Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Time In A Bottle
We went to our first car boot sale as stall holders on Sunday; it wasn't very busy but we did OK.
We liked the man rolling a cigarette who phoned his brother to ask him if he wanted Mrs H's copy of Thin Lizzy Live & Dangerous (£3. I know, some of you would have taken it) and who came back later for the old viola; we liked the nice lady who bought a clutch of the girls' Polly Pockets for her niece and the big bloke with his wife who pumped my hand super-firmly when we agreed on a price for the wooden bathroom cabinet; we liked the whole 'anyone want a cup of tea?' ambience really.
There was a chap at the end selling old bottles, which put me in mind of this one I've had since I was about 12. I like its connection to a very specific place (a small village between Totnes and Dartmouth in Devon). I can't remember where I got it exactly - either at a school jumble sale, or maybe I dug it up, because me and my friend Brian certainly went through a phase of doing that after I got a book on collecting from the library - but it sat on bookshelves and window sills all through my teenage and student years and it's stood behind me now as I'm writing this.
After the boot sale I thought I'd try to find out about the old 'mineral water works' of Harbertonford and W.G Grills & Son, but drew a blank apart from stumbling on this site and in particular this picture, taken in 1965 - the year I was born. It could have been taken in 1865.
Some lines from the last chapter of the Eno book leapt out at me as I finished it yesterday.
Sheppard writes about trawling through old photos in Eno's personal archive...
It was difficult to reconcile the neatly side-parted schoolboy Brian, smiling by his father's side in a sunlit back garden in the middle of the last century, with the pouting, futuristic figure in gold lipstick and ziggurat-like platform boots I'd just picked from a fat folder marked matter-of-factly, '1970s'. These contrasting images seemed to speak volumes - a vivid illustration of the chalk and cheese disparity between the predictable, buttoned-up England of the 1950s and the outrageous, liberated 1970s. To have grown up in Britain during the intervening hothouse decades was to have experienced an unprecedented acceleration in social and technological transformation that is almost inconceivable to anyone born after about 1970.
Jim Croce - 'Time In A Bottle' (1973)