Sunday 14 May 2017

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 12!*

Today I went to a bootsale in the rain. If you can’t see the problem with going to an entirely outdoor market with absolutely no cover when its pissing out let me enlighten you: you get wet, and everything you might want to buy either gets wet or gets covered up so it doesn’t get wet so you spend a lot of time walking around, getting wet, looking at nothing. It’s not exactly harrowing but it is fucking boring. “Oh we’re up now” the rest of the people I was going with said “we might as well go, it’s only supposed to be showers” it was showers, about three altogether that lasted for about half the time we was there, in-between it was very sunny, turning the field – and the inside of my coat – into a tropical climate… but I’m glad I listened to them:

It’s not a great haul, but given that it was the exact opposite of bootsale weather, coming home with anything at all is worth being chuffed about, let alone coming home with Mr Pricklepants! And of this meagre selection six of them (the dinosaur, the white guy, the van, the police bike and the robot respectively) are top buys, items that I’ve been looking for for a while and genuinely collectible with a notable resale value, or tl;dr they cost a lot at conventions. Also Wolfcop on DVD. So are you sitting com…oh, no hang on, I totally have to show you these:

I didn’t buy them because even I have limits but I had to take a picture, they’re not quite on par with the Anti-Terrorism Super Gun in terms of sheer shameless cluelessness but I think we can all enjoy the Samurai Gun Special, y’know a firearm for those warriors who didn’t use firearms and the brutal simplicity of FIGHT GUN. Now with that shared, are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.   

Reader’s Digest Gets Morbid!
50p (64¢)
A child bullied me into buying this.
She caught me flicking through it and just kept telling me it was 50p, moving closer with each announcement, I thought she was going to square up to me. Her mum was on the phone meeting my eyes with a look of ‘I dunno, I can’t control the creature, just give her money and maybe she’ll back off, it works 7 out of 10 times with us’. So to avoid getting into a fight with (and almost certainly loosing too) a four year old (she was little but wiry, like a mongoose with a ponytail) I just gave her the 50p and scampered away, hoping she wouldn’t follow and duff be up ‘round the back of the chemical khazis. Thankfully she stayed to extort money from more unwary buyers and I was able to regain my composure and work on convincing myself that I am, in fact, an alpha male.  The book’s actually quite good, ranging from the generic (famine in Africa) to specific catastrophes (the Titanic) all in that Reader’s Digest style of writing and even as dirty as it was (this is after a few wet wipes and some Fairy Liquid) it was well worth 50p of protection money. 

£3 ($3.87)
This alone was worth getting wet for, to pay less than a fiver for a Robo Force figure I’d let it bloody hail on me. This big house clearance stall had three Robo Force figures, three, but only Enemy was in good enough condition for me to buy (they had Hun-Dred, the Skeletor of Robo Force and easily one of my top 100 action figures but his arm was broken, it made me sad, I lovingly touched his angry beetle head in tribute, then washed my hand). This was not a clean toy, in fact it was a dirty week in general, the mixture of rain and accumulated dirt from various attics and sheds is not a pleasant one but even as mucky as he was, and with a peeling sticker (I’ve since stuck it) Enemy was a fucking steal and he is my new best friend. If you’ve never owned a Robo Force toy and can’t see the appeal I would like to tell you that they are big, angry, chunky, give hugs and those suckers they stand on are like fucking super glue, they can and will stick to anything: Enemy stuck fast to an old trunk when all I did was put him down to give the stallholder (who was wearing a bowler hat and shorts - good man) the money, these are the all-terrain vehicles of action figures.  

Stone Cold Steve Austin!
70p (90¢)
If y’wanna see dwitefry spend a whole paragraph doin’ a bad Stone Cold impression gimme a hell yeah! Have you seen this figure? Je-sus Christ son get serious, they made ol’ Stone Cold look like a confused Simon Pegg and then had him write his name across his jeans because apparently Austin 3:16 says “I sign mah own crotch”. The whole thing’s so goddamn ridiculous and yet so goddamn awesome there weren’t no way we was leaving without it an’ anyway even when he’s comically out of proportion the Rattlesnake’s still the meanest son of a bitch that ever lived and that’s the bottom line, cos Stone Cold said so.

Joker Van!
£4 ($5.16)
While certainly in ‘played with’ condition I’ve wanted one of these for years and having one in my hand that was an affordable price I just couldn’t put it down. It’s more of my ‘so ridiculous it’s awesome’ thing, it really does look like for all the world that The Joker has given up being the Clown Prince of Crime and become the Crown Prince of Furniture Removals or possibly just taken to transporting the forty cakes Lex Luthor steals. It’s just so silly but then it’s The Joker, if any villain was going to steal a bakery van, paint it bright purple then slap giant stickers of their face on it and then actually use it for larceny then the Joker’s than villain. Hell he probably has a fleet of them and made sure to use actual baked goods in the crimes he uses them for, just for the sake for theming. This is why The Joker is better than most other supervillains, yes purple vans make you superior to robots who’ve killed countries and alien robots that have bottled cities, I don’t make the rules, I just live by ‘em.

