Sunday, May 16, 2010
I just remembered a little exchange from about 25 years ago when I was a young amateur artist. (Now I am a middle-aged amateur artist.)
There's a small, but classy and charming arts supplies store right in the heart of Copenhagen (close the famous Walking Street), Rubin Og Magnussen, next to a gallery of the same name. I think the original founder was in the store that day. I was looking at his bigger watercolor brushes and I was a bit shocked at the prices, which were like five times what I would have expected to pay. (Though fine watercolor brushes are made from the hairs from the marten and such.)
So I commented to him about how I'd seen brushes at dramatically more reasonable prices, and he said with conviction: "Hvis du har købt sekunda, så har det ikke været her". Or "If you have bought second-rate tools, it has not been in this store".
I don't remember if I've ever heard any other person use the word "sekunda" in Danish, but from the tone and the origin of the word clearly referring to "second", it was clear what it meant. What a wonderful and economical word. Just one word to convey all the significance and attitude about "second-rate tools".
And also the fact that even though I was clearly just an ignorant youth, he did not explain or make excuses about their prices, he just in one short sentence make it clear that his shop carried only first-class materials, and had the prices which naturally follows those. Gotta love it.