This week was the first ‘BIG Bootsale’ of the year for me, stalls going right to the back of the field (we’re talking something like 200 more stalls minimum) thanks to a lovely cloudless summer Saturday, of course Sunday was weird weather but who cares, by that point everyone was there and set up. it’s genuinely nice to see that the bootsale can still get this big, and yet I didn’t have much luck early on, I had to really dig to find anything worth buying. Maybe others just beat me to it, having come out early thanks to the good weather and the amount of extra stalls that guarantees or maybe it was just full of shit this week?
Still, hardly a haul to grumble about, but again proof that size isn’t everything. At least the weather was acceptable, weird (it was kind of like Dunton had shifted into another reality, that’s the best I got) but comfortable to walk around in. The cow and the elephant in the tie were ice cream containers.
Anyway are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin
Something Someone Nicked From a Building Society!
At least I think so, I’m pretty sure this was one of those donation boxes that used to hang on the walls or sit on the counters. It’s possible it was a give-a-way, banks and building societies used to love giving away money boxes (it promotes saving, you see?) and she did have a couple of others of those on her stall as well (including the Halifax house, which I still use for loose change after all these years after opening, and closing, my account, I used it to save up for my first trip to Florida, I was 9) but I guess the main thing is that it makes me THINK of those donation boxes, because as a kid I wanted them so badly, all of them from little ones like this to the life-size guide dogs. I couldn’t understand why people would make big plastic toys and not make them available to the public and by public I mean kids and by kids I mean me. I could get way more out of a three-foot plastic Sooty than some supermarket could, if they wanted money for starving orphans, just get one of those cool boxes where the coin spins down into the hole and let me have the big plastic bear.
I wasn’t the most giving child it seems.
Also Anglia Building Society hasn’t existed as a separate entity since 1987 (I was 1)! Jesus. I remember it due to the merged Anglia/Nationwide incarnation it had but that building society went back to just calling itself Nationwide in 1992! Why am I so old? Why does time keep moving along? Why can’t it all just stop and let me be happy with my plastic bears?
An Elephant Pencil Sharpener!
Someone clearly collected elephants once upon a time, you’ll notice three elephants in that haul photo (one day I’ll find a less douchy name for that), they’re all from the same stall. Anyway this was one of those things that I’d forgotten I’d forgotten about, something I had as a child that I no longer remembered but as soon as I saw it I could remember it so vividly you’d think I’d seen it on the way out to the bootsale, I could remember it’s darling little face, I could remember how it felt, how it knackered any pencil you tried to sharpen with it (not that I did that very often, figural erasers and sharpeners are for playing with, not for using for their intended purposes).
My memory’s pretty spotty, apparently that’s common for someone with the various issues I have and I’m not just really thick (I may disagree with assessment), it’s probably why I keep/buy/rebuy so much old crap, I find it easier to remember things as facts about something than remember things as memories. For instance I bought my original EPS at Basildon Zoo, once one of the worst zoos in the country – if you can think of everything that people criticize a theme park for, and everything they criticize a zoo for, Basildon was doing them all at the same time. They famously used to sell animals under the counter but the place was a depressing unkempt shithole without that, if you went there at night you’d’ve had a perfect level for a survival horror game - though I seem to remember it was where I first saw a Zeedonk. I only went 3 or so times before it was left to rot, I think I heard someone was building/had built houses on it? I dunno, I avoid Basildon at all costs.
It had this shitty, tiny little giftshop in this shitty, tiny little free-standing building that could very easily have been confused with the toilet block had it not been filled with rubber elephants and inflatable gibbons (all zoos stocked inflatable animals when I was small, now so few of them do, why is this? Surely inflatable monkeys can’t have fallen out of favour with children, how could such a thing be possible?) and that’s where my old one of these came from, a shitty building in miserable hole for exotic animals and families alike. I had forgotten most of this before rebuying the elephant, which I can’t believe I ever let it go; It used to be a little cute sidekick for the bigger toys!
It would be like
euthanising Snarf, ok bad example, like euthanising Orko, ok still a
bad example, um… like euthanising R2-D2, and who would do that? I’m glad I have
one again, and doubly glad that I didn’t have to go Basildon Zoo to get it.
I found another of my favourite of the original Chinasaurs, so you’re damn right I’m gonna take a nice picture of him and post it online somewhere. This one just expresses everything I like about the Chinasaurs, he’s a random lizard monsters who is loveably goofy presented to children as a real dinosaur AND he loves hugs!
Fairly Priced Toys!
£4 ($5.10) for both
God it bugs me when people charge a fair price for something, the nice bastards! See if they want too much for something and I can’t haggle them down, that’s just fine, I’ll throw it back on their table, act all righteous and indignant and I don’t have any regrets because it was overpriced and so fuck ‘em and fuck it. And obviously I don’t mind when people undercharge for things because I get it cheap, but when they want a fair price, and know it’s a fair price, but it’s a price that’s a little expensive (or very expensive) by bootsale standards, god damn them all to hell. Because I can’t fault them. I put back two different vintage E.T. toys this week, both were asking for a totally fair price for them but those prices were £20 and £15, cheap by convention or eBay standards but just too expensive for a bootsale where I don’t have a lot of money on me for the whole thing. I’m not rude to them, in fact I go out of my way to be nice to them because they’re doing nothing wrong but dammit it’s annoying, because I don’t end up with E.T. toys and I don’t have the moral high ground to sit on for comfort.
