Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Best Junk Shop In The World

 Junk rocks (pic: SAHIP)
I spotted this second hand shop in Zürich on Thursday night, in a back street behind the train station while on my way to meet my old football team for reunion drinks (Wacker Selnau FC - Swiss Progressive League champions, 1998 and 1999, as I'm sure you remember). It was closed, and judging by its opening times of three afternoons a week, you'll be hard pressed to find it ready for business. Even if it's open you'll find it even harder to get in, because the junk fills the entire shop, almost up to the ceiling. There's just enough room to open the door. There's no sign of a counter, let alone a till. 

I imagine the proprietor standing at the door, a weathered man in his 50s smoking a roll-up, and when someone expresses an interest in, say, the pile of LPs sticking out of the top of the heap, he dons a laconic smile and invites them to clamber inside and take a look. And then, once they've disappeared in the treasure, he calmly locks the door and doesn't return for several days. It's an ongoing artistic installation that uses slow death to mock our yearning for material steals, reflected in the turnover of surplus bric-a-brac perpetually handed down by mortals who could not take it with them to the narrow urn, or Mitteleuropa's cold, dark earth.

Junken treasures (pic: SAHIP)
I'm a hoarder myself, though my crap is much better organised, and conceals few, if any, corpses. It's mainly piles and piles of old football and music magazines, plus a few drawers of memorabilia that's meaningless to anyone besides myself. Should I depart, I imagine most of the magazines will be pulped, and the memorabilia evaluated (just in case I accidentally accrued something of worth), and then likewise pressed into trash. So I hereby state that all my band badges and postcards and football stickers and football medals and press accreditation badges, and numerous other plastic objects and figurines, be donated to the world's most genuine junk shop, somewhere in a back street of Zürich. If the owner mildly invites you in for a closer look, just throw it all on top of the pile, then run for the station. Thanks.

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