I must say I enjoy going to places where a particular culture and language is observable, it brings out the amateur anthropologist in me. So it was fun earwigging on the conversations going on around me. There were many references to the 'topo's' and many boxes of 'glamour' cards for the discerning gentleman. One man came up to a stall while I was browsing and asked the stallholder whether he had 'anything nice' for him. I was riveted at once. The stallholder said, 'No, sorry mate, nothing nice today,' and then he said, 'Oh, but isn't it you who's interested in Warhol? Something's just come in that you might like'. Woo! I got even more vicariously excited then, if such a thing is existentially possible. The man bent down and hunted through a box on the floor. When he stood up he was holding a contemporary reproduction of a Warhol Marilyn, such as I own several of myself. I couldn't believe such a thing could possibly be considered 'nice' and, indeed, the chap was visibly disappointed and said, 'Oh, no thanks, I think I've already got that one'.
And exhausting -- what with the strange smells coming from some of the customers (I'm not kidding), and the strain of staring down into the boxes for a couple of hours and the nervewracking etiquette that had to be observed. Seriously. It was like the Big-Enders and Little-Enders from Gulliver's Travels: some dealers stack their cards in front of the subject markers and some dealers stack their cards behind the markers. It was obviously very very important to observe this difference and never to replace cards you'd been looking at behind the markers of a Front-stacker or in front of the markers of a Behinder. Stern notices everywhere exhorted you to 'Put cards BEHIND markers' and so on.
|couple of the cards I found|
And when I got outside, a huge wall of scaffolding had just collapsed onto a very posh Audi car right opposite the hotel and there was a lot of excitement and fire engines and so on (no one hurt, though), so obviously the earth had just moved ... or something.