Tuesday, March 20, 2012

London through its charity shops #19: Muswell Hill, N10

Barngain of the day: Eduardo Paolozzi, Tate Gallery catalogue 1971, hardback with dust jacket and original 'Boot' bookmark; Cancer Research, £3.

Of all the pop artists to emerge in the 1960s, Eduardo Paolozzi (1924-2005) would probably be one of the least well-known yet his work is seen by thousands of people every day; as well as his public sculptures in London (including Newton in the British Museum and his 'Head of Invention' outside the Design Museum) and Scotland (Polozzi was an Italian born in Edinburgh), his mosaics adorned Tottenham Court Road tube station (now sadly under threat with the station upgrade). His sculptures, collages and screenprints – his three main mediums – all display a playful love of technology and machines, old-fashioned toys, advertisements, comics and magazines.

Not having a tube station has probably made Muswell Hill, N10, feel even more cut off and hence more like a village than other places with a tube station. It certainly has a posh village feel to it, with nice, independent shops reflecting this. Musicians Ray Davies, Adam Ant, Vivian Stanshall, Carl Barat and The Pretenders all come from here. As does Chewing gum artist Ben Wilson, though I couldn't see any of his work on the pavements.

There are quite a few decent charity shops. There are two Cancer Research shops; one is large and spacious with a good music selection. And, for some reason, lots of cushions. The other is smaller with decent books and bric-a-brac and nice, friendly staff. Sue Ryder is okay but half the stuff there is new, tacky stuff. There are also two Oxfams; a small and funky general one and a really nice Oxfam Books & Music opposite. Barnados is nice but pricey.

There have been Shelter charity shops springing up all over the place in the last year. They're of the opinion that charity shops should look like boutiques and not sell books or music. I don't like them at all. There's one such shop in Muswell Hill (which actually does have a few books and media – so what? I still hated it).

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