I promised Katie, As Petals Fall, some mail art at least two weeks before I was able to get round to it.Neglectful indeed.
I do have some excuses. I’m in the process of moving house, across London to Mr Moll’s flat in West London. It’s been going on for a rather long time now, the moving process, because it’s coinciding with re-doing and re-decorating the flat. As I write, a new green carpet is going down – the final stage after re-d0ing the kitchen and painting everything (including doors and window frames) white. I am mainly excited about a couple of things; the possibility of having wall space and therefore being officially allowed to buy new prints to put on walls. In fact this is unlikely, as we already probably have too many already.
Secondly, I am excited about having a window sill to grow things on. I have already bought some herbs from Colombia Road and some big green plant pots. The 99p shop round the corner has huge bags of compost for, surprisingly, 99p and lots of kits for growing tomatoes and salads and other edible plants too. I’m not sure if I’m going to be too late for starting things this year, or even if the window sill is right for growing. I have never been particularly green fingered or found the whole process very interesting. This is probably a wanting-tasty-food based sea change, but a change nevertheless; I phoned Mr Moll this morning to make sure he watered the herbs – distinctly unheard of.
So, the mail art. I sent Katie a paper rose badge, a notebook covered with vintage paper, a fairy tale character greetings card and a colouring book of people, in a decorated envelope. The decorated envelope caused the woman in the post office to check I had actually written the address on the envelope (yes thank you), but she seemed a bit sceptical it would ever arrive.
I was very excited about sending the lovely Katie the colouring book of people. I bought it from a little shop in Brooklyn, in September last year.
We had arrived in the evening, knackered from the journey but forced ourselves out to eat and wander around the neighbourhood. We ate in a little Brooklyn institution, Bamontes, just behind our hotel. It was a proper old world, 1950s Italian American restaurant with black tie waiters, large round tables and enormous pepper grinders on offer. About 6 months later, we were watching The Sopranos, only to see someone get whacked in the very same restaurant.
After dining, we went for a wander and found a shop that could have been designed for me. Desert Island has prints, fanzines, comics, doodles, t-shirts, bits of writing and a glorious paper-based window display. It was only a 5 minute walk from our hotel, and benefited from my business on a regular basis over the next 5 days. I bought many things, including a copy of Bust magazine (when will there be a UK equivalent?), a couple of prints and the little colouring book of people. I am so pleased to see it continue it’s journey, especially as mail art; there’s something similar about the feeling of excitement when you receive an exciting bit of post and when you wander into a shop that seems built for you, and feels like home. I think it’s because you know you’re about to discover something brilliant.
I couldn’t mention our trip to New York without saying that any visitor going there shouldn’t leave without kayaking on the River Hudson for free, for 20 minutes, under the shadow of the Empire State Building and visiting the Bowery Poetry Club on a slam night. Do those, eat beigels and all will be well.