Saturday, 25 November 2017

25/11/17: Street-Legal (Barnardo's)

Barnardo's, Whetstone. Was quite excited to find a vinyl copy of Bob Dylan's 1978 LP Street-Legal for a mere 49p. Sadly, there was no outer sleeve for it.

25/11/17: One Direction mugs (North London Hospice)

North London Hospice, Whetstone. Five 1D mugs in two different designs. While in the shop I was happy to hear "Hole in My Shoe" by Traffic and "Squeeze Box" by The Who on the radio.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

14/10/17: Blur (Barnardo's)

Barnardo's, Whetstone. The first six (of eight) albums by Blur.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

08/10/17: Madonna 'n' Britney (Dogs Trust)

Dogs Trust, Whetstone. Four Madonna CDs. Eight Britney Spears CDs!

08/10/17: Men Suits (Dogs Trust)

Dogs Trust, Whetstone. "We have in stock men suits. Please ask us to show you!"

Sunday, 24 September 2017

24/09/17: TSP (Boot sale, Brookmans Park)

Brookmans Park. Letters "T", "S" and "P" were available, with "ET" leaning on the car in the background.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

26/08/17: The Sound of Music and Big Wednesday DVDs (Cancer Research)

Cancer Research, North Finchley. The Sound of Music (1965) and Big Wednesday (1978) were a pound each and between them provided almost five hours of solid entertainment. One is about a nun-turned-governess in Austria. The other is about three friends who go surfing and slowly grow up as the world around them changes. The shadow of war (WWII and Vietnam) hangs over both stories, but that's about all they had in common.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

30/07/17: Boot sale, Brookmans Park

Back to the bootsale at Brookmans Park.

There were real dogs...

And less real dogs...
 Cats, too...
We bought two LEGO models. The tank was £1.50. I had to barter with a slightly intimidating skinhead boy, who – in the absence of any adults – seemed to have the authority to negotiate a price. The submersible was £1 and contained a minifigure. These were real bargains, as elsewhere a minifigure on its own was being sold for as much as £3.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

29/07/17: Charity shop hop, Finchley Central

1. North London Hospice. Bought All is Lost DVD, still shrink-wrapped, for £1. This is a tremendous film starring Robert Redford about a man whose boat sinks. Basically: Gravity at sea.

2. Cats Protection League. Joan Baez – "Silver Dagger" 7" EP was £1.99. Tempted, but didn't buy. Also on the shelves: several Duran Duran CDs.

3. Cancer Research. Several Primal Scream CDs, plus an entire shelf of guitar tutorial CDs. There was a man sneezing a bit too close to me, so I didn't hang around.

4. Sue Ryder. Seriously overpriced. A Shirley Bassey vinyl compilation was £3.50. A water-damaged paperback was £2. No, thanks.

5. All Aboard. Tiny selection of CDs virtually hidden behind the till, making for awkward browsing.

6. Oxfam – small shop, overpriced vinyl. Weary by this point. Headed back to the car in the rain.

29/07/17: Charity shop hop, North Finchley

1. The Bothy – saw a white-label record with a message written on the sleeve: "To Steve, Thought this would be a good first record. Good luck, Sam." But what's on the record? Nearly bought the Substance CD by Joy Division. Not sure why I didn't, actually.

2. Cancer Research was closed, even though the list on the door said it should have been open for an hour already.

3. All Aboard. Plenty of DVDs. "Two books for 50p" special offer still running, but couldn't find two I wanted. Or even one. Nearly bought £1 vinyl copies of Commoners Crown by Steeleye Span and Johnny Cash and His Woman, but they were both too beaten up.

4. North London Hospice. Nearly bought CDs by the Sex Pistols (NMTB), Queen (Greatest Hits) and Talking Heads (Stop Making Sense), but again the condition wasn't quite good enough. Various Anne McCaffrey fantasy novels on the crowded bookshelves.

5. RFFR. Bought three vinyl LPs for £1 each:
Many a Mile by Buffy Sainte-Marie (1965).
Back Home Again by John Denver (1974).
Songs of the British Isles by Nana Mouskouri (1976; one of 200-plus albums Nana released).

Sunday, 9 July 2017

09/07/17: Boot sale, Brookmans Park

I know it's not a "charity shop", but...

A hot day. We arrived at 10:45, just 15 minutes before the £1 entry fee was reduced to 50p, but they only charged us 50p anyway. It was a delight to walk up and down the 12 or so long aisles of stalls and tables set up in the big field. Some people don't even bother with a table and just spread out their items on bin liners on the grass. After a certain amount of rummaging by punters, these items can end up being a big, random heap of clothes, toys and other bits and pieces. Your commitment to bargain-hunting can be measured by how willing you are to sift through piles of almost-rubbish to find the gems.

