||[Jan. 15th, 2019|08:56 am]
Roberts Rummage is my favourite shop in all the world. It's the size of a small front room and it sells what I take to be the smaller items from wholesale house clearances- no furniture- just stuff- like books, tableware, pictures and toys. So, it's a junk shop- but whoever chooses the stock (Robert presumably) exercises a measure of discrimination; the books are interesting books, the pictures are mostly 19th century prints (which I love) and the toys are collectibles. I rarely come out empty handed.|
Yesterday I bought a die-cast model of a Doncaster tram and a copy of Isak Dinensen's Seven Gothic Tales. I hadn't known I wanted to read Dinensen but when a book beacons to you from a shelf you know you have to respond. It's a reprint of the first edition from 1948. The title page says there's a frontispiece by Rex Whistler but there isn't- and can't ever have been because the publisher has pasted a neat little square of paper over the claim- and the square has a sweet design of a fountain with a heron flying past- probably not by Rex Whistler. Why no Whistler? Could it be something to do with potwar austerity?
I started reading Dinensen last night and I'm enthralled. Dreamlike, weird, gender fluid- all that good stuff. Orson Welles wanted to make a series of films from Dinensen's stories and though the full project (like most of his projects) fell through he did get to complete a short, one-off TV movie called The Immortal Story, starring Welles himself, Jeanne Moreau and Anthony Perkins. It's a very strange little film- disconcertingly strange- and I see now that the strangeness comes from Dinensen.
I think the chap who served me was Robert himself. Tall, stooped, elderly, shy, kindly. And if he wasn't Robert he should have been because he exactly fitted the shop. Another customer asked him if he had such a thing as a diving helmet and he said 'Fraid not, because they're worth thousands of pounds. He told me an anecdote about how he'd tried to sell the Dinensen to another customer who writes short stories but the customer already had a copy. My two items together came to £3.90- and he rounded it down to £3.50.
PS. I might have known. There's stuff about Roberts Rummage on the Internet- including this short film. Robert is Robert Mucci- and he is the man who served me. He buys stuff at auctions and house clearances- but only stuff that interests him. The shop looks brighter and tidier in the film that it does IRL.
Rex Whistler was killed in action in 1944. There's so much he left unfinished... Seeing his mural in Plas Newydd for the first time, this actually made me cry.
Roberts Rummage sounds like a real treasure trove.
My guess is the first edition of 1934 carried a Whistler frontispiece which was cut from later reprints.
Like you I love his work.
What a delightful place! And not just the postcards but the entire shop is a social history spot. Robert really does fit hus business and I could probably spend hours there.
2019-01-15 08:46 pm (UTC)
Are you a postcard person? I are. I was scouting pix of the place and was drawn most to this one:
Want to look through that box!
Also now I want to see that Welles/Dinensen film.
I love old postcards and even more than the pictures, I love seeing what was written on them so long ago.
I watched a documentary about Orson Welles recently and came away with a really changed opinion of him. I suppose being thought a genius at a very young age did something to his ego. I will have to look for that book. I've read one book by Dienensen, her stuff is hard to find in the local library.
Roberts sounds like just the right kind of place. I'd bet I could get lost in there for weeks.
Edited at 2019-01-15 02:43 pm (UTC)
Welles was a genius- and like many geniuses didn't always behave in an exemplary manner. He was always an arrogant sonofabitch. As a teenager he blagged his way into the prestigious Abbey Theatre company in Dublin, telling them he was a star back home when he hadn't actually had any professional stage experience. I love the movies. All of them.
All the ones I've seen, for sure. Including his turn as Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre.
Personally, I think shops like that should NOT be bright and tidy.
2019-01-15 08:46 pm (UTC)
That sounds like my kind of shop! I am so fond of rummaging that I have recurring dreams about going to a market or car boot sale and finding treasures (or sometimes finding literal treasure on the ground/in the sand). I'm always very disappointed when I wake up.
I haven't found a treasure yet, but I've found bargains.
It's occurred to me a few times that I'd probably enjoy owning a metal detector...
They're not expensive. We've found lots of rusty old junk with ours. Visiting kids love it.
It's more having to transport it and store it...but tempted, yes!
Oh yes, ,my kind of shop and the type i love to rummage around. I am intrigued and want ot check it out. Thanks.
There are a lot of great little shops in Hastings old town but Roberts Rummage is the most fantabulous.
Ooh what a great word - fantabulous.
2019-01-15 08:48 pm (UTC)
BTW, do you know Babette's Feast?
I don't. But I should probably seek it out....