"Blogging isn't journalism, it's graffiti with punctuation."

Flea Market decor

Shannon Hunter over at Women’s Post decided to write about my spoken word piece that I blogged about previously. Click on the above image to read her article and watch my video, or click here.

I’ve started to decorate my flat with things that I have collected from flea markets, car boot sales, and vintage fairs over the past few months. As I was officially homeless for 4 months, and living out of a backpack with limited space, I kept all of these goodies folded in an envelope tucked inside my iPad case. Anything that meant anything to me was tucked in there, and I kept it close to me at all times, for if the iPad was stolen, it could be replaced, but the photos and letters tucked behind it never could… and that would be a true loss to me. I would be apoplectic with misery.

In essence, these little trinkets got me through the most horrible period of my life, which I’m glad is now over. So now that I have a home again, I put them up to always remind myself how close I came to be swallowed by the snake.

Everything you see here was either purchased at the Canal Saint-Martin flea market in Paris, Pinacotheque in Paris, the Jeu de Balle flea market in Brussels, the Foam Gallery in Amsterdam, the Brick Lane flea market in London, the Southbank Vintage car boot sale (London), the Wimbledon car boot sale (London), or online from Gumtree.com.

To answer your already-brewing questions, no I don’t know any of the people in these photographs. I just liked them: their composition, their chiaroscuro, the faces of the subjects, and the fact that there are no other copies of these pictures in the world, no digital reprints. I am the only witness to these moments in time left in the world.

I also have framed the 1945 love letter that I blogged about here. It’s up on the wall, but I forgot to photograph it.

I found this online and printed it on photographic paper.

That love letter in the back, from Brussels, is written by a woman to a man, and it describes (in French) a dream she has about making love to him. I also bought all of these picture frames from flea markets.

Now these people I DO know. In the back is my Jiddo (that’s Arabic for Grandfather) in his WWII army uniform. And the two pictures on either side are of Jiddo and Sitto (Arabic for Grandmother) on their porch on Rue Berri in Montreal, circa 1948. See? Not all Arabs are terrorists. Some of them just like to make-out on their front porches.

I think my favourite photographic find of all of these is the one on the far-left. I found her at the Jeu de Balle flea market in Brussels, and on the back, it just says the date: August 18, 1922….Ninety-one years old. She is one dapper lady too, just chillin’ on a beach head. Swagger.

If you look closely at one of these photographs, you’ll see me.

Once again, my lovely typewriter! The quote I typed here is from Hemingway, it says, “There is nothing to writing, all you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

I typed these quotes too. The top is Bukowski, the bottom is Alexandre Dumas.

I typed this on an envelope. It’s another Bukowski.

I love sleeping here, under the watchful eye and soothing words of those who came before me.

2 responses

  1. Pingback: My latest VICE essay: Germany’s flea markets have a dirty little secret | The Spadina Monologues

  2. Pingback: Translating the Abandoned German Letters from 1946 | The Spadina Monologues

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