Friday, September 4, 2009

Coney Island West

Back in the 80s, the best time to get cool gear like leather gloves & pyramid bracelets was Halloween. In the 80s, lots of kids dressed up like "Punk Rockers", "Metal Heads" & "Rock Stars" using those ridiculous multi-colored Ziggy Stardust mullet wigs as a base. There is something weirdly similar in the old style of novelty & magic shop & the old style of Rock & Roll street gear shop. This all meets in the pages of old Johnson Smith catalogs. Unfortunately, with the economy totally tanking & real world shops being compromised by the internet, those proper old style novelty & gear shops are few & far between. They were usually run by older men who smoked cigars & pipes, in the store. They were poorly lit. Everything looked like it had been made in the late fifties & early sixties, before the Hippies took over, even if it was new.

A big part of this line of thinking for me has to do with how people spend their time & their money. Since it has been so cheap & easy to fly to a foreign country & take a vacation there, lots of money that could be being spent in little shops in the USA is being dumped on cheap drinks & folk arts in other countries. Before jet tickets were so cheap, people took their vacations at sea-side resorts, not the kind where you just sun-tan & snorkel the whole time while 3rd worlders attend to your "needs", no, but sea-side resorts filled with freak shows, Vaudeville acts, dance-halls, candy stores, tattoo parlours, magic & novelty shops, records stores, smoke shops, book stores, bars, restaurants & most importantly: amusement parks, IN AMERICA.

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