Archive for January, 2010


January 5, 2010

Elder daughter & I volunteer at one of our local charity shops, and we can’t help noticing that things have changed somewhat over the last year. Despite all the news reports to the effect that charity shops are hard-hit by the recession, we’ve been having to turn away donations; sometimes the back of the shop is too full to take any more in safely. And what we’re taking into the till has skyrocketed…

This time last year, we were lucky to take £30 on a Monday afternoon, the day we both volunteer. But yesterday we took £189, and today, when she’s also there but I’m not, another £120. Some of that may be caused by the fact that our shop has  been revamped into half-bookshop, our local secondhand bookshop having folded after refusing to have any truck with online sales. But most of the difference as far as I can see, has been in the type of shoppers; suddenly many of our customers are very well-dressed, and spend time browsing & trying things on, rather than dashing in, picking up the first item in their requested size or style and dashing out again. People are coming in in groups, clearly going round all of the charity shops in town together, laughing, chattering & encouraging each other, rather than slinking in & out, terrified the neighbours will spot them. And they’re happy to spend say £7.99 on something fashionable, vintage or classic in good condition, and often buy more than one item. I’ve just come across the word “Recessionistas” – thank you, Tringle – and that describes them perfectly.

Seems to me that this is a very positive thing. For so many years, it’s been considered very infra dig to be caught wearing or owning anything secondhand; I know at least one member of my own family feels that I’m letting society & the economy down dreadfully by not buying everything brand new, and making everything even worse by cheerily admitting it.  But clearly, whether driven by necessity or not, people are beginning to get over the “everything has to be new” idea and are starting to enjoy creative recycling again.

Come to think of it, that means I have competition!

TTW meeting this Thursday, CLaRC, 7-9 pm, everyone…


News flash…

January 2, 2010

Just a quick post to say that I have finally managed to condense & articulate my assorted New Year’s resolutions, thusly:

I have decided to opt out of the Human Race, and join in with the Human Dance!

“Race” implies something that’s competitive by definition; there’s only one winner and lots of losers, and even if I were somehow the winner, I wouldn’t want to be responsible for creating a lot of losers.  It has to be done at breakneck speed and you don’t get time to stop & admire the view, though racing can be fun in its own right. But even if you’re racing as a team, there’s usually a certain amount of jockeying for the top spot – it’s a competitive activity from start to finish.

But  dancing is nearly always a cooperative affair; it can be a slow, stately Pavanne, a lunatic but hugely-enjoyable Fandango, a jolly Strip The Willow or an elegant pas-de-deux. You can’t exactly win at dancing, either – or lose – though I’ll accept that some dances and dancers are better to watch than others. But watching isn’t what it’s all about… 

Anyone can dance, in any mood, anywhere, alone or in company, even in a wheelchair, as one disabled friend points out;  you can dance with just one eyebrow and a wicked grin. In our Western society, we tend to see it as the preserve of the young, and worry that we’ll look ridiculous if we join in, but that’s the “race” mentality taking over; in other societies dancing is for everyone, and so it should be. Dance is an attitude of mind, and so is racing – and most of the time, dancing is much more fun!