Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Vintager Fortune Teller

This kind of story that this blog is all about. It is not just about leather and denim fanatics, its also about the everyday people and the stories their leather and denim's tell. In this case there is a fortune teller who sits next to Cafe Mozart in the Church Street walkway off Long Street in Cape Town. I have walked past him countless times watching while he gives readings to captive listeners bent over his rustic cards. I have always noticed this beautiful leather bag that sits next to him stuffed with thick frayed books. The bag itself looks wise with age; there is something almost magical about it and its contents.

I have been curious to speak to him for quite a while but never really found the opportunity or the courage, today however I decided to have a conversation with him.

His magic name is Babylon Don and he has been telling fortunes for over 20 years. He warmed up quickly to the conversation about his bag, although he found it a bit odd at first, actually ‘kinky’ was his adjective. I suppose that's the response you get for saying you have a passion for worn leather. His bag is 6 or 7 years and was given to him new by friend along with 'magic books'. It sounds like a true gift of providence for a fortune teller- a full grained hand-made leather bag containing books of magic.

Many people comment on the bag asking where they can get one or offering him money to acquire his. The bag was evidently crafted by a guy called Neville Momplain (He is not sure of the exact spelling) who was quite a prolific bag maker around Cape Town some years ago before leaving to go live in London. The bag is very basic, it has stretched over the years from being stuffed with books and often serves as a pillow too. It has developed a really rich patina that looks like a ancient treasure map with the leather grain, stains and scuff marks creating a symphony of textures and shades. Its an interesting bag for an interesting man.

Since I was talking to him I asked him what he charges to have ones fortune read. He doesn't have a fixed price, you give him what you like or what you think its worth. What’s the point, I thought, of talking to a fortune teller and not having your fortune read? For the next 45 minutes I was engrossed in his reading, most of it was broad but inspired, I found myself instinctively trying to fit what he said into the contexts of my life. Its easy to be skeptical about these things if you are looking for definitive answers. Once you let go of the idea that anyone knows the absolute truth you can see any perspective as an opportunity to look at the events and possibilities of your life with fresh eyes. He didn't tell me when I would become rich, famous, married or how many children I would have rather he said quite a few things said that were very useful. I would really recommend this as an experience if you are ever near Green Market Square, pop into Cafe Mozart and have a coffee then have your future told. It was a fun, engaging conversation with a really interesting person.

CafĂ© Mozart, surrounded by art galleries, antiquaries and clothing shops is situated just off Long Street, and offers the perfect place for regulars and tourists alike to relax and take in the sights and sounds of Cape Town. ...‎

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