Monday 28 August 2017

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 17

Welcome to the last Bootsale Report of the year, and given how jumbled and rotten the last one was that’s probably a good thing.

Still I’m feeling it a lot more today, and by ‘it’ I mean gross amounts of pain. I managed to bruise a bunch of ribs on Clacton-on-Sea’s rollercoaster Stella’s Revenge because the ride is a broken piece of shit that was manned by a fucking tool - now I can’t bend down, run, belch or take deep breaths without searing pain. “So why did you walk around a bootsale all morning then dwietfry, you utter prat?” because I’d already said I would is the fairly boring answer, this was our second time ‘doing’ a bootsale this season (so we had a stall) and I said I’d help my mum sell off some more of my late grandfather’s stuff (mostly fishing paraphernalia that sells surprisingly fast) and it was actually a good thing. I went for a wander ‘round the (rather small) bootsale and was able to just (cliché incoming) loose myself, focussing on lots of things that weren’t constant pain for a couple of hours I was if not happy then at least peaceful – and not in pain, have I used the word ‘pain’ enough to get across how uncomfortable I’ve been for the last week? And of course I bought some shit:

‘Weird’ is my assessment of that haul, and not just because it features Shrek, a pile of rotting flesh, Wile E. Coyote, whatever those things down the front are (we’ll get to them) and a seal in a wetsuit and goggles (his name’s Zoggy). I can’t really put my finger on why my purchases seem odd; perhaps ‘atypical’ is better? It just feels weird, what it isn’t is sucky – at least not to me – you may have your own opinions on what I buy and that opinion may very well be ‘why?’ but for me this spread is made of excitement and personal achievements in shopping. I would have liked to have pulled in some more action figures, I came home with a measly 6 (seven if you count the gorilla, I’m not counting Captain Scarlet as he’s in fact a fully articulated torch – no I didn’t know such things existed either) but otherwise this is win, win and more win for me, allow me to elaborate on that. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Spider-Man on the PlayStation!
50p (64¢)
For those of you imaginary readers who didn’t live through the 32-bit generation: this was our Batman: Arkham Asylum. Feel free to look up footage of it YouTube and the laugh in a completely mocking fashion but I’m not bullshitting you; for the first time players really felt like they were Spider-Man, swinging around a 3D environment and meeting up with classic foes (Dr Octopus, Rhino, Scorpion) and allies (Daredevil, Human Torch, Black Cat) in a plot seemingly written for the Spider-Man’s comics based around Spider-Frenemy Venom. It was great, I haven’t played it since about 2002 though so I can’t tell you how well it holds up from first-hand experience – I haven’t had a chance to play this version because I decided that after having woken up at 4am and spending 8 hours at a bootsale the best thing to do was to go out to a friend’s house till nearly midnight – with a few rows of bruised ribs. I’m a fucking idiot. But if I’m right – and my movements on Sunday the 29th of August prove that this isn’t always the case – this game is still sweet as BUT for 50p it could be Bubsy 3D I’d still be happy (I actually own a copy of Bubsy 3D still, I bought it from a now extinct chain store called Gamestation where the bloke behind the counter was a pony-tailed turd who used to scoff at everything I bought, he flat out laughed when I bought this and talked to me like I was mentally four. I tried to explain that I knew it was awful and that was why I was buying it – to experience it for myself – but as he considered himself head and shoulders above every other creature in existence he wasn’t convinced and I felt about 2cm tall. I paid 99p for it - I know that because it still has the sticker on the case, even old FIFA games weren’t as cheap as that in Gamestation).

Frufoo Prizes!
£1.50 ($1.93) for all
Welcome to madness, courtesy of Onken! No these aren’t Japanese, they are in fact German and were the prizes fount in the centre of Frufoo, a UFO themed fromage frais that was sold in flying saucers, hold on I have an image *rummages ‘round my files, which seems to consist mostly of She-Hulk cosplay, Samantha Fox photos and TMNT merchandise pictures* here:

This was a thing in the 1990s and until about a week ago I was sure this concept was the result of my memories combining Fiendish Feet (yogurt in collectible, unusually shaped containers) and P.E.T. Aliens (mini-figures sold in UFO shaped packets) into a misremembering that you could get UFO fromage frais with a mini-figure in the middle. Nope, completely real and knowing this made me feel really good but not as good as seeing a little box of the toys at a bootsale. For 10p each I was able to reclaim this misty, out-of-focus and half-remembered part of my childhood and allow it to become crystal clear. Of course now it’s crystal clear I can see how fucking mental these things were and it’s brilliant – there is a ghost wearing a space helmet so it can breathe in space, there is a Martian kangaroo from a farm-themed wave of toys, a cat playing drums, a bear dressed as a strawberry and those…those spheres on legs. I’d completely forgot these but once I saw them again? Vivid memories of mingling the apple, strawberry and bear with My Pet Monster and Kinder Surprise toys in my extension did flood back to me - they all spoke with squeaky voices and even monsters thought they were scary. 

Wile E. Coyote!
£3 ($3.87)
As I only had five Examples chosen for post I’m going to use the spare space and this great little action figure to illustrate why I choose the things I do for these posts even though they’re often the less impressive buys. Tyco brought this out as part of a full-on Looney Tunes assault on toy stores in 1994 and I still think that their large talking figures are the best Marvin and Taz figures ever made. This was stuck at the back of a toy stall, I saw it, I wanted it, I asked the price and it was so pleased with the response I didn’t even contemplate haggling: I just handed over three pound coins, threw Acme’s best customer in my sack (I had a sack by this point) and wandered away.  That is generally the story behind a lot of the things bought at bootsales, Wile E. Coyote here was a great find, so was the large Chap Mei gorilla, so was the two Real Monsters toys, so was the Kenner Predator, but their stories are all the same and those stories aren’t very entertaining and that’s why I give these articles over to fromage frais prizes and shark games.