There were many unusual items on offer, from a table painted or stencilled with "The Clash" to old mobile phones (some of them encrusted with dirt and mud) that seemed unlikely to ever work again. There were several old-school telephones as well.

There were fewer books this time, and not many vinyl LPs. A lot of fidget spinners, though – both second-hand and "new". With the craze already over, these are going to start becoming very common in charity shops.

I didn't have much change (lesson learned for next time), so was unable to indulge in buying numerous CDs. I did buy one. "How much are the CDs?" I asked the young lady at the stall? "Depends which ones," she replied. "Bruce Springsteen," I said, holding up a copy of Tunnel of Love. "50p," she said.

After an hour or so, the most urgent purchase was something to drink. "How much is a bottle of water?" "That's one pound, love."

One of the sellers had already had enough before midday, announcing that she was going home to drink cider in her garden. And who could blame her?

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

04/07/17: Spitalfields Crypt Trust

Always pleased to find a new charity shop. This one was in All Saints, near the market and just a couple of minutes from Emmaus.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

02/07/17: Row of CDs (Cancer Research)

North Finchley. Nice row of CDs on the shelf, including...

• Portishead – Dummy (fairly common)
• Belle & Sebastian – two CD singles
• Belle & Sebastian – Storytelling (was tempted to buy this, but didn’t)
Strictly Commercial: The Best of Frank Zappa (very unusual to see any Zappa in a charity shop)
• R.E.M. – Murmur (a nice change: usually you find at least one copy of Monster)
24-Hour Party People (film soundtrack)
• Goldfrapp – Black Cherry (two copies: see this one a lot)
• Art Garfunkel – Across America (was tempted to buy this, but didn’t)
• Supergrass – Life on Other Planets
• Daft Punk – Discovery
• Daft Punk – Homework
• Van Morrison – Audley End (a live concert bootleg: tempted, but only slightly)
• Oasis – Be Here Now (three copies: this can be found almost anywhere)

Saturday, 1 July 2017

01/07/17: Mugs (North London Hospice)

North London Hospice, Whetstone. Bought a profoundly unattractive One Direction mug, showing the idiotic singing clowns with ludicrously long hair.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

24/06/17: Going for Bust

Swanage has a new charity shop! Going for Bust: Fighting Breast Cancer in Dorset & Hants. I celebrated by buying two 50p novels – The Plague Dogs and Shardik by Richard Adams.

Friday, 23 June 2017

23/06/17: A brief charity shop hop around North Finchley

In All Aboard, they were selling all books for 50p and they had a buy-one-get-one-free offer. It seemed like a great deal until I actually started going through them and found a disappointing array of old cookery titles, shoddy thrillers and romantic fiction. Someone had donated an entire shelf of Star Trek novels. Looked at the 50p CDs, but there was very little of interest. They had the usual copy of Rockferry by Duffy, which can be found in every charity shop in the UK. I didn't buy anything.

In the trying-on booth, a woman was trying on summer tops without having closed the curtain. She seemed quite happy to do this in full view of the customers, even though she had nothing on underneath.

In North London Hospice I bought one book (Thomas Wolfe's 1935 autobiographical novel Of Time and the River: £1) and one CD (Vanessa Paradis by Vanessa Paradis: £1). They had a live-from-Glastonbury broadcast on the radio, and a woman was singing along to the music to entertain her young child in the pram.

In British Heart Foundation I looked at the books and CDs, but they only seem to stock new and recent-ish items now. That's fine if you want last year's "beach read", but not if you have more exotic tastes.

Looked at the T-shirts. The only music shirt was for Oasis. No thanks.

I couldn't put it off any longer, so I went to have my hair cut.

Monday, 29 May 2017

29/05/17: Dance CDs (Barnardo's)

It was a bank holiday, but all three of the Whetstone charity shops were open. In Barnardo's, Whetstone, there were several dance CDs – Squarepusher, Prodigy, Boards of Canada, Orbital, Aphex Twin, and some drum and bass compilations. I restrained myself from buying anything.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

06/05/17: Everyman's Library Classics (North London Hospice)

North London Hospice, North Finchley. I'm fond of the Everyman's Library classics series and was happy to see a selection of them for sale. Thought about it a bit, then went back the next day and bought four of them:
• Charles Dickens – Little Dorrit
• Charlotte Bronte – Vilette
• D. H. Lawrence – Sons and Lovers
• Thomas Hardy – The Woodlanders
Many happy hours of reading ahead.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

25/03/17: L'Image head (Cancer Research)

Cancer Research, North Finchley. Price sticker (£5) on forehead. Gift aid sticker on cheek.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

22/03/17: Mountain of CDs (Emmaus)

Emmaus, All Saints, London, E14. The best ever charity shop visit. When they saw me scrutinising the shelves and piling up a shortlist of possible purchases, the kind staff brought out two large crates full of discs and let me work my way through them. I entered a state of high excitement when I saw the diverse riches on offer. My eyes were spinning round like a madman's. Eventually, after narrowing it down a bit, I bought 24 albums for 50p each (total: £12):
• The Beatles – 1
• Blur – The Best Of (2-CD version with live disc)
• Bruce Springsteen – The Ghost of Tom Joad
• Dexter Gordon – Go!
• Dexys Midnight Runners – Searching for the Young Soul Rebels
• Echo & The Bunnymen – Songs to Learn & Sing
• Elvis Costello – My Aim is True (Demon version with 22 tracks)
• Elvis Costello – When I Was Cruel
• Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint – The River in Reverse
• Elvis Presley – Elvis: NBC TV Special
• Joe Jackson – Look Sharp
• John Coltrane – Coltrane / Lush Life (two albums on one CD)
• Johnny Cash – American III: Solitary Man
• Johnny Cash – American IV: The Man Comes Around
• Kate Bush – 50 Words for Snow (still shrinkwrapped)
• King Creosote – From Scotland with Love
• Lloyd Cole – Lloyd Cole
• Love – Forever Changes
• Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus (two CDs)
• Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Nocturama
• Ravi Shankar – Portrait of Genius / Sound of the Sitar (two CDs in a slipcase)
• Super Furry Animals – Phantom Power
• The Who – Who's Next
• The Who – Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy

Also bought one book for £1:
• Mick Houghton – I've Always Kept a Unicorn: The Biography of Sandy Denny.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Sunday, 22 January 2017

22/01/17: Graffiti Bridge/Taxi (North London Hospice)

In North London Hospice, North Finchley, I was pleased to find Prince's Graffiti Bridge and Bryan Ferry's Taxi. I heard the former when it came out, and recall it not being especially good – Prince was in decline post-Lovesexy (1988) – but for £1 it seemed worth another play. Bryan Ferry was well past his best by 1993, but this also seemed worth the "gamble" for a quid. Original HMV prices were £12.99 and £11.99.

22/01/17: Cher – Believe (British Heart Foundation)

British Heart Foundation, North Finchley. They had a CD sale and seemingly quite a few copies of Cher's 1998 album Believe.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Sunday, 8 January 2017

08/01/17: Beach Boys/Simon & Garfunkel/Wolf of Wall Street (Cancer Research)

Cancer Research, Finchley Central. For one pound each I bought the Beach Boys' Surf's Up and Holland, Simon & Garfunkel's The Concert in Central Park and the DVD of The Wolf of Wall Street.
I asked my little helper to select one album to play first. Holland was the preferred choice.
Even a wolf needs to sleep sometimes.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

29/12/16: Millennium Falcon (Dogs Trust)

Dogs Trust, Whetstone. This model Millennium Falcon was priced at £40, despite missing the cockpit piece. Not exactly a bargain. However, it soon sold.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

28/12/16: The Very Best of Julie London (R.F.F.R.)

RFFR, North Finchley. I saw this CD the other day and was tempted, but foolishly bought a disappointing Carly Simon CD instead (see HERE). Passing R.F.F.R. today, I was delighted to see that Julie had waited for me. Two discs and 50 tracks for a mere 50p – that's one penny per track: not bad going in 2016's broken Brexit Britain. Interestingly, both Carly and Julie cover Cole Porter's "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye".

28/12/16: Frog and rabbit (North London Hospice)

North London Hospice, North Finchley. I was very sorry to hear that the author Richard Adams died on Christmas Eve. Maybe I was just feeling sad about all the famous people passing away this week (Rick Parfitt, Carrie Fisher, Liz Smith, etc), but this frog/rabbit scenario suddenly seemed like a bad-dream version of Watership Down.

Monday, 19 December 2016

19/12/16: Star Wars figurines (North London Hospice)

North London Hospice, Whetstone. Figures include Watto (not to scale), a stormtrooper, Darth Maul, Han Solo, Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padme Amidala, R2-D2, Chewbacca and an Ewok.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

17/12/16: Back Into the System (R.F.F.R.)

RFFR, North Finchley. Was tempted by Julie London (who wouldn't be?), but ended up buying a Carly Simon CD called Film Noir. Mike Peters' Back Into the System was signed by the former star of The Alarm himself. The gold writing looks like it says: "To Rennie with respect Mike Peters". Clearly the respect wasn't mutual.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

03/12/16: I Love Rock 'n' Roll (All Aboard)

All Aboard, North Finchley. I very nearly bought this copy of I Love Rock 'n' Roll by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, but the pages of the booklet were stuck together. Instead, I bought The Visitors by Abba on CD – a masterful album – for £1.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

03/09/16: Dylan (Barnardo's)

Barnardo's, Whetstone. You don't often see Bob Dylan CDs in charity shops, but here were four of his albums, alongside Chris Rea, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits and The Faces.