Games people play Pandora Melly learns about the beauty of Staffordshir e dogs and dustbins
Saturday 26 July 1997
My game is collecting, and I'm powerless to resist it. When you start, it's not just "Oh, I'll have that extra little Staffordshire dog to add to my collection", because you forget that you have any other dogs; it's the only dog in the world you've ever wanted. Then comes the moment when you get the object and a kind of unholy peace descends for a while; then you need to do it again. You never reach saturation point.
If you talk to an alcoholic, they'll tell you their addiction is an adjunct to their life, which isn't true: it's the biggest component: where the next drink is coming from. For a long time, collecting had that sort of importance in my life; a pathological torturing for my friends and family.
The sort of collecting I do is finding things by using your eye, rather as some people collect old clothes. They'll produce the Dolce & Gabbana and say: "Look what I have!" There's a wonderful book called The Unruly Passion by a New York psychiatrist who observes collectors and talks to them. What they're really saying is: "Look how clever I am; I found this; nobody else noticed this, and it's mine!" so in that sense it's a game, because one wins approbation like a small child.
I've stopped playing that particular game. If I see something absolutely lovely, I'll go in and look at it, and perhaps I will acquire it, but I'm no longer irked by the need.
I move through a wrack of possessions. The thing that I can't believe is when somebody comes into my playing-pitch; somebody who hasn't an eye and doesn't understand. They'll look around your room, which is exquisite in its beauty, and they'll ask: "Who does your dustbins?"
Staffordshire dogs are available at any good antique shop. Enquiries relating to dustbins should be referred to your local council.
Life & Style blogs
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show
- 2 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...