Posted: April 13, 2012 by Harry Moonbeam in Early days yet...
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We came across some reminders today. I hadn’t seen stuff like this for years, fascinating it was, although the Boi weren’t too interested. I says to him: “Why ain’t you interested, what’s the matter with you?” He just looked at me like I was from Mars, the planet, not the chocolate bar – although that would’ve impressed him more.

Just goes to show, one man’s treasure is another man’s tat – neither one can appreciate the other’s viewpoint. The Boi just thinks I’m a sentimental old git.

What was it like in the good old days?
There weren’t too many of us doing this sort of thing, I started the business from the back of a van when ideas were cheap, I knew my stock was tat –  all style over substance but I was genuine and I made a real go of it. It was the 80s, a time of excess: people were changing their minds on just about everything around then – boom time, I did well. Then the less scrupulous caught on.

Suddenly it was a free-for-all, the market weren’t regulated – we didn’t want it to be, we had a code of conduct already but the cowboys don’t take notice of the rules. You could easily tell a bad operator because they were the ones selling dreams, an easy market, people are more likely to part with their cash in pursuit of a dream than affording the luxury of a golden memory or the challenge of a new idea. Shame.

Well, the dreams didn’t work did they. Course they wouldn’t. Gave everyone a bad name and dragged the market right down. To be honest we’re still paying the price now.

Are there guidelines in place today?
This business is so tightly regulated even a fart couldn’t get through. But having rules won’t stop the cowboys – the law only affects the law-abiding, not these whizz kids you see in their white vans, hard sell too – lots of shouting. The other day some bloke pulls up and tries to offer me some advice out of his van window. I weren’t having any of it. I flew straight back with a bit of received wisdom I was carrying. You should have seen his face – but then he just threatened to punch my lights out.

Can we learn anything from the past?
Well what do you think? You can only learn from experience.

Does anyone listen to you?
Cheeky sod of a question. Look, I never trained as a teacher and if I had’ve done, I would’ve been a teacher. I’m just trying to instill a few tricks of the trade, handing down knowledge. You don’t have to listen but I ain’t going to stop talking.

What’s the difference between the past and today?
About fifty years. There is no difference, it’s just perception. But people are definitely cheekier today, some bloke came in today, nicked some stuff from right under our noses that wouldn’t’ve happened in my day but I said to the Boi: “It’s alright son, we don’t need reminders.”


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