. You can almost see the words floating in the air.
I’ve rifled through the boxes of records. The stuff I’ve ignored is now very much in demand. Garish albums full of the hits of the 70s. I try not to think of David Cassidy. People decorate their lounges with them now…. ironically of course.
There’s a woman behind the counter, reading a book. She barely looks up. ‘Frank’ she says, ‘this is the guy?’ Frank nods. I smile. She puts the book down and I can see that’s her hair is grey. There’s youth in her face.
Frank waves his hand towards her. It’s clumsy, but he really doesn’t know how to do introductions. Everybody knows everybody else where he comes from.
‘This is Miss Havisham’ he says, looking at me for a sign of recognition.
‘Frank, I wish you wouldn’t call me that!’ and to me….
‘Pleased to meet you! It’s Eliza, Eliza Donnithorne.’ She holds up an album cover. ‘That’s Liza with a Z.’
Detail, shop window, Toulouse, France.