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300 Words From London: More Rubbish

Look out, wombles about... or the fine art of bin diving... or how to play FISH!

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by Lake, Editor, London for outsideleft.com
originally published: September, 2006
People love to take stuff from bins.

There was a scuffle and some shouting and then somebody was banging on my door.
I looked through the spyhole to check it wasn't some kind of maniac and I opened it. There were two quite elderly women with their hands full of the old clothes I had just put out in a bin bag for the recyclers.

"Are you throwing these out?" said one as she held up a pair of jeans with paint on them.
"Are you throwing this out?" said the other with a wool sweater that had shrunk in the wash.

I told them I had put them out to be recycled. I didn't want them. They could have them. I went back inside. I could hear them bickering over the clothes so I turned up the TV. I wondered why they had even bothered knocking.

People love to take stuff from bins. When there was a bin outside our shop we used to play a game called "fish". You'd place an object on or near the bin and then watch through the window as people passed by and if you thought they were going to pick the thing up you would shout "fish!" and you'd win if they did get it.

One time we rolled up a porno mag and filled it up with shreds of paper and tucked it inside the bin so it was sticking out like a tube with just a hint of breast. When that fish bit and tried to grab the magazine out fast and put it in his bag he caused a snowstorm of confetti all around him and up and down the street.

Later when I went out most of the old clothes were left scattered around the front yard. I had to pick them up all over again.

Image by Ian Stevenson www.ilikedrawing.co.uk

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Lake
Editor, London

the first journalism Lake ever had published was a history of Johnny Thunders for Record Collector magazine, since then he has written for publications including the Guardian, Dazed and Confused, the Idler and more recently, outsideleft.com as you have just seen.

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