Love of the Second Hand

Arabian Night

The book was beautifully bound, in impeccable condition and filled with the love of being read and enjoyed. Modern publishing of the classic ‘Arabian Nights’ I had the audio version, or what you used to call tapes when I had been a child. My brother and I had been passed them on from our cousin and we had played them repeatedly from our flat one speaker cassette player common of the period.

My favourite story had been ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’ because my name was Ali and I thought the story was fantastic. Now there are numerous companies who produce personalised storybook for children, but in the eighties, it was something special. Arabian Nights have been reproduced by many different publishers but this copy was really something special.

My fingertips run over the arches of the front cover I can hear the low volume singing of a tune I had never heard before. I was in one of the larger charity shops at the top of Liverpool famed Smithdown Road. All the books are displayed in the window and I can’t seem to walk on by and not have a look inside. I turn to see where the singing was coming from, before me I can see a man, the vision of cool but in personality much more than appearance. However, not bad looking in saying that, ginger hair and a very contemporary matching ‘Tash’. He was shorter than me but very broad in contrast.

As I had turned around he had stopped singing:

‘No don’t stop!’

I insist,

‘Sorry, I didn’t realise I was singing out loud, I was working through the lyrics for the band’s new track.’

‘So you sing in a band then?’

I try not to sound so very impressed.

‘Yes, lead vocals, among other things, engineering work and single parent of two teenagers.’

Pausing for a second, I look at the copy of Steven Gerrard’s biography in his hand:

‘Is that for you?’

‘No its for my son, I am picking up some books for them for now, then I will start getting in some real Christmas presents later in the week.’

He continues to explain that he is trying to encourage his son to read, but always ensures he gets his daughter a book as well as she actually reads more of his books than he does in addition to her own.

I look around to suggest something good for a teenage girl, I spot a hardback called ‘Feminist don’t wear pink’,

‘This is good for teenage girls, it’s actually new out and fresh in Waterstone at to moment, I am surprised it’s second hand already.’

He picks up the book with an accomplished look on his face. As he flicks through he stops and reads aloud;

‘The first time I looked at my Vulva in the mirror………………………………………..I am not sure I am ready for this as a parent yet.’

I take the book off him and take a look inside, after reading a few headings;

‘Yes, it’s a bit too much isn’t it, is this what teenage girls are reading now?’

‘I think I’ll go for this one.’

He answers in haste with a copy of ‘I am Malala’ in his hand.

‘Good, that’s a much better choice, I’ve read that myself and it’s really good, her life in Pakistan and the build-up to her getting shot by the Taliban.’

Again, he looks enthused and smiles back at me:

‘I might read it after her myself.’

I smile back wistfully.

‘I think I best get the pink feminist book and keep in touch with the younger generation are thinking. I might only read it in small section though.’

We pay separately but leave together, stopping by the exit we smile at each other, as he leaves he utters:

‘See you again some time.’

‘Yes..’

As I walk toward Allerton, passing the Sali Army playing Christmas carols, my smile brims ear to ear and I chuckly silently to myself.

Sleet Feet

streett lamp copy

Sleet Feet in an extract from the fictional novel: Casual Nexus, currently being written by Alison Little. No characters or events depicted are based on real life.

 

Sal looks up towards the sky, daylight was only just beginning to make its way through the intensity of the waterlogged clouds. She looks up towards the street lamp, sleet is falling heavily, the cold ice of the snow combined with the raw whipping of the rain. The lamp shines from the centre, enlightening the heavy grey of the skies expanse. The sleet flickers across the illumination lashing towards the ground before it disintegrates and draws its way through the drainage systems. Sal shivers slightly, her feet were cold as her trainers were worn badly, the soles almost coming away from the main body even after being glued back together last week. Her mother had insisted on buying her new trainers for her return to college in September, because of the lack of money Sal had opted for a cheap pair and they were in tatters. She decided she would get a new pair at the weekend after she was paid off her part-time job collecting glasses. She wouldn’t be left with very much but there was a bit extra from the evenings she had covered to avoid Jack. The icy water seeps into her shoes, making its way to her toes as she shakes on the winters morning.

It is Wednesday of the week her brother Jack is home on leave from the army, Sal had been up and out before he had even got out of bed. Since his return on Sunday evening, she had managed to avoid any real contact with him. Apart from an obligatory ‘Hello’ she had either been out of the house or been able to make an excuse to go to bed early. This evening was, in fact, the only one where she was not covering a shift in the pub except Sunday, he should be going back on Monday, then she would be safe again. That afternoon Sal had stayed late in six form, there was an informal table tennis contest going on and she joined in, playing well in view of how distracted she felt. When everyone began to drift off she stayed until there were only one or two others then began to make her way slowly towards home. The darkness had returned, bringing the sleet and ice of the rain with it as the sunset. Although a fast walker Sal took her time, wandering from side to side making progress like a ship lost at sea, circling the expanse of the ocean.

