In Brighton – as in a lot of other cities, I’m sure – it’s quite common to turn a street corner and see, perched on a garden wall or outside someone’s gate, a box of possessions which are up for grabs. They’re usually books, sometimes CDs, occasionally unwanted gifts. Larger items occasionally appear; microwaves, book shelves, chairs. I usually stop and have a look. A while back I grabbed an ‘Indie Top 20′ VHS from a box on St. Michael’s Place. Recently Vic nabbed me a paperback copy of ‘Him With His Foot In His Mouth and other stories’ by Saul Bellow from a cardboard box on Compton avenue (which was much appreciated).
Last night me and my girlfriend went for a walk, idle in the summer sun, hoping we might find a pub and some cats to make friends with on the way (we did – The Chimney House, and a cat-caucus near Seven Dials, three podgy animals sat in conference, enjoying the weather). On the way I spotted a box of abandoned items and suddenly bent over, leafing through a box of abandoned items – mostly magazines.
“What on earth are you doing?”, my girlfriend asked.
I looked up at her, puzzled.
“Just seeing if there’s anything worth taking”, I replied, squinting up at her.
She looked at me with mild disgust.
“In someone’s recycling?”
I looked at the box, which had the Brighton and Hove council logo on its side; straightened my back; said nothing; and walked on.