Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Shopping Day in London Town

Yesterday I stood in front of Selfridge's on Oxford street and looked up at the absurdly ornate 1909 facade, the pinnacle of Imperialism and Empire made manifest through -- a department store! The entryway continues this theme where a life-size bronze Nouveau statue of a 30-foot giantess greets you with hauteur.

I was able to find a replacement for my extra-large all-bristle handled Mason Pearson hairbrush on the fourth floor (in the Mason-Pearson brush display). The elderly sales clerk was very kindly and concerned that I know just how much this cost in dollars, and I assured him I did and that I had made a special trip just for this purchase. I walked off with the best hairbrush ever in my messenger bag and I was a happy man.

I went to look at the shoes, of which there were many manufactured by prestigious designers. I tell you, if I were the sort of person who was able to spend five or six hundred dollars per pair on my shoes I would be a very happy man. I would also own several styles of dress shoes and boots in purple and green suede, so perhaps it is for the best that I am restrained from those impulses. I went to look at shoes (at Selfridge's and at John Lewis and at some smaller emporiums) because the sales clerk at the store in Minneapolis where I used to buy my Havana Joes (no longer distributed in the US) suggested they might still be available in England. Alas, this notion was chimerical.

After lunch at the Fish! restaurant at the Borough market beneath the London Bridge (I really got around) I went to Sloane Square so I could walk down King's Road to Tabio, my favorite sock store in the world. But first I stopped at Peter Jones, where on a previous trip I had found fancy dress socks in the colors of my Morris team (vivid yellow with thin green accent stripes). This time I found gloves, having noted at Selfridge's that the men's gloves here are thinner and more flexible than those I find in the US -- like gentlemen's gloves in the age of livery. But at Selfridge's the gloves, like all things, require a second mortgage. At Peter Jones the gloves were the cost of gloves (as opposed to the cost of a plane ticket). But here's the fancy part: I found white cotton mens dress gloves! I told the cashier that it's very difficult to find these in the US. He said that it's pretty difficult in England as well. They were remarkably inexpensive. Later my friend Chris asked me what I would wear them for and I realized that the answer is I have absolutely no idea.

Then I restocked on Japanese socks at Tabio, purchasing enough socks to last me until my next trip to London I hope.

I ended the afternoon with a walk up Charing Cross Road, where the scores of used bookstores of legend have been so greatly reduced in number that there remain only three or four. But these -- plus the regular bookstores -- kept me occupied for a couple of hours. I came close to purchasing only one book (a 1930s anthology of whimsical writings called something like "the nonsibus"), but any book I purchase will likely need to be carried in my luggage so that keeps me from acquiring much. Sometimes.

Since I am spending no weekends here there will be no flea markets this time, but that just means I'll have to come back soon. Maybe next month.
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