Now it’s toys. I’m learning about toys. While the blacklight torch and the special polish arrive in the post I’ve turned my curiosity, the internet and my Worthpoint subscription to Uncle Peter’s fucked collection of Corgi and Dinky toys from the sixties. Playtime with Peter appears to have involved a vice and a crowbar judging by the state of some of them. I’d be surprised if I picked up much value here, but it’s something to do when I’m not doing all the other things.
I also found – with the help of Max – some potentially very useful pieces of paper. It’s yet another plate to start spinning, and I’m up for it.
Up until recently, the bulk of the things I’ve been sifting through haven’t had any personal connection to me so it was easy. Now I’m handling the childhood toys of my poor departed uncle. It’s sobering – quite literally when you contemplate the means by which he made his exit.
You wear many hats as an actor. My antique dealer hat is getting more and more comfortable. I’m not yet at the level where I can walk into a room full of stuff and go “that one,” I still can’t identify bakelite as I’ve never knowingly handled it. I’m as useless as ever at furniture. But piece by piece my understanding of the different markets is growing. I think it’s the hunger to learn. If I’m playing an astronaut, I’ll geek for weeks about astronaut things. I love researching characters and background and making it live. But the hand of Covid on my industry has shifted my practice into one of the only potentially lucrative roles that were available to me – picker through boxes of random stuff.
This Sunday I’ll list a load of Halcyon Days eggy box type things and whatever I can salvage from this mangled pile of 1960’s metal vehicles that are currently on the bed in Hampstead. Then I’ll go home and make more space in the flat so I can rent it to anybody that wants to come live in central London right now when the world is teetering.
With unnervingly bad timing, service charge has gone up. Now I’m paying the equivalent of a healthy rent payment monthly in service and council tax just to stand still before bills – and with theatre in the bin, it’s completely untenable.
But it’s my birthday soon, and beforehand I get to pick through all these lovely strange goodies. And we keep finding nice little things that neither of us remember. And the only time I’ll ever regret this is when I move into a huge house in the country and realise I haven’t got enough stuff for the space. But when that time comes I know enough now that I can just nip to the auction houses and snap up a few lovely pieces and bish bash bosh.
I even put up a chandelier today. Cor blimey.