Bits 'n' Bobs


Jul 4th, 2011




NICE things. Nice mugs. Lovely bowls. Nice mugs. Pleasant bags. Charming books and posters of the alphabet. Nice wavey [sic] hairstyles. Nice happy chaps talking about interior design. Bunting. Interesting pets, i.e cat on a lead, very nice wine. It tastes like Peaches.


When I was given my assignment to write about the Darkroom street party, I really didn’t know what to expect. I suppose I imagined a sort of avant-garde art fair or a risqué royal street party. Whilst it did in some way sort of resemble the latter, I really wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of pleasantries that I did in fact find. While trying to come across as genteel as possible and disguise the fact that I had arrived on my own, I made the above notes: ‘Instead of Doritos they are serving radishes’.


Now, I’d hate to come across as conceited. I don’t want to seem ungrateful, and this all sounds a bit classist, which is not the intention at all. Because you see, it was great, really nice. However, there did seem to be an underlying tension, a clandestine feeling. An undercurrent I picked up. Deep below the surface, the facade of the situation disguised something. It seemed to me, as I was sipping my nice peachy wine, watching old dogs sniffing dropped radishes that at any given moment, that without any warning, a vicious game of Polo was about to break out. The tension was tangible.


No, no. I’m only joking. Honestly, sorry, no offense to anybody to who plays Polo. I’m back on track now. I’m composed. So, it turned out after a little while that I’d walked to the wrong area of the street, as the shop that I was really here to review, Darkroom, was around the corner. It was here that my notes became a little more buoyant, a little more peachy white wine fueled and carefree.


Darkroom is a concept store on London’s Lamb’s Conduit Street that offers an eclectic mix of high-end fashion, interior and lifestyle accessories. According to my notes, the shop had ‘Fantastic vision…sort of like a mixture of the John Soane museum, Wolf and Badger and an Aztec tomb.’ All the pieces are sourced from different designers, but manage to come together into a perfectly formed ancient civilization. You’d almost think that they’d just dug it all up out of a tomb in deepest Mexico. Wolf and Badger are, if you’re not aware, another relatively new boutique with a similar ethos where the impractical becomes chic, such as rings which sit on all your fingers, deeming any sort of dexterity impossible. (Or at least I imagine so, I’ve never worn them).


Now this is all, of course, coming from my rather male and pragmatic viewpoint. That said, the last time I had a disposable income I bought a blue velvet Lanvin bow tie. I have no idea why, and I don’t regret it for a second. Come to think of it, I should have worn it to the street party…isn’t hindsight a fine thing? Bearing this in mind, it was ironic that it was at this point that my advice was called upon.


I’ve got fifty quid,’ piped a nearby woman between mouthfuls of wine, ‘what shall I buy?’ Well, that was an easy question to answer. I immediately pointed to what is probably a big seller; their framed insect taxidermy. ‘How about a Stick insect? Or there’s a Leaf insect here?’ I held up both articles and proffered them. Suffice to say my new friend didn’t stick around too much longer. In my defense £50 would be hard to spend in Darkroom, because either you’ve got to commit to it and spend £150 on a tote bag, or make do with the fact that you’re there for the wine.


As I walked away from the joyous scene on the street, where a band of accordion wielding Tony Soprano lookalikes had begun to liven up the crowd, I noticed another shop with faux vintage French furniture. ‘Fresh bread, cheese and wine in the back chaps!’



Noble Isle
87a Lower Marsh pop up exhibition