Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Interview: Malcolm Mayhew

Malcolm Mayhew is better known to many as the guy who wrote about Fort Worth music for the Startlegram. Although he's probably more comfortable with being the name in the byline, he graciously agreed to submit to e-mail interview torture for our benefit.

Although he's spent over a decade as the local music scene's storyteller and advocate, his days as a full-time writer for the Star-Telegram came to an end last year when he decided to devote more time to his passion -- antiques. Although you'll still see a byline from him every now and then, the best place to catch him as at a local antique auction, in one of this antique booths or online at his virtual antique store. Here's what Malcolm had to say:

The Caravan of Dreams: What are you doing since you left the S-T? Are you writing about music at all?
Malcolm Mayhew: I still write for Texas Music magazine and I still contribute sporadically to the Star-Telegram's music coverage. I also still write an antique column for the paper. But mainly, I'm trying to make a living buying and selling antiques. "Trying" is the key word; it's not easy at all.

TCoD: Why did you bail out of the newspaper business?
MM: I just felt like it was time for me to go, that if I was going to do something else, I'd better to do it now before I got even more comfortable than I already was.

TCoD: Do you still follow the local music scene? If not, why not? If so, what do think of the state of transition that the music scene is going through right now with the Black Dog gone and the Wreck Room going?
MM: The Fort Worth music scene is just like any other music scene, I suppose. There will always be changes - clubs will always open and close, bands will always come and go, Denton will always be called the "next Seattle," even though that never happens. I do honestly think that Fort Worth had its time in the early '90s, when Mad Hatters and the Toadies were around, and even a few years before then, like when Nirvana and the Goo Goo Dolls and Fugazi played here; stuff like that just isn't happening around here anymore. I'm not sure if it's happening anywhere anymore. The last big "scene" happened in Omaha, and that was years ago. "Scenes" may be done; people are getting their music off the Internet now, not from the club down the street. Locally, I think you'll always find interesting music in Denton, since it's a real college town. As for Fort Worth, it'll keep chugging along. Even if the Black Dog and the Wreck disappear forever, someone will come along and pick up that left-of-center slack. They always do.

TCoD: What local act do you like best right now?
MM: I like this band called Sky Eats Airplane. They're a metal band with a heavy electronica influence. Pretty tough listen, but they're very dynamic and smart.

TCoD: What do you like best about dealing antiques?
MM: The money can be very good. You can buy something for $100 and sell it for $1,500. It's also something that, for people who do it for a living, keeps you busy constantly: If you're not at an auction, garage sale, flea market, or estate sale looking for stuff to buy, you're taking a piece somewhere to be repaired, or you're repairing it yourself, or you're bidding on something on ebay, or you're moving stuff around at your mall or shop, or you're dickering with someone on a price, or you're trying to find some goofy piece of Jadite for a customer or client. There's a sense of excitement and anxiety in living your life like that. It's a lot like the newspaper industry: Every day is completely different. For whatever reason, I'm drawn to that.

TCoD: What type of antiques do you specialize in and how did you become interested in that niche?
MM: It all comes from my family. Among other things, my parents were furniture and antique dealers. My mom ran an antique shop on Hemphill on the south side of Fort Worth in the late '70s/early '80s. She got out of it because her place kept getting busted into and the guy who ran the grocery store next door got beat up and robbed. She kept selling stuff out of the house - going to garage sales and putting ads in the paper for stuff she bought at them, etc. Then she and I went into the Burleson Antique Mall, where we had about a half-dozen booths. My father died and she cut back on the space. Then she died and I just took over the business, doing it on weekends until about three years ago, when I started pursuing it more aggressively. I have spaces at the Benbrook Antique Mall, the Historic Camp Bowie Mercantile and I'm about to get a space at Cityview in Dallas.

If I specialize in anything, it's probably religious items - old Bibles, crucifixes, prayer benches, anything religion-related that's odd or unusual. I also sell a lot of furniture - American, English, Oriental, etc. I also like military stuff and Masonic memorabilia, although they're slow-sellers.

TCoD: What is the coolest thing you've purchased recently?
MM: Coupla yardlong military photos of Camp Bowie taken during World War I. One is of the original infantry taken at the camp, I believe in 1918; another one is of the same infantry taken in France a few months later. To Fort Worth military collectors and local history buffs, they're worth thousands - they're originals, in their original frames. They came from someone who had a family member stationed at Camp Bowie. They're for sale over at the Mercantile.

TCoD: You've told us about the FW music scene. What about the FW antique scene?
MM: Fort Worth is very lucky in that it has several major antique malls, dozens of speciality and high-end antique shops and plenty of auction houses. Whatever it is you want, someone around here can probably get it for you.

TCoD: Please answer the standard "What's next for Malcolm" question:
MM: Guess I'll get up tomorrow and pray I sell something.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

glad to hear that malcolm is well and kicking butt.