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#23 - Arvid Misty / Belsize Stationers / 1989

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Arvid Mistry at Belsize Stationers by Elly Clarke

After my encounter with Jenny, Kaajel and I went to Polly's Cafe for lunch, where we got talking to the owner Pat about the project. She suggested we speak to Arvid Mistry, whose stationers shop Belsize Stationers has been around for a very long time. So we went in and asked if we may come back, and he suggested the following lunchtime.

He spoke about how the area has changed, but how many of his customers have not. And how his shop acts as a 'family' within the community. He spoke about how some people come in to just chat with his wife, and for advice. I realised how intimate it is to supply someone's stationery needs.

Alongside older people and those who do not want to buy online, he also listed some of the famous people who have bought from him over the years: Jonathan Ross, Boy George, George Michael and Michael Palin - to list a few. And of course as the internet has risen in use, people's stationery needs change. No longer typewriter ribbons and carbon paper, but inkjet cartridges and small things like magnets and pins.

Whilst we were in the shop many customers came in. Usually spending no more than about four pounds. But often interjecting about how important such a shop was - and how glad they are that it is still there.

In the end Arvid spoke mostly about his wife - the challenges of working and living together 24/7, but also about the 'fireworks' they still have - and the dances they go to every week. The video he shows me on his phone was from a dance he went to the week before. He invited me and Kaajel to join him one day. I hope I may be able to do this at some point.

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