are suspended from the ceiling. nosegays and garlands festoon every corner. while clusters of pot pourri commit a pungent and heady attack on the olfactory senses.
Prices range from £2.95 for an average spray to £6.95 fora bouquet ofthe permanent blossoms. Wicker baskets are a popular speciality and can be made to order from Mir—£30.
Daisy Chain is also packed with scented candles. mazorah. pomanders. and ceramic vases and jugs. and enchantingly original wooden novelties from Germany and Austria. Special Yuletide packaged musky pot-pourri costs £4.95 whilst the handmade tapestry bags at £9.95 may tempt the herbal connoisseur. But remember ifyou want to be hip and face the Nineties without egg on your face buy a great big armful of dried flowers — yep. the decade‘s hottest craze. (Sara Villiers)
DIAMONDS ARE FOR CHRISTMAS
Somerville of Edinburgh 82 (‘anongate. The Royal Mile. Edinburgh. ()31 556 5235.
‘Most people have absolutely no idea that there‘s such a vast range ofcards available .' says Roderick Somerville. sitting in what he
IIIIIIII " THE "
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I I I I I MARKET&CAFE
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Enjoy the atmosphere of this unique marketplace where East meets West
Stevenson Street The Barras Glasgow Open 10am—5pm Saturday & Sunday
believes to be the only playing card shop in the world. ‘They can‘t believe there‘s a whole shop devoted to cards. They ask how long I've been doing it. expecting me to say two months and I'm going to go out of business tomorrow!‘
But Somerville and his shop are here to stay. It's already an established tourist attraction situated conveniently near Hollyrood Palace and listed in several foreign visitor guides. Initially set up as a mail order business for collectors. it expanded in 1982 into a shop where Somerville now does 85 per cent of his business. stocking somethinglike 1200 differents sets ofplaying cards. 'The most popular.‘ he says. ‘are things like Asterix. Batman. Mary Queen ofScots. Colin Baxter‘s Scottish Picture cards. Holywood Film Stars. Jazz. Shakespeare . . .‘
The list goes on. but it's nothing compared to the complete range available. ‘I‘ve probably got the largest selection you‘ll find anywhere in the world.‘ he boasts. ‘That doesn‘t mean I won’t keep on expanding the range. Part of the fun for me is tracking things down. As long as it is commercially available. 1 will do my best to get hold ofit. It takes three years in some cases. but I‘ll do it.‘
Name the subject and he'll probably have the cards to match. From off the top of my head 1 suggested First World War Belgium and he had them to hand almost immediately. And I thought I was being obscure. There are some 200 different packs ofTarot cards. facsimile packs from the time of Cromwell. a set of French balloon designs. and a rare pack designed by the composer. Schoenburg. ‘The price for a special face design ranges from 95p up to £1 1(1.‘ he explains. ‘and the normal range for an interesting double pack is between £6 and ill).‘
Surprisingly. Somerville himself is not a card player. His interest is purely in their history and design. and as a result he is full of fascinating stories to match the museum-like detail of the shop. There‘s the game called Bella that is played exclusively by inmates and warders of Saughton and Barlinnie prisons; another that is restricted to one particular valley in Switzerland; and one called Ut‘lil‘t’ played only in fishing villages in Orkney and Guernsey and from which the word ‘joker' is probably derived. “My eventual aim.’ he savs. ‘is to open a museum entirely ' devoted to cards. It‘s such a beautiful thing. They need to be seen to be appreciated.‘ (Mark Fisher).
Imm- KIMONO CABOODLE
00-20 St Stephen‘s Place. Edinburgh. At any one time. Do-Zo. in Edinburgh‘s St Stephen's Place. will contain something in the region of3()() Kimono. They will
range from simple. cotton. jacket-like Kimono to floor-length garments. which at their best will be works of art. They might be made of cotton. wool or silken threads. each individually dyed. Some might be suitable for wearing outdoors -- it being a common misconception that Kimono can only be worn as a type of bathrobe. While many will retail at about foil. the most expensive in the shop will set you back 5000 the Kimono in question being a ceremonial robe. an l'chikake.
