That was my neighbour's comment this morning when I said I was heading off to Bloomsbury to attend my very first ephemera fair.
He had his golf clubs on his shoulder, and was heading for Wanstead Flats to play a round or two in the rain. And I hope that was as exciting as it sounds, too!
So, what happens at an ephemera fair? Well, there were thirty or forty stalls selling postcards, pamphlets, prints, posters, itsy bits of paper, maps, books, all sorts of stuff - very well organised and convivial, and well attended too. It was mainly men of a certain age - but I can hardly complain about that.
This is a really nice eight page guide for British troops new to Calcutta - published in December 1944. It lists canteens, places of worship, dance halsl, officers' lodgings (MRS. MURPHY, 11 Pretoria St, Rs 10/- per day) ... and there's this warning:
'TO THE TROOPS.
'We would like to point out that there are special early treatment rooms for men who have exposed themselves to infection from V.D, and also to warn them that these troubles must be taken in the early stages ...'
This is a lovely ILP leaflet, a single A5 sheet folded to four pages - dating probably from the late 1890s or the early years of last century.
The design is both charming and rather syrupy for a leaflet aimed largely at working women.
And the message:
'The party for Socialism is the Women's party, for it believes we must all, men and women alike, work for the well being of the nation. Each is of equal importance.'
But my favourite is this wonderful poster - slightly larger than foolscap - published by the CP in January 1943, when communist concern to support the war effort and so save Soviet Russia extended to speeding up production and making capitalism work more efficiently, whatever the drain it put on the workforce. This was the CP's 'Home Front' - and there's a freshness about the drawing and colouring which I find very beguiling. Richard Gold (from whom I bought this) tells me the artist was Elizabeth Shaw - there's an obituary of her here and a nice piece with photo from the Irish Times. According to her Wiki entry, she worked as a mechanic through much of the war ... so she practised what she preached.
So, that's what you come across at an ephemera fair!