Odds & Sods!
Approx. £2.20 ($2.84) the lot
The thinness of this week’s haul allows me to spotlight a constant in all my bootsale shopping, The Odds & Sods. If you look through all of the haul photos in the Bootsale Reports on this site you’ll see that they’re all padded out with a number of random, worthless and often small toys that are sometimes Pokémon. They rarely-to-never get spotlighted and you might not even consciously notice them (if you existed) but they make each Bootsale special, you never know what they’ll be and they never disappoint. How they get bought ranges from me actually going to the stall purposefully to purchase them to thinking ‘well I’m already buying five things from this box, I might as well make it six’ they’re not stuff I actually ‘collect’ or things that I’d ever buy new or search for on eBay but they do usually tie into some obsession I have. Like the Pokémon, I only really ‘collect’ the Gen 1 & 2 toys but I’ll buy any Pokémon that I half-way like if it’s cheap, the little hollow Pokémon (represented in this photo by a super deformed Zekrom, the black lizard thing in the bottom right corner) are always cheap so it’s common for me to come home with one. Bootsales are generally a lot more productive if you’re easily pleased, I think that’s why children like them so much, I am very easy to please FOR EXAMPLE: that Playmobil skeleton is, to me, perfect - it’s the reanimated skeleton of a Playmobil figure, think about that for a minute - and the lady gave it to me for free (I bought some other stuff from her). That genuinely cheered me up and made the rain feel a little warmer during the next shower, sure I was wet, cold and muddy but I got a free Playmobil skeleton, man. FOR EXAMPLE: I will buy any gorilla that looks remotely King Kong-esque but as for the shark, I was chatting with another bloke looking through the Dirty Stall (that was something this week, the rain had turned the inexplicable dirt to inky ecto-plasm, but apparently I’m happy to dig through black slime if there’s the off chance there might be Ninja Turtles there and so was this bloke) and I said to him “if that shark squeaks I’m buying it” “squeeze it” says the other nerd - now invested, the shark squeaks, we were both genuinely happy, I bought him, god he was filthy but now he’s clean and I have a small squeaky shark in my life, I think I’ll call him Shawn. It pays to find joy in little small things, especially squeaky rubber sharks.

Space Precinct Police Bike!
£5 ($6.44)
Man I wish this bloke had had all of his stall out, he had this and rows of carded Legends of the Dark Knight and Phantom Menace stuff, if that was the shit he was willing to let get wet I’d’ve loved to have seen what else he had. Anyway I used to have a complete set of Space Precinct figures and vehicles but they all disappeared, perhaps victims of the Great Crush Dummies Box Disaster, so now I’m gradually reacquiring the set. It’s not too difficult because it seems nobody but me likes or even remembers the show (which I consider to be Gerry Anderson’s Babylon 5) or their toys so there’s not really any competition and sellers have no respect for them thus you can, for instance, get a carded vehicle for a fiver off some bloke at a bootsale, or pay 50p for a figure off another bloke from a bootsale. You can’t do that with Masters of the Universe, or even the other Gerry Anderson toylines of the 90’s like Thunderbirds of Captain Scarlet (which I’m also having to rebuy, having lost nearly all of them too). So what I’m saying is, learn to respect Space Precinct but not before I buy a boxed Police Cruiser.

Two Foot of Dinosaur Magazines!
£5 ($6.44)
So these were those scam magazines you see advertised every January: “buy a magazine for a fiver reach month and build a scale model of the Titanic, first issue only 50p” those things. I totally bought into that as a kid and between Dinosaurs! and How My Body Works my mum was putting our newsagents kids through college. Each issue of Dinosaurs! was focussed on a specific dinosaur and was filled with a bunch of stuff like 3D double page spreads, ‘Ask the Expert’ pages full of facts and even little comics (the one in the first issue was the discovery of the Iguanodon) and yes this is all from memory.  These 9 binders contain nearly 100 issues of Dinosaurs! and all but 1 of the trading cards that came with them, I don’t know how two 14 year old girls came to have these (or why 14 year old girls feel the need to wear nothing but strappy tops and short shorts in a downpour) but in terms of buying back my youth this is the fucking motherload. Of course once you’ve bought 9 binders full of magazines you now have to figure out what to do with them and how, luckily the uncomfortably scantily clad jailbait had many a Tesco’s Bag for Life but we were miles from the car and the rain was starting and they were heavy and you fuck around for five minutes getting rained on before just deciding to take them back to the vehicle and get wet. It was so worth it, this is a better collection than I ever had a child and I am going to savour pouring over them, living on Toffee Crisps and Fanta I will not being leaving my room until Thursday, I will once again know everything that there was to know (in 1993) about Pachyrhinosaurus.     

In fact I’m starting right now, thanks for reading another one of these, see yourself out. 


  1. The Joker van was actually in the movie, for about two seconds, parked outside the museum. It had other scenes that were shot and cut for time. Two such vans were built especially for the film. I haven't been able to determine what it was before they stripped it down and built a new body over it - nobody can seem to decide if it was a Chevrolet or an International - nor am I entirely certain why this was done rather than using it as-is. I suspect it was because they wanted to avoid paying an existing car company licensing fees for the inevitable merchandise, of which, obviously, there was a ton despite almost all the van's screentime being cut (though the different toys were all completely different models of van anyway; ToyBiz's in particular was a 60s-era Ford Econoline or Dodge). The two vans used in filming have a particularly sad fate, unfortunately; in addition to the vehicle being almost entirely excised from the film, the two vehicles wound up in a junkyard after filming and have rusted away ever since. Last I checked, they're in awful shape.

  2. As to why the Joker used a step van in the 1989 film, judging by the novelization it's because it was just a handy way to transport multiple people at once - and he had a lot of henchmen to cart around with him everywhere. The van plus the two purple and green sedans were chosen purely for economy's sake, but the Joker being, well, the Joker had to jazz them up in his loud neon color scheme.