Friday, 15 February 2008

The Third Man

Yesterday i posted about collections, the pleasure and the pain.

For a long time i collected juggling memorabilia - postcards, cartoons, stamps, tobacco packets, games -and through this i met Karl from Berlin who taught me my first lesson about collecting, that i was not a real collector. He looked at my small fledging display and pointed to two saying; "I’ll have these".

Karl is a real collector but what makes him exceptional, aprt from his one leg, artificial heart valve, extremely heavy cigarette and coffee intake, is his open heart and love of sharing his collection with everyone.

In comparison i am a hoarder.

I received my second lesson about collecting standing outside an antique shop in Vancouver Canada.

For a long time what i had desired for my collection, other than to replace the two postcards Karl had stolen, was a statue. I reasoned logically that such a thing must exist and here in the window after years of fruitless search i had found it: a small bronze figure, art deco probably 1915/20, depicting a naked and beautiful female balancing three balls with a small plaque that simply said "la Joungleuse".

I hesitated, went in, asked the price, went out and hesitated.

The price was phenomenal, in the thousands of Canadian dollars. But it was perfect. And unbelievably i had the asking price in folded bills sitting in my pocket.

I hesitated a little longer.

So my second lesson was a repeat of the first; was i truly a collector?

Yes i considered a night time smash and grab but i settled for a photograph and went looking for bottle tops (see below).

I remember hearing something in a film once about collecting that made me laugh at the time, so this morning i racked my brain, remembered that the film was The Third man, the Orson Wells classic.

And with a bit of help from the net, the film script and patience i found it.

For me the fun of collecting has always been about the search.

"Vinkel...You've got quite a
collection of er-collection."

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