I have in the past flirted with using clichés, but I mostly try to avoid them.
With this in mind there was no way I was about to mention the ghost of the Vaults. It seems that whenever a venue claims to have residence of a Ghoulie then it has to be wrote about in any description. They get top billing so to speak and it seems a rather obvious cliche.
This was my mindset right up until I sat down with the owner Dianne and she told me that no one had written about the things going bump in the night. I was a little shocked at this and sure enough when I fired up the electronic computer and did a Google (other search engines are available) search I found…… Nothing …. Not a single bump, ghoulie or ghost reference to be found about the haunting of the Vaults
“Most peculiar” I said to myself later whilst pondering this rather obvious omission “I must remember to tell the guys about the ghost”
I sit on the fence when it comes to the existence of ghosts. I have certainly witnessed some odd things and heard the strange experiences of very credible people. I am on the fence with ghosts pretty much the same as I am on the fence with conspiracy theories. Was Oswald the lone assassin of JFK in Texas? Most probably but I concede there is plenty of iffy details and good grounds for doubt. Did we land men on the moon? Almost certainly, but I think it is ridiculous to suggest that it would be impossible to fake. Is there a secret group called the Illuminati? … Probably not but who knows?
I am certainly unconvinced by Tony Robinsons reasoning that “There are no secret organisations otherwise we would have heard about them”.
Which is as nonsensical as it is stupid and unexpected from our beloved Baldrick. It certainly is Baldrick reasoning.
If you are interested to know my favourite and most believable conspiracy (I hear shouts of “No” but I am going to tell you anyway) it is the assassination of the great Martin Luther King Jr. It always surprises me that this one is not given more air time as it is a distinctly dodgy tale indeed.
There is even a conspiracy theory with regards to the death of the late great Bruce Lee …. And to those of you stroking your chins and wondering where is all this going in regards to the Vaults on Abbeydale Road … Strap in, make yourself comfy and let me guide you there....
The appropriately named Dianne Vaults is the owner of the Vaults which was previously a bank and still has the vault down in the basement (whether this was pure luck or nominative determinism at work I do not know). Her husband is … to say the least …. Into the martial arts. He was a world champion in Filipino stick fighting and has studied Jeet Kune Do under two guys who were senior instructors under Bruce Lee. Mr Bruce Lee of course invented Jeet Kune Do which he developed from the Wing Chun discipline ... Cough ... I actually knew that and did not have to research it ...
There is a a touch of the theatrical about the Vaults. It is a shop to be sure which sells retro, vintage, antiques, art, clothes, vinyl and the like .... But is also a maze. It a maze constructed of shelves of many eclectic items that seem to be something you collect for purchase before you emerge blinking in the daylight. The items you purchase are more kind of trophies you acquire as you navigate your way around. The Artwork on the walls seem to underline this theatrical and adventure feel.
And the Vaults does something quite sublime when you start your journey. It appears to ask you "Where are you heading first?"
Are you going to ascend the fairy lighted stairs to the old flat? You get the vibe that you are wandering around the home of a groovy hip artist, all funky things and twinkling lights. The place well lit and .. dare I say it ... Totally fabulous darling!!
Or are you going to descend? Down to the dark depths where the Vault still stands?
I went downwards naturally ..... Though I nervously declined the offer to enter the Vault for fear I should hear the slam of the door behind me and my screams go unheard and I was never seen again .... Happily though I was able to send my model Emma in there for a photo while I stayed safe and secure outside the vault door ... Which probably says more about me as a human being than it does as a photographer.
That being said the Vaults also has one of my favourite things and it is to be found at the bottom of the stairs, a second hand book section. I love and adore a large selection of second hand books. I find that place like Waterstones and WH Smiths just seem too sterile and clean ... I delight in a book that has been read before and its back cracked from the times it had been opened and enjoyed.
I sent my model Josh Ambler in for a quick photo. I was delighted to later discover that the random book he had decided to pose with was "The Haunting" .... Which reminds me I need to remember to tell you about that damn ghost at some point ..
Whether you decide for descent or ascent there is something for everyone to find. I even came across really pleasant memory of my childhood. I was so excited I dedicated an entire blog to it.
The Master and Commander of the good ship The Vaults had a little treat in store for me, something I had been looking for but not yet found. I had been asking around the Quarter for some odd item that had passed through in the past ... Dianne was able to give me the best so far. She had once dealt a 1920's medical irrigation device (which is about a good as a description as I am going to put here). It came with original box, tubes, glass funnel and pump (obviously).
It was my mistaken understanding that such things were an eighties fad … Apparently intimate bodily irrigation has been a thing for a long time .... Though I refuse to research the subject on my electronic laptop ... I fear that the search results will look a little questionable if anyone checks my internet history.
I don’t know if you remember the Ann Summers based TV series “Brief Encounters” that was filmed in Sheffield? Well the Vaults and Dianne supplied an awful lot of the clothes and props too …. I wonder if she also supplied the irrigation device ……
I was thinking about the descent to the depths and the Vault this morning. I am not sure why but it brought to mind a cartoon I saw when I was a kid and a life lesson I think I sometimes forget.
The Three Little Pigs have formed a jazz band and they are really good. The Big Bad Wolf though keeps appearing and trying to play with them but he is terrible. He has bought a trumpet and not put the time and effort in to learn the thing so his playing stinks. Various hilarity happens as the Wolf tries to join in but the Pigs want nothing to do with him. In the end he blows himself up and descends ... Its all pretty dark ... But in the end he can really play the trumpet and he joins the pigs for the ending song.
Or as the Piggies say ...
"That old wolf he learned the rule, you got to get real hot to be real cool"
I am paraphrasing the story a little, but what I always got from it was that it takes hard work to be good at something and make it work. Which I think sums up what has happened at the Vaults and with Dianne and with the fifty or so traders that operate from there and injected great showmanship to make it work.
It explains who the place is just so so so damn cool!!!
Thanks Guys!!! Until next time, take it easy love ya all!!
(Erm .... I have the distinct feeling that I have forgotten something......?)