Not just a vintage fair full of flouncy dresses and zoot suits, the Ally Pally Vintage and Antiques Fair is a must for any one into any era, style, fashion and lifestyle.
Reasonably priced stalls (and jolly friendly stall holders) cover one part of the giant Palace (around 300 stalls) which includes cafe selling breakfasts and lunch. Plenty of space to mooch around the stalls allowing you to seek out dark Victoriana for your wardrobe and your home.
Open to the public in 1875, this beautiful Victorian building has been the home to international events, live performances and BBC broadcasting (including much-loved light entertainment in its heyday.) Even if you don’t find anything working taking home with you this weekend (which I doubt,) just hanging out at this extraordinary example of Victorian architecture is worth doing in itself.
Years ago, I would hang out regularly at this event whilst at The Vintage Eye Magazine, and despite entering the place with a firm grip on my purse, I never left the day without a few purchases. It’s hard not to find something worth dipping in your wallet for. One thing I do like about this event is that it’s friendly. There’s a nice, relaxed feel about it and even during the heat of the Summer, it never gets too busy in there. Nothing worse than trying to squeeze past crowds knee-deep at each stall.
Details are below: The best way to get there, if you can is by car. There is on site parking as all as an overflow car park within walking distance. By train is a pain (no poetry intended there) as the only way to get there is via Alexandra Palace overground then you have the long walk up the hill to get to the Pally. Buses, on the other hand are frequent and stop just outside the venue.
Hope to see you there!
Love and Absinthe
Voted Best London Vintage Fair (an event not to be missed!)
What to read next…
We do Valentine’s Day.
Oh yes we do.
Ok, so my idea of the dreaded day might be quoting from Percy Shelley over a blood stained handkerchief whilst pouring over a badly lit church candle, but I have to admit, that might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
The problem with being a Goth is that most normalies don’t think you want to be into all that love, romance and skipping (well, the skipping bit I haven’t done since I was 12.) We do still feel things. We just might feel that Fields of Nephilim might put it better than Justin Bieber, that’s all.
But what about dating a non-Goth if you’re a Goth? In the past, I think I have scared more people off than had them running towards me with arms out stretched. I guess they don’t get the haunting Emily Bronte make up and the wild Mr Rochester hair (and yes, I always think that, that look is more appealing than the crinoline.) Romance when you’re a Goth can be challenging. If it happens at all. Most of the time, it’s a bit scary and not just for the other party….
It is often I spend my Valentine’s Days with some Absinthe and songs on the turn table that start with ‘25 whores in the room next door...’ It’s not wonder much of my Goth years have been spent … well, in the company of a book of Dickens Ghost Stories.
The one thing I have learned is that no one is ever worth lusting after if they don’t love you for everything you are. If they are scared off by the black, then so what? What you mustn’t ever do is go through the pretence of being someone you’re not just to get their attention. In fact, I have found that the more I have been upfront about dressing like Jane Eyre, the better the results have been.
Find someone this Valentine’s Day who adores you for your wistful looks and flowing darkness. Who thinks of nothing better than to sit with you in dimly lit room and listen to your Bauhaus records.
More importantly friends, don’t despair if you’re alone this evening. Find a comfy chair and if you haven’t got a back catalogue of Most Haunted to catch up on, pour a cup of your favourite black tea and while away the evening with some Chopin and Keats – much better than being with the wrong person!
Best music for drinking Jasmine tea to:
Love and Absinthe
I’m sorry Andrew et al – you’re a Goth band 😉
When I first stepped into Goth way back in 1985, I hadn’t considered the impact it would have on my life. (This picture was taken about 4 years ago and I have to admit, not my best!) Looking back, for me, it has been on a way of dressing but a state of mind – a lifestyle that means you can still be Goth even when you’re in pink fluffy PJ’s and watching EastEnders… sometimes…
Since being a 15 year old Goth thing decades ago, I have ditched the black (several times) added in some screamingly awful pastel shades a la Haircut 100 (eeeek!) Moved into vintage, rockabilly, vintage again, back into Goth, went steampunk for a couple of (very lost) years but decided that brown could stay where the heck it was and black soon made a triumphant return.
Thank the darkness for that!
Now as an elder Goth (I only found this term this year and like it) I’ve started to delve deeper into the roots of my beloved sub culture to figure out what it’s all about. What it means to me at least, and hopefully, to a lot of other Goths too.
Back in the day, I stuck steadfast to The Cure and Sisters of Mercy without actually knowing why (my guilty pleasure was Rick Astley at the time) and only layers of black fish nets, ribbed tube skirts and patent brogues rather than running over the moors shouting Heathcliff which is probably where I’m at now. Then, I thought I needed to do was hang around Carnaby Street and pout a lot on street corners. I certainly didn’t know what I was aiming for/rebelling against/delete as appropriate. To me, I looked cool in black, but that soon changed…
I had always hated novels and thanks to my educational years, I was put off Dickens for much of my adult life, yet now I can been seen, with booted leg hanging over the side of a winged back chair in an average coaching Inn indulging in Great Expectations and the like. For me, nothing is as Goth as social decline, poverty and Victorian workhouses. Now I have become obsessive about literature. From Mary Shelley to Wilkie Collins and HG Wells, I feast my eyes and mind on billowing shirts, riding boots, anguish and oversized castles. Now, this is the Goth I spent years painstakingly trying to define!
There aren’t a great many of us around, I have come to notice. I look longingly across the aisles of my local Asda in the hope I might catch a glimpse of a ruffled shirt or frock coat, but I never do. I agonisingly scan the Facebook pages for Victorian groups for like-minded souls, but so far, I have found few.
When I’ve not parading the supermarket aisles, I can often be found drifting around old houses (sometimes with the roof still attached) and drafty castles (thank you National Trust) on my days off from being a PR professional. (You will find some of my recent adventures below.) I travel the length of the country in search of barren estates, wild, rambling hillsides and a decent tea room. All of which, you will find in this blog as it fills up…
In short, I hope you like this blog and I would be delighted if you could join me as I don camera, tails and hat and wander the rambles of England in search of our Victorian Gothic heritage. Throughout, my mind will drift back to the roots of our glorious subculture and I might ask a few weird questions (not the ‘how did I get here’ ones) and I will expect you to answer them as I will need to hear some Goth voices (and not just the ones inside my head…)
Until the next post….
With love and Absinthe,
Read on for….