- Justin Bailey. copyright 2009
Yesterday, after having completed 4 zines for CLINIC, Sam (Bore Dubz) and I went to Brick Lane in search of a shop who would be willing to sell our zine. The day definitely started with the longest bus journey ever. Everything was everywhere. I felt like I was on the Truman Show and there was a conspiracy to annoy me with traffic and various J-walkers.
But, when we got there, I had a bangin' bagel. So I was happy again. We walked to Concrete Hermit 'cause I definitely believed I had been there on a Sunday before. The grey shutters told different. But, whatever, there must be loads more zine shops around here, we thought. Wading through the current of tourists, like salmon swimming upstream, with the homeless bears pouncing on anything even slightly alive, we found Lik + Neon.
Okay, now I'm pretty open minded; I'm not quick to judge and I've seen some weird shit in my life, but in this shop I had, by far, the STA-RANGEST experience in a long while. I assess the fluorescent colour scheme and brace myself for a zany lesbian with pink hair, who won't stop talking over me. I creep through the door and am accosted by not one, but TWO CATS. At first, I thought they were strays that had invaded the shop until the professional looking woman behind the counter picked one of them up and began conversing with it in her soft South African accent. She wore a fawn tunic and had a strawy brown mane. Pretty much the antithesis of what I expected.
I had a quick look around and then enquired about the zines she sells. I explained our pamphlet and our roles, praised her shop, asked about the other zines, and even went to the trouble of getting one of ours to show her, so I was completely baffled when she cocked her head to the left and just smiled drunkly. We stood there, forcing half-smiles in utter silence for at least 30 seonds. And this just completely freaked me out. And it wasn't even like she was just shy. Her eyes looked empty.
I eventually realised this transaction was dead still and so just sort of sidled out of her line of sight, while she continued to run around the shop after her cats. I still have all the zines. I'm going to head back to 'Hermit when I get a chance. Apart from the surreal conversation with Cat Lady, I had quite a pleasant couple of hours. Everyone and their damn dog was there, though. You couldn't even move for the pure volume of barbours and brogues. The street vendors were definitely best value for money, as most of them could not count, which meant i got a hat, a magazine and this snazzy (and pretty retarded) camera for £8.21 instead of £13. Outrageous.