‘Everything from the shop is from Japan and everything is hand-made from natural materials'. says owner. Ramsay Prior. who has an understated. but no less infectious. enthusiasm for Kimono. silk and paperarr
Having been involved in the construction industry in the Middle East. friendships with various Japanese developers led him to a numberoftrips toJapan. When. three years ago. he took the decision to settle down in Edinburgh. it seemed natural to combine business with a hobby for collecting Japanese objects. such as Natsuke — very small carvings— and prints. by setting up Do-Zo.
‘Silk is a harmonious material‘. continues Prior. ‘and the Kimono is a very simple design — unchanged for over a thousand years -- which is made up of four silk loom widths o1 fabric. There are so many things that can be done with silk. and because Japanese aristocracy was not removed as a result of political upheaval. there has always been the support to produce the rich diversity which silk can provide.
‘There is an incredible versatility in what that simple design can fulfil. A Kimono can be worn during the day. as a garment to wear to the theatre or as a form of evening dress. Weddings in Japan can be a bit like a fashion show with different Kitnono being worn at various stages of the process.‘
Nowadays. an encouragingly high number of customers seem to be relatively well-informed about the qualities of Kimono. with some prepared to travel from all over Scotland. as well as from south of the border. to peruse the variety of Kimono now available.
Ramsay l’rior's personal preferences are for those Kimono which are simply patterned. However. when one begins to appreciate the work and skill that has gone into producing the more elaborate versions. with many being hand-painted and others heavy with gold and silver embroidery. it is easy to understand why some people find it difficult to resist the temptation to become a collector.
Nonetheless. the market lor Kimono remains quite small. \‘t'hile ottr ready purchase of Japanese cars. hi-fi and videos might seriously contribttte to Japan‘s growing Balance ofTrade surplus (the recent lifting oftariff barriers on Scotch
\Vhisky being unlikely to make too much difference). the purchase of a Kimono this (‘hristmas should not put too much upward pressure on the Yen.
Whe re art and functionalism combine so easily. there is no reason to feel too guilty with an investment in Kimono. (.\like Wilson)
OFF THE CUFF
Ted Baker [Tnit 25. Princes Square. (.ilasgow. (141 221 9664; Thomas Pink 32(‘astle Street. Edinburgh. ()31 225 4204. As any connoisseur ofequinc flesh will tell you. there are horses for courses. These two vastly differing shops demonstrate that the same is also true ofshirts and backs. The (ilaswegian paragon of fashion. one observes. would hardly have their coffin measurements taken in at Thomas Pink shirt. while the conserv atively—clad Morningside afficionado of stripes and checks could easily tempt psychological turbulence with the merest peek at one of Ted Baker‘s more. er. expressionist little numbers.
The Baker store opened in (ilasgow's Princes Square on April l-‘ools‘ Day 1988. and since then its arrayof both ‘classic‘ (ie. stripey) garments and Ted‘s ever-changing individualistic designs for both men and women. each one limited to 300 shirts spread between the nine TB outlets. has seen quite a diversity of customers padding through the emporium's chicglass doors. . Starting from around £25 for the more traditional styles. and with the new range ofsilks retailingat only £41). prices seem much more sensible than the tags dangling from the clothes in some of the city‘s more exclusive fashion establishments. With a range ofequally splendiferous ties and waistcoats on offer. this could be the place to pick up that comersation—stopping floral explosion you‘ve dreamed ofand still be able to afford to pay the rent that month.
.-\t £35 for the men‘s shirt and £32 for the ladies' range. Edinburgh's Thomas Pink also offers quality tailoring (purest high-grade cotton, mother of pearl buttons. triple—stitched seams etc) at
attractive rates. However. the Castle Street shop’s woody arnbience indicates an investment in traditional
82The List 8— 21 December 1989