It’s that time again!
|click to enlarge, it's quite fun to stare at|
Right, yes, how about some enthusing about toys ‘n stuff? As always these are just the items that I can squeeze a paragraph out of and I’m not necessarily saying they’re the best things in that photo, except when i explicitly say they’re some of the best things in the photo. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll being:
The MAD Weirdo Watcher’s Guide!
We’ll start with some buyer’s remorse - not a lot of buyer’s remorse, it only cost me 50p after all – but I’m gonna keep this. The little voice in my head that gets me to do stupid things and convinces me that everyone hates me piped up while I was flicking through this, which is basically one-panel-per-page ‘social satire’ about various archetypes and stereotypes, some of which don’t apply to the UK and never did; “It’s a Mad Magazine book for 50p” said the voice in a confused and irritated manner “it’s 50p! It’s a Mad book, the cover has Alfred E. Neuman as Dracula AND Gene Simmons on it, you can’t possibly put it back”. I listened to it and now I have this and I don’t really want it, I’ll probably flick through it once or twice then it’ll get itself donated to the nearest charity shop, it’s not that funny and it’s not that well drawn inside. The cover is fucking awesome though, I plan to scan it before I get rid of it. What have we learnt from this? The barometer of ‘will I regret not buying this when I get home’ is a good one when out shopping, especially at conventions, bootsales, flea markets and the like, but it’s not fool proof and the person who writes this blog has iffy impulse control.
A Wild Snork Appears!
£1 ($1.29) for all 3
I’m sure I’ve gone into this before but it’s one of the things I enjoy the most about bootsales so I’m going into it here regardless. It’s a scenario that comes up often but I’m too tired and full of pizza of work out how to summarise it so I’ll just use these Snorks as an example: I would never eBay search for Snorks merchandise, but I’m walking around somewhere like a bootsale or convention or similar and in the box of random toys is a Snork, then another, then another and I’m reminded of their existence and realise ‘yeah I would really like to have some Snorks, in fact my toy horde and house is worse off for not having any’ and buy me the Snorks - because I like Snorks, who doesn’t? They’re funky underwater Smurfs made of Cheetos, they’re fundamentally likeable. It’s not so much the randomness of what you can find (though that is part of the fun) but the fact than you can find stuff that you’d never normally know you’d want but upon (re)discovering it realise that it’s something you’re genuinely enthusiastic about, an enthusiasm that lasts beyond the heat of the moment ‘I want to buy this because I’m in the mood to buy shit’ feeling. Yeah that sounds comprehensible (and oddly deep for a paragraph about Snorks).
50p (64¢)) for the pair
I needed to get four items to get the Orange Bird, these were two of them. In case my photo is not conclusive, they are T-Rexes dressed up as either a gangster or a private detective (or maybe a reporter) and either a superhero or Punch Rockfist and I’m sure I recognise them but just can’t figure out where from. Sadly this page doesn’t get enough views or comments for me to do the whole ‘if you know what these are throw me a comment’ thing I just wanted to show people a picture of my new dinosaur dressed like Woody Allen.
Looney Tunes Christmas Ornaments!
£5 ($6.44) the lot
Well this is a terrible photo, Tweety looks like he has mumps, Lola looks terrifying and like she has social boundary issues and Daffy Duck looks like Geena Davies in that one scene in Beetlejuice, you know the one where they pull their faces around to make them look scary? I assure you that the actual models are much better looking in person and that I’m just a shit photographer. Anyway time to make myself look old; do you remember the Warner Bros Studio Stores? If you don’t they were just Warner’s versions of the Disney Store but that little bit cooler, eschewing the cosy the fairy tale feel for a sleeker, sports shop style – more Planet Hollywood than Gepetto’s workshop, also the one in our local shopping mall (Lakeside) was huge and had a model of Bugs Bunny flying a plane upside above your head before you went in. Further helping it was that when I used to frequent Lakeside’s Warner Bros. Store the bunny had DC Comics while the mouse hadn’t yet sunk his claws into Marvel, so the shop would have a whole section of cells and prints from Batman: The Animated Series, replica Green Lantern batteries and collector’s plates painted by Alex Ross, the Disney Store’s snow globes were fancy (and still are, so much appreciation for their snow globes of old have I) but even they couldn’t quite compare to a Bruce Timm picture of Batman fighting Two-Face. I’m pretty sure these are from the Warner Bros Store, I say this because they look like the stuff they used to sell and Marvin the Martian (he’s in the haul photo just below Tweety Pie) is definitely from there and I bought them for the same stall, it’s possible they could have come from something like Clinton Cards but even if that’s the case, I got to gush over the old Warner Bros stores so I don’t mind being wrong. These are coming out every Christmas for the rest of my life and I need to hurry up and have children to I can use them as tools to instil the awesomeness of the Looney Tunes into them.
Side note: this is the first ‘Christmas bell’ ornament I’ve ever owned, my paternal grandmother owns a load of them but I was never allowed to touch them as a child because I was a clumsy and heavy handed little shit and would absolutely have rung them so hard they cracked. But I loved the way they sounded and felt to ring (I’d ring them every so often when no one was around), a delicate feeling and sound that felt like old Christmases from It’s a Wonderful Life and before. Owning this has helped me feel a little more like an adult, yes even though it has Bugs Bunny on it.