The Legend of Lord Snooty!
£1 ($1.29)
Fuck yeah! I am the only person under 60 who prefers Lord Snooty to Dennis the Menace and I don’t care! Dennis can be funny yes but ultimately he’s a bully whereas Lord Snooty is a genuinely nice kid without the self-importance and prejudice that should have been bred into him as the Earl of Bunkerton. Of course Lord Snooty & His Pals the strip had its own issues and that means we can use this book to play a favourite game of mine: How Much of the Racism Did They Leave In?! Snooty reprints are great for this game because his second set of pals (they changed them mid-way through the strip’s very long life, don’t ask) included Polly Wolly Doodle, a caricature of black people on the most offensive of levels – you know that centaur that Disney cut out of Fantasia? Yeah, worse than that - in one strip I’ve got somewhere she’s seen chewing a brick because Black people are stupid right? Right? urrrgh – everyone involved in Polly Wolly Doodle should be ashamed. The answer to How Much of the Racism Did They Leave In? Almost none, if Polly was in any of these strips - and I’m pretty sure she was – she’s been removed from them completely for this book. I’ll leave that up to you to decide if that’s a good thing or not but it does make enjoying jokes about pre-fab housing, class warfare and Nazis a lot more comfortable.
Also, fun fact: I had the Desperate Dan entry in this series and I used to keep cuttings from Page 3 in it when I was about 13, and I can admit this because a) I have no shame and b) none of my family read this shit.

Shark Chase!
£2 ($2.58)
What a pleasant surprise this was. A pretty fun little board game, you attach the shark to the centre of the board via a little bracket and turn him on, he then moves around the board and you have to scramble to get your fish the fuck out of there, a race against the shark if you will. But who gives a toss, ask a 70’s kid about The Game of Jaws and 86 times out of 100 they’ll tell you something along the lines of ‘fuck it, I just wanted a huge shark to play with my Megos/Barbies/Action Men/G.I. Joes/etc’ – Shark Chase is the 90’s kid’s The Game of Jaws. Personally speaking everyone from the Incredible Crash Dummies to Care Bears have faced this shark at some point between 1990 and 1996-ish. Having lost everything from my childhood game all I wanted out of this set was, of course, the shark and I’d’ve been more than happy to pay 2 quid for that and a box I’d throw away but this thing is 100% complete, an unbroken bracket, all four fish, the dice and that beautifully painted board. Shark Chase (known as Shark Attack in the US) is back on sale but it’s far less thanks to an obligatory make-over using average computer generated graphics to replace these gorgeous painted cartoons, it’s a real case of new doesn’t always mean better, also the current game costs about £15 where as you can clearly get the original, superior version for £2, complete with only some box damage.  So yeah, I got a lot more than I wanted and I’m well chuffed.

£2 ($2.58)
I was down for buying this if it was just a particularly high quality Halloween decoration, these sort of large foam rubber all hallows novelties aren’t cheap and aren’t available in the 150 flavours you can get them in the US so this was well worth grabbing. The woman who was running the stall (which mostly sold toys for young children) thought it was a generic zombie but I was sure I recognised it, not that it really mattered, it’s a monster toy work of art even if it isn’t connected to any pre-existing IP. While taking in all of its magnificence I found on the foot ‘© Universal Studios’ and I came a little closer but still I couldn’t get it. I wasn’t actually walking ‘round the bootsale at this point, I’d just popped away from the stall for a slash and seen this on the way back so I didn’t have a bag or anything, just Zombie John here. so I’m walking back looking at him and then it crawls out of my mind, it didn’t hit me, it creeps out of the battered, water damaged encyclopaedia of my brain and pleased as punch I held this toy up and said aloud ‘It’s Imhotep!’ and not missing a beat the woman behind the random stall I’d stopped in front of went “well done”.
So yeah it took me a little while to get there but its Imhotep, Universal’s Mummy as played by Arnold Vosloo in 1999’s The Mummy – the one with Brendan Fraiser in it. I utterly delight in that film! I like the Universal original, I like the Hammer version, I’m not saying the Brendan Fraiser one is better than those I just really enjoy a good viewing of the 1999 Mummy – it’s funny, it’s action packed, it’s creepy, it’s got Omid Djalili in it and it’s so quotable. I’ve never seen this doll before though; I don’t remember this being out around the time of either The Mummy or The Mummy Returns, is it a more modern thing related to Tomb of the Dragon Emperor? If so why? - Imhotep wasn’t in that film. Is it a Universal Parks thing? Sold in the Revenge of the Mummy gift shop or something like that? Was it just knocked out for Target one Halloween alongside a Karloff Frankenstein and a Chaney Wolf Man? I need to know because dammit it’s wonderful.

There you are, this rounds up another Bootsale season and further proves that my life is in a rut, going nowhere and I’m just using commercialism to temporarily hide this from myself. It’s been a dirty, hot season but a fruitful and often enjoyable one, it’s a shame to round things off in terrible pain – FEEL BAD FOR ME – but it’s nice to go out on a high note and coming home with a shark, a gorilla and a mummy should always be considered a high note, thanks for reading (all summer).

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