x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

A clean sweep for one collector

Footnotes Museums are sometimes dull, dusty arks crammed with relics. But a museum devoted solely to vacuums?

istockphoto.com
istockphoto.com

Museums are sometimes dull, dusty arks crammed with relics. But a museum devoted solely to vacuums? Surely it can't be much of a tourist draw. And yet, that is exactly what has just opened in a former coal mining town called Eastwood, in Britain's Nottinghamshire. It's a collection 126-strong, put together by a 30-year-old vacuum-obsessed man called James Brown, apparently known as Mr Vacuum Cleaner to his friends (how many? one wonders).

"I've been fascinated by vacuum cleaners since I was a small boy," he told The Daily Telegraph last week. Ah, yes, that common condition Dysonphilia, which renders sufferers inextricably obsessed with the cleaning devices. Brown found his first treasure, discarded on a rubbish site, when he was eight. It was a model called the Goblin 800. "I took it home, wiped all the muck off it, plugged it in and it worked," he told the newspaper. "That was one of the most fantastic moments of my life."

Of course it was, James. By the time he reached his teens, Brown had amassed 30 of the things. Now he can tell the make and model of a vacuum cleaner at the mere flick of an "on" switch. It is, apparently, one of his party tricks. But then he quite possibly doesn't get invited to many of those, either. James is not married, the story says. We can hardly think why. Although the lucky woman would presumably live in a very tidy house.