Affluent Effluence

June 14, 2010

I am an old pro at setting up antique map fairs. If that first sentence made you zone out then you’re a fool with little awareness of antique maps. Admittedly the unique combination of the three words ‘antique’, ‘map’, and ‘fair’ has an affect on the body similar to rohypnol except that saying, ‘antique map fair’ to someone isn’t traceable in their blood. The world of antique map fairs is a dark, terrifying land full of danger and sexual intrigue. I’ve done it a few times now and there isn’t a conundrum you can throw at me to do with an antique map fair that I couldn’t solve. I’m telling you kid when you’ve been in this game as long as I have there ain’t nothing that’ll phase you. I’ve seen it all. Map vendors in fist fights, tables collapsing, the destruction of thousands of pounds worth of maps by errant Fanta, Michael Palin. (Takes long drag on cigarette and swigs from hip flask). I’ve given everything to the map fair; my marriage, my time, my blood pressure, heck, sometimes I feel like I’ve given it my sanity. (Grabs rookie by the lapels and starts shaking him and spitting). Don’t let her take you kid! Selling maps is all well and good but at the end of the day all you got to show for it is a heart full of bitterness and ears full of dust! (Cries, slowly starts feeling his crotch). I can’t get it up no more kid. I ever tell you that? Not unless I’m looking at a map of Belgium in the shape of a lion. Do you know how rare that is? (Spits on the ground). I’ll show you something. (Rolls up his sleeve to reveal a long thin scar down the length of his arm). Kensington Olympia kid. 2008. I thought I knew it all. Have you ever been given a paper cut deliberately by a french guy? You know nothing. (Punches the rookie and shoots himself in the throat).

The fair happens every year and every year I neglect to prepare myself for one aspect of the weekend that consistently takes me by surprise. I put this down to a blind faith in people. A faith that like all good faiths has no foundation in the observable world around me. Each year I am flabbergasted at how rude people can be. Not just people though. Posh people. Really posh people can be cocking rude.

The maps sell for thousands of pounds each. I don’t know why. You can’t even draw on the paper. They are completely useless and their value seems to be based on a mutual illusion that everyone enters into based on its age and prettiness and political interest. One of the maps on display was worth £100,000. I stared at that ancient square of paper for a long time. I couldn’t get my head round the fact that there was this scrap of scroll, hanging on a wall, inches from my face, that was far more valuable than me as a human being. Even if I was sold as a sex slave I wouldn’t fetch that amount. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be a damned good sex slave and I’d try my hardest, but even with a good sex slave work ethic and great references I wouldn’t fetch that amount of money. It was quite the head-fuck. I was hypnotised by it and obsessed over the notion of grabbing it off the wall and ripping it in half, knowing that that action would be a thousand times more distressing to the people in the room than if I pulled out a knife and stabbed myself in the stomach in front of everyone. So, the patrons of the fair are more often than not posh people with some serious disposable income to jizz away in their dotage.

As the “help” I get to see a unique side to some of these people. Namely their massive swinging dickiness. The most banal and polite of requests can have some woman in a fedora and great chunks of amber jewellery honking uncontrollably in your face for thirty minutes like a goose doing an impression of an air raid siren. I know that sweeping generalisations tend to be a bad thing but there is definitely a correlation between the level of anger and indignation that a person will climb to and the size of the invisible fruit they seem to be holding in their mouth. Perhaps it is a sense of entitlement or maybe all the people that were rude to me were just having a bad day but, actually, at its essence, I just think it’s people who are used to having everything their own way throwing tantrums. I found it a little bit pathetic that throughout the day it was the people with the least to complain about who complained the most. People who clearly have had every opportunity in life and all the comforts a person could want, plus thousands of pounds lying around to purchase lovely but useless artefacts are the first ones to say, “Oh this is absolutely fucking ridiculous!” when you tell them to put their bag in a cloakroom.

I’d take it from the Queen. The Queen could tell me to fuck off and I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. She’s on coins. But the Mail on Sunday brigade who have won life’s lottery and still want to moan about the injustice of it all can all be launched into space as far as I’m concerned. The doors will be on a timer so that after a day of travelling they open and the vacuum of space will violently wrench thousands of wittering berks out into the void. “I demand to speak to the manager,” passing over their lips as their eyes explode in their heads. For my money, if you don’t know you’re born, you may as well be dead.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: