I really like bootsales, I know I grouse about them on here sometimes and they are filled with inconveniences (or ‘other buyer’s as that’s also known as) and the occasional utter wanker selling: today while enquiring about the price of a large bendy Ned the Noodle (an old Pot Noodle mascot) a woman asked me to give her a price, knowing nothing about Ned the Noodle other than he worked for Pot Noodle I offered her £2 (I dunno) – she scoffed and told me she wanted £13 because he’s £20 on eBay – if you know how much you want, why fucking ask me to name a price? To get the chance to feel superior? You’re that desperate for that feeling that you need to use Ned the fucking Noodle dolls to achieve it? I didn’t buy Ned.
But I do love bootsales, they’re car-crash fascinating, they’re usually relevant to my interests and they’re always unpredictable. I haven’t ‘done a bootsale’ (that is, sell at one) since I was about 15 but my grandad died last winter and we were left with a shed (and half a loft) full of his old fishing gear so we finally got around to setting up a stall at my local bootsale haunt, Dunton Bootsale, and outing all this dark green stuff that he’d accumulated over decades of having only one hobby. We did really well if you’re interested, Dunton has a bunch of really good fishing good stalls that turn up every well so a lot of fishermen get down there and the dealers who run those stalls are always happy to buy new stock of clueless civilians like us. My morning was a stream of quirky 50-somethings, boxes of old toys and a disturbingly large amount of taxidermy (what was up with that Dunton Bootsale bods? Stuffed dead things were bleedin’ everywhere) and that is not a bad way to spend the day of rest. I also did exceedingly well as a buyer, hauling a sack of goodies home with me, and I do mean a sack of goodies, here is my literal sack of goodies:
And here is that sack of goodies, all cleaned up and in a lovely group shot:
Considering that’s all toys the variety is noteworthy and delightful: stuff ranging from the early 1980s to things still on store shelves now (hopefully you can make out the Indominus Rex behind the Halloween Bears, if you can’t that’s ok, IT CAN CAMOUFLARRRGE after all); from the collectible to things that aren’t worth shit (I paid 25p for that Bayformer and I still feel I overpaid – but Slag’s my favourite Dinobot and I couldn’t help it); from playsets to cereal prizes. Now I’m gonna talk about some for a paragraph apiece! You’re so lucky! And as always I’m not saying these are the best buys, the best bargains or objectively or subjectively the best things in that photo they’re just the ones I can get a paragraph of babble out of (and it’s a good shopping trip when you don’t need to highlight such great scores as a Rogun or a still-carded Babylon 5 figure) so are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll being:
One of four ghosts made as part of the depressingly small Extreme Ghostbusters line and the only one not directly based on a ghost from the show, to me he looks like the Bug-Eye Ghost’s leering older brother – who’s also on a list or two – in my mind all of Bug-Eye Ghosts’ ‘species’ has different parts of a face on their head, some have mouths, some have eyes and the really unlucky ones have noses and look like Picasso’s still-life drawing of an Easter Island statue (they get laughed at a lot). Mouth Critter was first proper find, and my good omen, all set up and the early rush of dealers, other sellers and hardcore collectors over with, I wandered up the main track (from which all the isles come off of like rungs on a ladder) and found Mouth Critter in a suitcase filled with crap
“Yeees” he seemed to say “today is going to be a good day”
“Yes I’m a little faded and covered in what is either motor oil or old gravy but you’ve cleaned worse shit off far more boring figures before, what I AM is a fucking Extreme Ghostbusters figure on the sixth stall you’ve looked out, your luck’s in today son”
So I bought him.
Stress Game Boy!
See I’m still at the ‘delighted and fascinated’ stage with this but I have this feeling that everyone else already knows of the Stress Game Boy and wil read this and go ‘a Stress Game Boy, so? Everyone knows about them” and I’ll be left going “but a Stress Game Boy! It’s so lifelike” and look like that kid who got into the fad six months later than everyone else and used to say things that had become fandom in-jokes as if they were amazing new discoveries so now I’ve shown you the Stress Game Boy and you can see that it’s not a real Game Boy (I still have my original Game Boy) I’m going to move on.
83p ($1.08) for the two
They sound like vagina massagers but these little rubber fluffballs were a quiet presence throughout the whole 1990s and are still being made today (by Hasbro no less), until today I’d’ve felt calling them a footnote in toy history was overselling ‘em but no, apparently they had more of a presence than I’d ever realised. Still they’d hardly warrant a passing interest from me, a ‘oh I remember them, anyway…’, were it not for the following: Kellogg’s and Jaffa Cakes both had mail-away promotions for unique Koosh Balls, Godzilla had one and they were still ‘big’ when I went on a childhood holiday to Florida – we used to play with ‘em in the holiday home’s pool. So Koosh Balls, to me, are unbreakably linked to four of my favourite things: food mascots, big fucking monsters, swimming pools and Walt Disney World. For years I’ve been scouring bootsales for any sign of Koosh Balls - remember I bought that Minnie Mouse one that I regretted and now realise I only bought because neither of these were available? No because you don’t care? Oh…well I did. Anyway today I managed to pull in my number 1 and 2 Koosh Ball wants (I have things like this because I’m don’t-want-to-be-stuck-in-a-life-with-you sad) within 10 stalls of each other for roughly the price of a Kit-Kat. Loopy the Bee and Godzilla! I do not know why today I was so favoured the Junk Gods (who I imagein all look like Toxic Crusaders) but I thank them and shall continue to sacrifice children in their honour.
I would have posed Loopy in a dignified way for this photo but it seems impossible to achieve that with him, at elast he’s nto cut off like he is in the haul photo up there.
So this is very clearly a bootleg of the tie-in toys for Jim Henson’s Dinosaurs, it’s head is a direct swipe from the B.P. Richfield figure – at one point I had three of that figure thanks to my extended family being so extended, I know it very well – but he’s playing football dressed like…that. I mean I always thought it was fairly obvious that B.P. Richfield was a frustrated homosexual whose anger stemmed from him denying his true self, I just didn’t know that some dubious Chinese company had made it cannon (would this count as Word of Dante?). Anyway I bought this and the Godzilla Koosh Ball from the same seller, he has a stall of lovingly bagged vintage Masters of the Universe, Kenner Batman and Real Ghostbusters figures and I must have looked like a walking, dusty cash machine to him, how disappointing it must have been for him when all I bought was a fuzzy Godzilla, a gay dinosaur and a little bendy guy from his three for a pound boxes – oh well he shouldn’t try and sell naked He-Men with the wrong limbs or a fiver each should he? (Also I had all the Real Ghostbusters he had).
WCW Walkie Talkies!
£5 ($6.51) for the set
When you have something like these you just have to show ‘em off (especially when you paid an eye-watering fiver for the things) but what do you say about such appropriate and well thought-ou merchandise? I mean yes “wahahahhaha” would work but that’s a lot of money (at a bootsale) to pay out be hipster-ironic. So yes I do genuinely enjoy weird merchandise that makes little to no sense beyond ‘this is popular and this is a toy we know has at some point sold well enough to justify the tooling costs’, it fascinates me. Original San Francisco Toymakers and Jakk’s Pacific’s way of merchandising wrestling during The Attitude Era (roughly 1997-2001) is a great example of whatever the opposite of synergy is, we have these two shows that are edgy, vulgar, sexy, violent, ‘pushing the boundaries’ as far as they can be pushed, we have wrestling porn stars, pimps and black supremacists on one show alone and Jakks are making little wrestlers on pull-back bikes and OSFT are making walkie talkies like it’s 1987 and Hulkamania is running wild, brother. And you know what? It worked! They sold the most childish of toys to kids to promote something that wasn’t aimed at kids and made out like bandits! And they’re not the first people to do this either (Kenner did it more than once). I weirdly appreciate this and produces a bunch of fascinating items for me to tilt my head and stroke y chin over like a cock - but I respect that this paragraph hasn’t been funny (or focussed) so look at this, this happened while I was taking the ‘solo photo’ for this article:
It’s a Goldberg squash! Geddit? No? Really? Well I liked it
40p (52¢) for both
Loooook at them! Little Halloween bears in their little Halloween hats with their little Halloween trick or treat bags that even look like little McBoo Pails, if they don’t make you want to squeeze 'em I hate you.
