S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Sunshine on vintage clothing

I'm a lapsed flautist. I tooks lessons for something like twelve years, played in a flute choir, a band, and duets with my family. I hardly play anymore, and the skill I once had is a memory, something I know I could revive with practice, but I haven't recently.

C. and I went for brunch today at Mitsy's, walking there through air which bordered on both cool and warm. It hadn't occurred to me to bring a hat. The streetcar wasn't running and the bus was diverting around the portion of street I would have taken it over, so we walked. The weather warmed and my shawl was redundant. The clouds were fluffy whie in a clear blue sky.

Toronto is crowded with parades and fairs and festivals in the summer. Many of them are huge events which attract hundreds of thousands of participants and audience members. The Pride Parade is the best-attended event of the year - that's tomorrow. Caribana and Taste of the Danforth are enormous. Then there are more diffuse events, which attract large numbers of people to a wide variety of locations, such as the Fringe Festival (starts next week) and the Toronto International Film Festival (at the beginning of September). Further down the size line are the plenitude of ethnic and neighborhood festivals which claim portions of major streets for the day or the weekend: Taste of Little Italy was the other weekend, for example. Every neighborhood has one, if not five, over the course of the summer. Today, Parkdale took over Queen West, and blocked public transportation with a modestly varied Vintage Fair.

The sun beating down on our unprotected foreheads, we stopped to watch the Vintage Fashion Show, the showpiece of the fair. C. had his camera, and hopefully a fair many of his shots will turn out. He'll post them if they do. The show highlighted fashions from 20s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. What happened to the 30s and 40s? I have no idea. The models were well coordinated, rather more so than the host who was slightly more interested in promoting his t.v. show than their outfits. Each decade was sponsored by a local vintage clothing store. I didn't take notes.

We wandered. There was an unentertaining juggler and some fascinatingly shiny vintage cars, buffed to a high polish by dedicated owners. There was even a vintage hearse, complete with coffin. There were tables of vintage lampshades and new necklaces; beeswax candles and handmade soaps; fresh lemonade and old cds.

I wasn't going to stop by the table of sheet music, but C. suggested I have a look while he took photos. I haven't bought sheet music in years - I hardly use the large accumulation I already have, so why buy new? The table belonged to a store specializing in woodwinds. Panpipes, flutes, and clarinets laid out in the sun on one table, presumably not new ones. The sheet music boxes were labeled as being forty percent off. I browsed, and most of the boxes proved to be flute music. I picked out a few, largely on sale, one Venetian-inspired one, one book of pieces for solo flute - most were piano-accompanied, which usually means a more melodically-independent flute-line than duets are. (There was also some music for flute, harp, and viola, which still fails to strike me as unusual.)

A man working there paused to talk to me, asked me what I played. I admitted to flute and harp, which is why I don't buy duets for both, as a rule. He asked me if I played any local gigs. I didn't. He encouraged me to drop off my card or flier at their shop if I was ever interested in advertising my services as a flautist locally.

I've been a student of the flute so long, even when performing in groups, that it never crossed my mind that this was something I could actually make use of now. My flute-playing is useless to me in the monthly jam session I occasionally frequent since I never learned to improvise on the flute. It would take a lot of practicing to be back in performance-shape, but it's something I'm capable of doing if I wanted to. I like knowing that. I went inside to buy the handful of sheet music I'd picked out and wandered on through the warmth of the afternoon sunshine.

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