As I sit at the Olympia Art & Antiques fair, it strikes me how many people recognise and connect with our country. Even if they visited ten years ago the memories and connection they have with us prompts them to come over and say hello.
Arriving at Heathrow on a cloudy Monday morning I am feeling at home. The weatherman has promised summer will arrive tomorrow at 10:30 but I am here to work and so hit the ground running. Today I need to ensure my shippers deliver on time and I reach for the phone to chase them up. Hang on; we are now in London, the first world, where things run smoothly. Yes no African time here, people deliver when they promise to. This just takes a bit of getting used to. Having said that I realise I really enjoy phoning said shippers, especially talking to the super sounding voice at the reception. That accent so English, friendly and exuding sophistication and it is well – sexy.
Anyway, more of sex later – no really, at the Olympia Art & Antiques fair that runs from 6 to 16 June at the Olympia exhibition centre, Geoffrey Breeze an English dealer who sells walking sticks and canes gave a talk on ‘The Walking Stick: Sex, Violence and Money. I learnt that you don’t use a stick or cane you “wear it” After the talk there were quite a few people walking around with super looking sticks and one chap stopped and showed me his walking stick that held a three foot sharp pointed sword. Talk about English traditional weapons. Next year I am definitely going to bring my collection of Zulu ‘knobkieries’. I am sure I will sell one to an Englishman wanting to visit South Africa and I can just picture him striding through the streets of Cape Town fending off the ‘bergies’.
On the antique scene in London, this week sees the opening of Art Antiques London that runs from the 13-19 June. This fair is held in a purpose-built marquee opposite the Royal Albert Hall and overlaps nicely with the Olympia fair, giving visitors the opportunity to take in two well-presented events.
Right now we are four days into our fair and not only having paid the rent, I am now sending home profit at sixteen to one. It is great to see the dreaded overdraft diminish but having to pay R60 for a beer in my local still takes a bit of getting used to. As I sit at the fair writing this, it strikes me how many people recognise and connect with our country. Even if they visited ten years ago the memories and connection they have with us prompts them to come over and say hello.
As Africans we leave a lasting impression on the world and that, just like the antiques I sell, is unique.