It has taken me a week to gear up to this post. I found the happiest place on earth and no, it's not in Florida nor at the corner of Manning Rd and Eastern Ave (what up, Fisher Library!)- it's actually on Smith St in Fitzroy, Melbourne.
It's Lost and Found Market, a massive vintage and retro wares emporium bursting with bakelite bangles and fur stoles and velvet paintings and keyboard ties and old records and porcelain figurines of shepherdesses.
My advice is go without anywhere to be afterwards because you will be their captive for hours whether you like it or not. I don't really know how to summarise, or where to start, so I'm just going to plunge in and show you some of the treasures I encountered in my pilgrimmage to the cash register.
As with any retro store there were a number of suspect relics from times past where different attitudes towards 'foreign' cultures were socially accepted and expressed... like what I found in Politically Incorrect Corner.
Do people still buy 'golliwogs'? And if so, what the heck do they do with them once they own them? 'Thanks for coming over! Hey, while you're here, come feel uncomfortable in front of my collection of awkward dolls. How great are they? Sooo great!"
I was also pleased to find Jesus Corner.
Check out those Jesuses on the crucifixes- who knew he was so ripped? Son of God by day, bodybuilder by night.
I found a second Jesus Corner towards the front of the store. I imagine that the two had to be separated because their combined power would be too overwhelming. Surely it would create some kind of inescapable, sucking vortex of haloes and sad eyes and crowns of thorns? Wise move, Lost and Found Market. *
I also didn't notice that the same painting is there twice until after I took the photo. I hope whoever buys them buys both and hangs them side-by-side just to confuse people.
He has a beard!
And talking of exotic and marvellous discoveries-
did you know that Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson did a duet?!?!?!
I've never heard the song but judging by that jacket photo, it was some kind of highland jig appropriate for wedding recessionals. Paul looks more committed than MJ though, who looks kinda gritty-teethed. He's all 'play it cool, McCartney' and Paul's all 'hey-diddly-ho! A-jigging I will go!'
Here are some pictures of suitcases to peruse whilst you absorb that mind-blowing discovery:
Sorry what? Is that me? How did I get in there? Sorry!
So this little guy was asking 'how much can a koala bear?' (GEDDIT? Although... you know... I would be reneging on both my Australianness and my know-it-allness if I let this educational opportunity escape. You know koalas aren't actually bears, don't you? They're arboreous herbivorous marsupials. Who just learnt something new? High five!)
I don't even know what to say about this.
It's the kind of store where your rationality temporarily abandons you. Where you find yourself looking at a gold jelly mould in the shape of a pineapple thinking 'why don't I own one of these yet?'
You know what I mean?
I actually do need this sign in my life, with or without a 'Big Al' to go with it.
I feel like if I owned this it would set a new standard in my life, like I'd have to eat shrimp all the time and drink mocktails out of coconuts just to live up to it.
And yet I'm so ok with that.
And yet I'm so ok with that.
So I walked away full of admiration, with hundreds of photographs and a little vintage fur cape that is silk-lined and a perfect fit. Here is a blurry photo of me in it taken that night.
And to all the Melbourne strangers who paused on the footpath so as not to intrude on the photo- thank you for your thoughtfulness and also for not laughing. Much appreciated.
(Topshop top, op-shopped necklace, DIY'ed Supre skirt, Gorman socks, Gianfranco Ferre wedges,vintage fur cape (obvz.) )
*= Going to wave my Christian flag briefly here by stating that these sad, handsome, ripped-abs Jesuses and these pretty, cherubic baby Jesuses are (to me) worlds away from the living, breathing man who lived/who still lives. So I feel I can pay them out without compunction and also without blasphemy. So... uh... ok great.