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Following on from the other day’s bizarre Noel Edmonds-infused articles, I went to the Moseley Swap Shop at the Prince of Wales yesterday and found it a very interesting experience.

Walking through the lager-swilling masses watching the rugby into the small backroom, it was almost like taking a step back in time, a cultural museum filled with artefacts such as playstation 2 videogames and videotapes (it feels weird calling both of these artefacts considering I was still using them five years ago), as well as masses of vintage clothing. To the modern materialist, it probably seemed like a sepia-tinted nightmare.

It’s definitely easy to look down on these events, but to do so is to be ignorant to their function and purpose. If you stop and consider the mountains of rails of clothing on our high street, the amount of DVD’s, it’s becomes clear why these events are important to our environment. Put simply, we have way too much stuff in the world, stuff we don’t really need but still desire. It’s like eating until your full, and then shovelling down some cake and ice-cream.

Of course, all this stuff has to come from somewhere. Basically, factories burn toxic gases and rainforests are chopped down for stuff we don’t really need. Doesn’t sound great does it? It’s too idealistic to say we should all throw our wallets in the gutter and start wearing clothes from the 80’s and watching videotapes of Beverly Hills Cop 2 on our betamax’s, but maybe if we all stopped spending so much on new things and reusing the old, we might stand a chance of averting some kind of ecological disaster. Admit it, you’d be pretty pissed off if the world went to crap because of that shirt you bought but never actually wear.

It was particularly interesting talking to the event organiser Beth Fisher, who told me she hasn’t actually bought anything new for a long time. There’s probably some deeper psychological analysis to be done into this, but she seemed like an incredibly happy person who didn’t seem too worried by the fact she hasn’t bought Kate Moss’ latest overpriced rag from Topshop. Perhaps we don’t need all need new things. Or perhaps we as humans are all driven by our desire for the new, and this is in the end might be our downfall.

Despite the nihilism and gloom running through this article, I did actually enjoy looking around the swap shop, and it’s something I’d urge other people to go and check out, if only to see what it’s all about. It’s being held every month.


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