Toes begin to blue as the ice from the sleet seep into the over worn trainers, Sal returns to the smell of her Mum cooking dinner. When she inquires about the location of Jack her Mother explains that he had going to stay with friends for the evening. Relief floods into Sal’s mind than through the tense muscles of her body. Later that evening she decides to boil pots for a bath, as she lies back, her small breasts covered by the bubbling foam bath she hears the rain rattling as it cuts intensely through the black of the night.

She thinks about how she will be safe tonight.

 

Riendeer versus Diesel

santa copy

The last call of the evening on my busiest evening of the year Christmas Eve, I overheard a comment about how reindeer must be soo much cheaper than diesel. Reindeer cheaper than diesel? You have to feed them and they eat loads. Harnesses have to be bought and you have to pay extra for the re-enforced ones when you have some many of the damn four-legged things. There’s re-hoofing which is bearly affordable then there are the exploitative vet’s bills. You need to provide stalls for them to sleep, a constant supply of hay is required, making sure it doesn’t get wet and there is enough to last over the winter. That’s in addition to the four-acre field which I am still paying off the mortgage on for them to graze and get exercise in the form of running around and playing silly animal chase games. Then you add in the time it takes to find them when they go missing, that Rudolf is a pain, always breaking out I think he’s getting his leg over with some girl reindeer probably thinning her antlers over on the other side of town.

Reindeer cheaper than diesel, as if!

End of the year, a year spent making toys with only the help of a number of miniature Elves. Exclusive, handmade, limited edition creations which utilise traditional manufacturing techniques. Then despite the fact I’ve travelled all around the World, over only one night, the kids aren’t interested in the toys. They want the latest Wii, hoverboard skateboards and pixel purses. It’s the North Pole, how are we supposed to churn out the latest digital technology creations on mass?

Then there the issue of everyone thinking I want to drink milk like I’m some kind of baby. I managed two brandy’s over Paris, one malt whiskey in Glasgow, then things seemed to be looking up on my first call in New York. I thought I’d been left some fancy cocktail, a long island iced tea or something, then when I went to drink it the mother snatched it from me. ‘That’s mine’ was followed by her slapping my hand like I was some kind of Street beggar.

It got worse in the Bronx, one woman was actually unconscious, the apartment stunk of the crack she had been smoking from the glass pipe which had been smashed on the floor. On waking she got me confused with some kind of oversized bat despite the fact I was dressed head to toe in Red. So not only do I have to pay taxes to support her crack habit, I am expected to provide the funds for her child as the father wasn’t there, I also am required to personally deliver presents for her offspring.

Then when I eventually get back there’s unharnessing the reindeer, feeding them, brushing them down and sorting out the stalls for them to sleep and making sure there’s something footed up again Rudolfs so he doesn’t get out. And what does my wife do while I do all this, she cooks dinner with the food I have afforded. I only got away from her whining about being menopausal a few years ago, before that she was always moaning about being pre-menstrual. Once, in the Seventies she even wanted me to pop to the shops and get some sanitary towels when I was still wearing my best Christmas Eve Santa Suit.

Next year I am cancelling Christmas, I am making no toys, there will be no more employment for blasted Elves, the Reindeer are going, the field will be sold and I am getting the latest diesel sleigh. No more milk, no more ungrateful kids and no more being expected to provide for Crack whores offspring.

Next Christmas is officially cancelled!

Pet Portrait Presents

golden for print

Delightfully hand embroidered pet portrait delivered in time for Christmas. An exciting new service offering hand embroideries renditions of your loving pet. Above we see the latest completed, a glorious long haired golden retriever, coating a joy to replicate, natural threads in golden glory.

Canines, felines, of the feathered and scaled varieties and equestrian for those of us who are better off……….stables and manor houses can be included in the background of the image. Christmas scenes can be incorporated, white fluffy things shrouded in snow, fish in tinsel lined tanks.

A unique service, from your own photographs, either provided digitally of using the snail-paced services of Royal Mail. The images are enhanced using the latest graphics software and cropped to the desired size, then printed directly onto canvas. The designs are then embroidered by hand, painstaking attention to detail is given, care in the application a primal concern.

Alison Little is one of the North-West’ most progressive textiles artists, exhibiting at leading arts venues in Liverpool and across the UK. She has her embroideries on sale directly to the public from Arts Hub on Lark Lane. Embroidery from photographs printed directly the canvas is a pioneering technique which she has evolved, unique to her practice. A is a Director and teaches embroidery for the newly formed Liverpool Independent Art School.

A £50 deal is on offer, a framed image of your prized pet:

Frame size 26x31cm

Embroidery size 14x9cm

(Approximately, some variation may be necessary)

Delivered directly to your door. Get in touch for inquiries in regards to larger sizes or specific requests.

For more detail:

little re-makes website