I was sent by my family to a fishing goods dealer to do a deal with him for some reels we were selling, it was a potentially lucrative deal in bootsale terms featuring a heavy bag of reels, opposite his stall was this: the deal can wait, I don’t care how heavy this bag is: that’s fucking Crossfire. Going by nothing but personal experience from when I was about 7 Crossfire was a toy that everyone wanted but few owned, and the people who’d played it always played it at someone else’s house – for every 300 kids there were only three Crossfires and a complex web of degrees of separation and yet everyone would swear on their mother’s life that it was the coolest game you play. Why? The fucking advert, mate: a commercial wherein two kids on hoverboards met in the Thunderdome to settle their differences in a post-apocalyptic battle of Crossfire while a hair metal song wails warnings about the, cross fiy-YUR! It turned Crossfire into the board game equivalent of an Angus Young solo.
To prove my point, I only ever played Crossfire at other people’s houses, it’s basically a two-player target shooting game but the only times I ever played it/saw it played at bring-a-toy-to-school day it was played like a ultra-violent game of air hockey but there’s meant to be more to Hungry Hungry Hippos than ‘drop the all the balls in the middle and pound’ and no one gives a fuck there either.
Angry Bead Gods!
These were in a little baggie in a 20p box I was dragging some fast food toys out of, there was some other little wooden things in it with 'em and I thought it might be a tiny game or something including ancient Madballs. Nah turns out they’re just big wooden beads, albeit big wooden beads who hate you and all you stand for. I can’t say I give a flying dog’s bollock about beads but these things are roughly the size of large marbles and look like furious Tiki gods, the deities responsible for the creation and continued care of Finger Frights, Madballs and the ffffuuuu meme so they are more than welcome to hang out in my house for the foreseeable future, I think I must leave them on a side where they momentarily puzzle guests.
Haunted. Badger. Mansion!
Few people would consider a Get Along Gang playset up there with Castle Grayskull and the USS Flagg but I think in just this post alone we’ve proven that I have very little in common in with ‘most people’, fuck me the fiver I paid for Hollywood Hogan and Goldberg walkie talkies proves that. So yes, for me Haunted Badger Mansion to not only one of the best playsets of its decade but one of the best action figure playsets of all time, I consider this in league with Castle Grayskull, the Ghostbusers Firehouse HQ, The Hive, Manglor Mountain, the USS Flagg and the Plaitoy Death Star and I don’t care how you judge me after knowing that fact. Not only is it wonderfully and bafflingly macabre for a fucking American Greeting licence (hmm, maybe not so baffling, American Greetings were behind My Pet Monster and Madballs too) but the whole style and execution of the toy turns it into your own little dark ride for your action figures (hmm maybe walk through attraction), a mini Haunted Mansion for Snake Eyes and Microman – bliss! £15 is a lot to lay out at a bootsale for one item but for Haunted Badger Mansion I cared not, their other stuff I cared a little more: the stall I bought this from was a treasure trove of mid-80s to mid-90s stuff, unfortunately they knew what they had so it wasn’t ‘cost effective’ as it were, as much as I wanted that farmyard set I had as a three year old I couldn’t bring myself to pay £20 for the privilege of owning it again – and I do still have the cow (hmm, maybe you should have offered them a tenner you prat).
You know what? Haunted Badger Mansion should have its own tribute post, every function of this toy needs to be immortalized in gif form - each with Montgomery Moose in different types of peril – so I’m gonna shut up now and shuffle off to bed, I’ve been awake since half 3am and as of this writing it’s five past 10pm so I feel somewhat deceased, thanks for reading all.