Saturday 10 November 2007 5.00pm
I have never walked the stretch of the OKR between Asda
and Tesco before, until today, when I stumbled on this gem of a charity shop. It is a big shop, more in the style of Thrift Stores in the US than your normal high street charity shop. Even the goods seem more like the tchotchkes you get in American stores: old but still good kitchenware, piles of strange old Hungarian magazines from the 70s, random old but new goods in cool 60s packaging like polyester thermal t-shirts, pop socks, lipsticks and a Chinese "Pecking Cocks" toy, which I am buying for my smuttier friends for Christmas.
The project and the shop are run by the formidable Alexander Gravenstein, whose name I have just discovered from the leaflet he gave me today, and from the Brick By Brick website, and he is a great SE1 character. He really is a lost Little Britain character, with his long plait and Rrrrrrussian accent, and his habit of telling you off for even glancing at goods that don't concern you: "It's too big" he yelled at a fellow shopper who was trying on a leather coat. And I got told off for leaving the hangers askew as I browsed, and for peering down the women's aisle.
The charity works to provide housing for homeless people and seems like a fantastic organisation. Certainly, the shop is a real find for connoisseurs of charity shops -- and eccentric people.
I came out with a Ben Sherman shirt, some thermal gloves and Piers Morgan's scurrilous diaries.