It’s even worse when the fair price is affordable. £2 for a medium Playmobil Dinosaur at a bootsale is about right, and £2 for that werewolf, which is from Doctor Who (from the less than stellar episode ‘Tooth and Claw’, the best thing about it is a namedrop for Ian Dury, well the werewolf’s pretty cool too I guess) is cheap, it’s not the most sought after or rare Who toy but it’ll still cost you about 7-8 quid at a convention. I have no choice, I gave him his £4, knowing full well that he had done nothing amiss but also knowing full well that £4 would go a lot further on other stalls, damn these fair bastards and their fair prices!
What the Hell! Where Did These Come From!?!
£1 ($1.28) for both
I’m a bit obsessed with the Thorpe Park Rangers, for my money the best theme park mascots of all time (Figment hates me), a band of anthropomorphic park rangers led by the burly Chief Ranger who kept Thorpe Park and the surrounding forest safe and clean by, presumably, Chief Ranger arm wrestling anything and everything. They were well designed, full of character, well used throughout the park and its publicity and were treated (and merchandised) like a big brand, the Ninja Turtles or Power Rangers or something and I’ve never forgiven that fucking cat, who was so disgusting 90’s extreme with so little irony or self-awareness he actually looked just like Poochie:
My personal favourite of all that merchandise was the small rubber figurines, like inflatable animals in zoos a once omnipresent toy in tourist attractions and Disney Store-style outlets that has seemingly become extinct (the Taz in the haul photo is one too, from the Warner Bros Store) but WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK IS THIS? I thought that there was only one figurine per Ranger – them in their Ranger uniforms – but now you tell me that there were MORE?!? I found Mr Rabbit first and through excited I assumed that it was just another old Mr Rabbit toy from when Mr Rabbit being the park’s mascot by his lonesome and that’s all the park had to merchandise (I have the regular Mr Rabbit figurine from that era) but then there’s that Chief Ranger, which made me VERY excited (I’m so saaaad!) and I can only assume that at some point Thorpe Park put out a wave of Rangers figurines with them in fancy dress, that means more Thorpe Park Ranger figurines and I am delighted. Aren’t you so glad I told you about this? well the six Thorpe Park fans my age are, ok? And now they know to look out for another set of Ranger figurines, this has actually been the most useful Bootsale Report for ages.
Scraping the Bottle of the Barrel!
50p (64¢) for the lot
And judging by the condition they were in, that barrel was an oil drum, a used oil drum, that someone had shat in.
Remember I said I had to really dig to find something worth buying early on? I did. Despite the huge amount of extra stalls few had anything remotely exciting, by the point of me buying these I think I’d bought the Anglia money box and the Lion Annual (which is damn good – a strip AND a text story each for Robot Archie, Spellbinder and Adam Eterno, plus an awesome Spider strip too). I usually ignore the ‘toot’ stalls, they’re usually about two to three stalls long, made up of piles or cardboard boxes full of dirty, random, broken crap all unloaded from a dirty, random, broken van, but I hadn’t found anything so I was looking everywhere AND I can spot a Monster in My Pocket from across the O2 so in I went. It was fucking filthy, the toys were in a little tangled pile, not even on the tarp but just dumped into some long grass, covered in strange black shit that seems to naturally form on really dirty second-hand things and Miles Mayhem had something stuck to his leg that was either a wet leaf or really old bubblegum, gag. But with some hot water, some Fairy Liquid, a miracle sponge and zero amounts of shame everything ended up with nice, clean, vintage toys from lines I really like but rarely get to buy from and a random robot with Megatron’s head.
You might be thinking ‘was it worth all that, going through that pile of dirty shit, risking tetanus, cleaning for ages, looking like a bin diving saddo then looking like a saddo who cleans his old toys that carefully, just to get a small amount of small toys that most people wouldn’t recognise or remember?’ and to that I reply ‘when was the last time you paid under 10p for a M.A.S.K. figure?’
The pink thing is the most noteworthy from a ‘squeezing paragraphs out of bootsale buys’ point-of-view, that’s Arnold the Elephant from the show Charlie Chalk, a kids show that occupies a very strange place in my personal history as all through my childhood my mum INSISTED that I loved it despite the fact that a) I didn’t and b) I’d never done or said anything to imply I did, she did this with Penguin bars too, I fucking hate Penguin bars. The show was about a bumbling clown twatting about on a tropical island that as called Merrytwit with a duck-man, a pink elephant, the most blatant lesbian couple in children’s television and Litterbug, who was the best thing in the show:
Arnold was pretty neat though, he was a clumsy, loveable chap who was bright pink and an elephant, sort of like Goofy mixed with Cedric Sneer and a posh gay guy. I honestly have no idea why mum decided that THIS was a show I adored, I only had a couple of episodes on video, on those children’s TV videos that were a dumping ground for Cosgrove Hall shows and Welsh shit, and they had Superted on ‘em! That is a teddy bear who is straight-up Shazam, and yet mum convinced herself it was Not-Charlie Chaplin I liked. Maybe I was watching the Litterbug episode.
I am genuinely going to watch the Litterbug episode of Charlie Chalk on the internet now, so see ya, thanks for readi… I really can’t believe Charlie Chalk was made by the same person who did Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings, The Wombles, The Magic Roundabout, The Herbs and fucking Paddington! All that great stuff, all the success of Postman Pat, and Ivor Wood ended up on Merrytwit. A terrible and baffling fate, still it could have been worse, he could have ended up working at Basildon Zoo (or just in Basildon).