Springingtiger's Blog


Steampunk Around The Shops

 

GUESS

G.U.E.S.S.

Today I bought a beautiful pair of Marks and Spencer’s Trousers with turn-ups. I hadn’t intended to, but they were only two pounds. You would be right if you suspected I didn’t buy them in Marks and Spencer’s. I hadn’t known that Glasgow Cathedral has a charity shop, however as I walked down High Street there it was. One never knows what one will find in these shops, it’s always worth while to a look, sometimes there are great bargains to be had. The problem with conventional shopping is that it is boring, when someone goes into an ordinary shop they know what to expect and generally get it as long as it is in stock. In a charity shop, an antique shop or a vintage clothes shop there is always the possibility of a pleasant surprise and no two shopping expeditions are the same. British charities tend to retain their best stock for sale in the UK and so they are clean and generally of good quality, not at all like a jumble sale. I am quite addicted to these places. However surprises can be found online too.

It was my daughter really who made me realise the advantages of using Ebay for shopping. It is an exciting way to shop particularly when the item I want is in an auction, but the sense of triumph when I win a bargain is very satisfying. I have found that what works for me is to have a maximum I am prepared to pay and to never exceed it even though it means missing a purchase. The truth is that for any Ebay bargain missed another that serves the purpose will come along. The advantage Ebay has over second hand shops is that, instead of browsing in the hope of finding what one wants, on Ebay one just types in am item in the search box then sifts through the results until something presents itself at an acceptable price. I have found it pays to be careful because sometimes the sellers’ descriptions can be misleading, a lack of punctuation can allow a description to be interpreted in several ways and a plural doesn’t always indicate more than one even when an item could be expected to come as a pair. However most vendors seem to be reasonably accommodating and helpful.

On my travels I passed the ‘Treasure Bunker’ as I moved between Parnie Street and Argyle Street and found a new pith helmet four pounds cheaper than one I had been considering online. Sadly the chin strap is plastic, but it was a bargain. I had intended to buy a white one, however at that price a khaki one was perfectly acceptable. When I buy a white one I shall select a different, possibly non-military, style.

The reason I was out as far as High Street is that I was exploring possible itineraries for the Glasgow Ubiquitous E Steampunk Society ‘Walking Workshops’ when a group of us will wander together around second-hand shops to see what we can find to build into our various outfits. A major and fun part of Steampunk is re-purposing items into things for which they were never intended. Our purchases will most unlikely not escape adaptation with needle and thread or paint and glue, they will be given a Steampunked reincarnation into something rich and strange.

The first Glasgow Ubiquitous E Steampunk Society ‘Walking Workshop’ will be taking place in the West-end a week on Saturday commencing from the suitably Victorian splendour of the Kibble Palace, but I thought it a good idea to have ideas for walk number two lined up. The advantage of visiting these shops in company is that others can cast an appraising eye over one’s purchases before rash mistakes are made. And, of course, others may see potential where one may not. I hope the expeditions will encourage people to appreciate the pleasure and individuality second-hand shopping provides. If this first expedition goes well there will be others, I have already been looking at the possibilities of the East and Centre of Glasgow and possibly a day in Helensburgh which could include a visit to the Hill House. The Glasgow Ubiquitous E Steampunk Society would be delighted to hear any suggestions for places to go walking. We would also love to hear of any markets or Steampunk related events…anywhere, but especially in the UK. Give us a shout on our Facebook Page.

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