Ellen tells me that soju is actually a Japanese drink. How she knows this is beyond me- she is 17 going on old soul. Anyway last week I passed a poster in a window telling me of the work of Soju shots in an upstairs room on Rathbone St. The picture immediately grabbed by imagination- it reminded me of the Henkies and I knew that Ellen and Emily would love to see the pictures, but the staircase looked a little uninviting and I was a little too scared to tackle it on my own. Instead I took a snapshot of the poster to remind myself that next time we were all in town together we might tackle the staircase. That day was Friday, my last day of freedom before returning to work on Monday, we had lunch together at Mokaba and then walked around town. Ellen and I both spotted the poster simultaneously and we instinctively knew it was time to investigate further.
The journey upstairs was reminiscent of ascending into some long forgotten flat that no-one really owned and the smell of fried food from somewhere nearby was overpowering but we continued on our journey, up the stairs along the uninviting corridor and then there it was, like the old curiosity shop of my dreams. I had anticipated a little wisened old lady standing at a till saying “yes dear” through dislodged spectacles and a few pictures to adorn the walls, but what I was met with was a far greater treasure trove. The images were fabulous, creative, imaginative, each touched with some kind of kindness and magic, even the monsters were friendly and inviting. There were tote bags, Christmas cards, mugs, cushions, and of course pictures and prints in frames. The back part of the shop was a workspace and there sat in the window was the artist himself and he was absorbed in what I assume is a new piece. He was as magical and enigmatic as his work. It was a very heart-warming experience.
We could have bought the whole shop, we loved it all, the images, their stories, the magic. We had walked into a cavern of childhood stories and memories. There they all were Hansel and Gretel, the kittens who lost their mittens the three little piggies, a huffin and a puffin and some wonderful creative ventures through new and old dreams- fears mingling with plays on words of wisdom. I purchased a few cards and Ellen a couple of Mugs. We were limited in our purchases by what we had in our wallets at the time, but we will go back. If you are looking for something a little different for a loved one this Christmas to make it special it is well worth a visit. I suspect therein is just a small sprinkling of fairydust. Peace be with you.
Henkies- trolls/goblins who danced with a limp.