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Susie Shircliff, 26 Feb '13

Nostalgia is a seductive liar-- George Ball.

There is something about a vintage store. The way the items transport you back into the past and into this odd limbo-like present where decades and culture clash and mingle. Where Polaroid instant cameras from the 80’s meet gingham dresses from the 60s. Record players now welcome cassette tapes with their ironic dead technology limping through the door. Only for the cassettes to make way for the cds.

The scent of the past is there masked by a mothball scent; some great aunts attempt to fend off the present from attacking her past treasures. My favorite thing is the way it all feels. Everything has a worn feeling. The detritus of the past still clinging to the fabrics. I like finding the monogrammed sweaters, something someone loved so much they had to brand it. The best is the sharpie-inked collars with first names covering the brand names. It’s a beautiful personal discovery giving the garment a history and a personality just with the way the person dotted the ‘i’ or crossed their ‘t’. They loved the garment so much that they had to make sure it got back to them. So what made it end up here?

What brings things to the vintage shop? Is it a closet clean out? Where it falls out of fashion but not out of their heart because of the memory attached to it. Maybe it was the sweater that you wore during your first kiss. Maybe it was the first piece of clothing you bought yourself. Maybe it was a gift from someone who you’ve lost and this is the only thing you have to cling to. Whatever it is, it eventually ended up stowed, frozen in time, just waiting as the decades pass by, only for it to be discovered after you’ve moved on, the memory faded with the fabric and you let it go. And here it is on the rack still smelling like your mother’s perfume spilled on the bottom of the hope chest you stowed it in.

Whatever it is that brings the item to the vintage store is not the thing that seduces you inside to look around. It is the voyeurism to see someone else’s memories on display and up for sale. They are memories you can have and you can take home. They are items with histories and stories that not only transport you to the past, but serve as a link between, letting you forever linger in that nostalgic limbo.

Comments · 5

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  • Susie Shircliff said...

    I recorded audio for this, but ended up using it for a short impromptu film- are we allowed to post it? @Anthony Blackshaw

    • Posted 7 years ago
  • Anthony Blackshaw said...

    Hi Susie, if you have permission to use the audio then you are free to post it on Burrst. We don't require work to be exclusive, only that you own it, or have the right to post it :) Hope that helps.

    • Posted 7 years ago
  • Orlando Ramos said...

    Heya Susie,

    Nice writing here, it flowed very nicely, and I don't think I'll be able to look at vintage shops the same anymore. Haha your style of writing is very nice, almost as if you were speaking to us, which sorta makes sense since you say you used it for a short film. Good job :)

    • Posted 7 years ago
  • Susie Shircliff said...

    https://vimeo.com/60520201

    That's the link to the film. It was an experiment in using my new lensbaby system.

    • Posted 7 years ago
  • Susie Shircliff said...

    Oops and the password is burrst

    It's still a rough cut

    • Posted 7 years ago