Tampa is a ragged, downtrodden beast of a city, where people in trouble struggle in the sunshine. The upside of this is that there are plenty of willing sorters of cultural detritus, who search through others’ leavings for traces of forgotten value. They often bring their finds to the Fun-Lan Swap Shop Flea Market, which runs Thursday-Sunday on east Hillsborough Avenue. Here’s what you can get for ten bucks – a giant pile of broken, fantastic, forgotten, nameless toys ready to be primed and repainted back to the heights of customized weirdness.
Other than Spongebob, Terminator, and the trash guy from TMNT, I’m pretty clueless as to what most of these are, which just makes them more awesome in my book. Four of them are already primed and ready to be turned into one-of-a-kind custom toy masterpieces.
It’s been a very slow couple of months around here on the blog. Slow as in stopped, actually. I’ve been focusing on making the very exciting but time- and mind-consuming switch to being a full-time freelance writer. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m lucky enough to get to spend some time at home these days, and among other things I’ve spent that time looking at stuff to waste my hard-earned money on. That’s how I rediscovered the collectible art-toy community.
I’ve been familiar with this stuff for a while, and I’ve got a history with toys – back when I got my first ‘real’ job ten years or so ago, I spent $100 or so buying He-Man toys off of ebay. But the temptations now are subtler and more powerful – like Deathly Headed Four Armed Zagoran here, now on pre-order at Lulubell Toys. That’s $85 for a weird, cool, totally pointless tschochke (sp?) that does nothing but confirm that I’m a weirdo to the few people I let into my home. But god dammit, I’ve earned some uselessness.
Anyway, I’m sure I’ll be hitting you with more of this sort of stuff – He-Man, TMNT, M.U.S.C.L.E. – it all looks more and more like art, the more steps you take back, and the harder you squint.