I like all the Pokémon it’s cool to hate – my favourite Pokémon include Trubbish, Vanilluxe, Stunfisk, Regigigas and I think Bidoof is just the cutest little TM Slave you ever did see. I’m not trying to be intentionally contrary or hipster I 100% legit like these Pokémon and it has nothing to do with the hate they get. In fact, as I follow the series closely I keep up to date with new Pokémon reveals when a new game is imminent, I liked Trubbish, Bidoof and Vanilluxe upon reveal (well I guess upon reveal of Vanillish) and god that does make me sound like a Pokémon Hipster doesn’t it? I liked Bidoof before it was uncool, yeah? I especially warmed to Trubbish who was adorable and just made so much sense as a pollution Pokémon and an equivalent to Grimer. And my love for them has only grown after using them throughout their games, Bidoof is super useful, Vanilluxe is a good ice type and, well, Gabadoar is a big pile of rubbish that poisons things and that does it for me, there are better poison types but they’re not trash bears. I have highlighted this ratty Bidoof toy just to say that because dammit I want to see more nice things being said about these poor ‘mons, I’m gonna go make a banner and some badges ‘Vanilluxe for President of Everything’.
The Orange Bird!
I can’t believe I haven’t talked about my Orange Bird fetish, not even on the Examples of Crap I Waste MyMoney On post for Disney World where I bought a life-size Orange Bird plush. The Orange Bird’s gained himself a cult following over the years but for the uninitiated: Disney came up with the Orange Bird in 1970 for the Florida Citrus Commission, as part of a deal whereby they would sponsor the Enchanted Tiki Room attraction and it’s adjacent restaurant The Sunshine Terrace in exchange for a Disney character to use in their adverts. Disney retained the rights the Orange Bird but let the Florida Citrus Commission use him. Orange appeared in the park as a walk-around character (bit scary) and was merchandised but eventually phased out. BUT THEN OB received a resurgence of popularity via Tokyo Disneyland and Japan’s annual Orange Day and has since returned to Walt Disney World. I like obscurities, park mascots, park-only/park-born characters, food mascots and adorable things, The Orange Bird is all of that and more so of course I’m now part of his cult following. This pretty much has to be park merchandise: I don’t think Orange Bird merch was sold anywhere else but in another ‘even if I’m wrong’ scenario it’s still a lil’ figurine of the Orange Bird and by all rights should never have been bought by someone with my luck in a ‘four for a pound’ box. You are so cute Orange Bird, be my friend forever.
Chap Mei Fills!
Hey, we’re spotlighting something toy collectors would actually want – sure it’s a niche within a niche but Chap Mei undoubtedly has its fans and collectors and rightfully so - they’re some of best toys to be released this millennium (aimed at kids anyway). Anyway meet Police vs Bad Guyz’ Stinger Lloyd, the Soldier Force Paratrooper,
a Xenmorph the Stellar Force Series II
Powerful Beast and Skeletor Bladekiller
from Beast Raider: Savage Warrior,
four massive gaps in my Chap Mei line-up that all got themselves filled in one
bootsale but for added satisfaction points, from different stalls throughout
the ‘sale, I got to go ‘round going ‘another one down’ ‘and another one down’
it very satisfying. That’s all I got, I just wanted to take a picture of all
four of them and put in an ‘achievement unlocked’ pop-up, now I have I find
myself at a loss for what to say. I’m gonna write the Kirsty MacColl segment
then come back to this. BACK. These guys have been THOSE gaps in the
collection, they shouldn’t be rare or expensive, they weren’t shortpacked or
recalled, they’re not necessarily the most sought after but they just never
show up for you personally and when they do it’s at time when you’re not able
to buy them (as has happened with me and that alien, it got to the point that I
was ready to declare him my nemesis and begin screaming his name in fury).
They’re not so much frustrating as they a little itch you just can’t reach, so
to be able scratch it four times in one bootsale was bloody nice.
A Verse for Kirsty!
While the resale value is minimal and the sleeve really needs an iron this was my ‘star buy’ from this bootsale trip. This is Kirsty MacColl’s A New England / Patrick single from 1984 on picture disc, which because it’s from Stiff Records and Stiff Records is Latin for ‘promotional gimmick’ is one of those cut-out shape singles and that’s just fine, of course it IS worth pointing out that the picture of England AND Scotland and, well, the Song’s just about England but shut up it’s a nice shape and a nice colour and has a picture of Kirsty MacColl on it looking really pretty! I fucking love Kirsty MacColl, her voice, her personality, her lyrics, the fact that had crippling stage fright but still performed, the fact that she died saving her son, she was just awesome all ‘round and her singing a Billy Bragg song is sonically one of the best combinations I can think of, and despite her solo career being dominated by There’s a Guy Work’s Down the Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis this was actually her highest charting single (number 7), so I guess a good portion of the country once agreed with me on that (of course this is the same country that got Mr Blobby into the top 10 so….)
And to end with, this. This will probably mean nothing to anyone who’s not a fan/familiar with The Clangers but: THIS IS THE BEST USE OF THIS TYPE OF TOY!!! FROGLETS! FROGLETS THAT ACTUALLY JUMP! The Clangers revival continues to give me the toys I should have had when I was four, it’s the gift that keeps on giving (and whistling). Also these were made by a company called TCS, I dunno what it stands for but it may as well be ‘The Rack Toy Company’.
And there you go, I shall leave you with this: the Venom figure (the one between the Coco Pops giraffe and Mickey Mouse in the haul photo) when I got home I noticed that he was sticky and covered in some kind of white powder, the best case scenario I’ve got is icing sugar but that really doesn’t explain much…