‘Stumble down a forgotten alley in a forgotten town close to where you live and you may, just may stumble upon a most unusual place. From the outside it looks like it has been frozen in time with its quaint old square windows and occasional bullseye glass to its dusty ageing shelves showing a varied amount of unusual objects skillfully displayed with years of experience to entice you inside. Everything seems strangely familiar, almost comforting as you stand looking through the slightly blurry windows. Your thoughts return back to your childhood; holiday time, Christmas time, birthdays, days away, everything you ever treasured from your past whispers back and you find yourself starting to form a little tear in one eye.
A little cough clears your throat and pushes back the tear. ‘I’m an adult. Stop it.’ You say to yourself as you pinch yourself for being so sentimental. Even though, you still feel compelled to enter.
The door opens to a different time, it’s still a shop but it’s sights, sounds and smells are all somehow part of you. As your eyes adjust to the darkened room your wonderment increases. From the corner of your eye you spot a favourite toy, then another and another. Your heart races with excitement as you move from shelf to shelf, display to display each with a cherished object, toy or ornament from your past. How could this be? Even the smell of the shop reminds you of home, of family, your childhood bedroom, first candy floss, comforting your way around your journey of discovery.
Just then a cough from behind a small dusty counter you hadn’t even noticed draws your attention.
The flare of a long taper lights up the face of the shopkeeper as he reaches over to light a rather large and much used candle in a brass candlestick. Dressed in a dark red smoking jacket and wearing a rather amusing nightcap with a small golden tassel he fits perfectly in the gloom of the shop as if he had always been here. A kindly face peers out from underneath, not a face you see everyday, not the chiselled hard nosed type that exist in the city but more of a rounded cherub look etched with years of experience and kindness.
‘May I help you?’ Croaks the shopkeeper.
‘Err, I’m not sure.’ You reply not exactly sure why you entered in the first place.
‘Not sure of what you may find or not sure what you have lost?’ Replied the shopkeeper pulling out a long clay pipe and lighting it from the candle. A plume of coloured smoke swirls around his face as he speaks and for an instant you swear you see your younger self appear in the smoke.
Distracted you reply. ‘Lost? I’m awfully sorry, I think I’m in the wrong shop.’ You turn to the door but it is no longer there, smoke swirls around your face and you start to feel dizzy ‘The door, where is it?’
‘What door?’ Comes the reply from the gloom, the shopkeeper is nowhere to be seen.
‘Is this it?’ Says the shopkeeper suddenly appearing in front of you with a small unusual shaped snow globe.
‘No, don’t be silly, that’s not a door.’
‘Oh, but it is… Look closer!’
You look at the snow globe but see nothing apart from a small figure stood alone that looks strangely like you. It cannot be, how could it be?
‘I believe you lost this many years ago, here, take it, hold it…’ He hands you the small snowglobe, as you take it the globe starts to glow and you begin to see you are not standing alone.
The first thing you notice is a stuffed toy that comforted you, then you see a small wooden rocking horse and a red ball as more and more appear then laughter starts to fill the room and your thoughts drift into the snowglobe. With each memory a new item appears inside and your emotions become more powerful. With eyes filling up you realise that this is no accident, the shop, this globe and everything inside has been calling to you through all the years but you have never known where to look. You have found your childhood.
The shop suddenly becomes brighter, the swirling smoke lifts and through tear strewn eyes you look afresh at your surroundings. The shelves are full of snow globes, each one full of little figures surrounded by an assortment of objects, all are glowing, all are looking for their owners.’
The Little Shop Of Forgotten, (Draft of story for Revelations T.B,C)
Imagine such a shop exists, a shop that has been holding on to your childhood waiting for you to return. Once you find it again I know you will never let it go.
In 2015 I will be building such a shop, the interior will be created as a small set and a painting produced from the model including its curious little shopkeeper but that is only the start. What if the shop contained your childhood in amongst the toys, objects and ephemera of the shelves?
This year you will have a chance to reclaim your own childhood. How will that be done? Well you will have to wait and see…