Monday, 3 June 2019

03/06/19: Cuts Both Ways (British Heart Foundation)

British Heart Foundation, West Kensington. Cuts Both Ways by Gloria Estefan is one of those CDs you see a lot of in charity shops. The same goes for Starsailor and All Saints.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

03/04/19: Scary story (Sue Ryder)

Sue Ryder, West Kensington.
A female member of staff points at a 1970s/1980s hardback anthology of ghost stories and asks me:
“Sir, you don’t like horror, do you?”
“No, thanks, not for me,” I reply.
The woman turns to another customer and says: “That’s terrible. Everyone is scared for horror.”

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

19/03/19: CD bargains galore (British Heart Foundation)

British Heart Foundation, West Kensington. The quality of CDs in charity shops has gone up a lot lately – perhaps because of the silly "declutter" fad. These shelves included great albums by Elvis Costello, The Smiths, The Byrds, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie.

Monday, 21 January 2019

21/01/19: The Smiths (British Heart Foundation)

British Heart Foundation, West Kensington. "These are the riches of the poor."

Sunday, 6 January 2019

06/01/19: Double bass (Barnardo's)

Barnardo's, Whetstone . It's not often that you see one of these.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

15/12/18: Music books (North London Hospice)

North London Hospice, Whetstone. Left to right: Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Roxy Music, Johnny Marr, Keith Moon, Fleetwood Mac, John Lydon. I bought the Roxy and Zeppelin books. I already have the Moon, Mac and Lydon.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

13/10/18: CD shelf (North London Hospice)

North London Hospice, Whetstone. Loads of good stuff here today: Paul Simon, the complete Simon & Garfunkel, Dylan, Van, Beatles, Beach Boys, Joan Baez. Bruce Springsteen and so on. It was a bit like finding out that someone had raided my own collection and taken it to the charity shop.

Wait a minute...

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

27/06/18: My new favourite charity shop (Geranium Shops for the Blind)

Geranium Shops for the Blind, High Street Kensington. There was a huge cow sitting on a chair.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

17/06/18: Polar bear (boot sale, Brookmans Park)

Brookmans Park. Rather disturbing, especially since it was a real one.

Friday, 8 June 2018

07–08/06/18: Stack of 50p CDs (Geranium Shops for the Blind)

I was in High Street Kensington and tried the Oxfam. The CDs were priced at £2.99. I know it’s High Street Ken, where different rules apply and all that, but that still seems excessive for a CD these days.

Better bargains were to be had (just a few metres away and across the road) in Geranium Shops for the Blind, where I was able to buy the following CDs for 50p each:
• Booker T. & The MG’s – In the Christmas Spirit
• The Who – Tommy
• Marillion – Misplaced Childhood
• Mark Knopfler – Local Hero (the film soundtrack)
• Paul McCartney – Back in the World Live (a double set)

They also had a Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg album I would have liked, but it had the wrong disc inside the box. When I told the three kindly old people behind the till about this, the man tossed the mismatched items straight into the bin. (Let’s hope the correct disc doesn’t show up in another box and prompt a similar query from another customer.) There was a fee for using the card machine unless I spent £3, so I bought a £1 book to take the overall total to £3.50 – Michael Moorcock’s “Sci-fi Masterwork” Dancers at the End of Time.

I was so pleased with that little lot that I went back the next day and bought another CD – Ultimate Prince (a 28-track 2-CD compilation of hits and rare tracks released soon after his death in 2016.

When I was at the till getting ready to pay for Prince, the nice old lady said they had some other CDs and pulled out a large plastic bag for me. I went through those (along with another woman, who also seemed suddenly keen to rummage and possibly as thrilled as I was) and bought the following 50p bargains:
• The Beatles – Revolver
• Bruce Springsteen – Born in the U.S.A.
• Simon & Garfunkel – Greatest Hits
• Donna Summer – A Love Trilogy
• Donna Summer – Once Upon a Time
• The Bangles – Everything
• Tears for Fears – The Seeds of Love

I’m not sure I really want the Tears for Fears album, but clearly I had got slightly carried away in the excitement. Likewise, it turns out I already had the Bangles CD. But despite that, this was my best charity shop experience since Emmaus at All Saints (see HERE).

Thursday, 3 May 2018

03/05/18: Life for Rent (Emmaus)

Emmaus, Chipping Barnet. Dido's Life for Rent (2003) sold 12 million copies. Quite a few of them can now be seen in UK charity shops.

Monday, 23 April 2018

23/04/18: 1980s vinyl (North London Hospice)

North London Hospice, Whetstone. No Parlez is one of the most common charity shop LPs (see HERE). Of a similar-ish vintage are the second Bucks Fizz LP (Are You Ready, 1982) and a 12" of Madonna's "La Isla Bonita" (1987).

Saturday, 10 March 2018

10/03/18: Bond books (North London Hospice)

North London Hospice, Whetstone. Never read a Bond novel. Are they worth a go?

Sunday, 25 February 2018

25/02/18: Celine Dion (Dogs Trust)

Dogs Trust, Whetstone. They seemed to have pretty much the complete Celine Dion discography on CD. Unfortunately, I can't stand her music.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

24/02/18: The Who by Numbers (Cancer Research)

Cancer Research, North Finchley. Good to see another No Parlez. It is still THE charity shop LP. I bought the Heaven 17 album and the Sarah McLachlan CD. The album by The Who was missing the disc. But next to the empty sleeve was a different record called The Story of The Who – in badly scratched condition. I went to the till and asked if they had the record for The Who by Numbers and the sleeve for The Story of The Who, but they didn't, so they gave me both for free. So now I have an unplayable Who album in the wrong cover.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

10/02/18: Carly, Art and Doris (Barnardo's)

Barnardo's, Whetstone.

10/02/18: Bruce Springsteen mugs (North London Hospice)

North London Hospice, Whetstone. It's not often that you see a Bruce Springsteen mug in a charity shop, but today I saw two. I was slightly tempted to buy them, but only slightly.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

28/01/18: Royal wedding magazines (North London Hospice)

North London Hospice, North Finchley. These are the special souvenir issues of Radio Times and its rival, TV Times, brought out the week of the royal wedding of Charles (the Prince of Wales) and Lady Diana Spencer on 29th July 1981. They were going for £2 each, which may have been a bargain. That said, there would have been many millions printed. Of course the smiles and innocence would not last for long, but at the time it was presented as a modern-day fairytale. In 1992 they would be separated, in 1996 they would be divorced and in 1997 Diana would die in a car crash in Paris.

28/01/18: New charity shop in North Finchley

A new charity shop is always a cause for celebration. This RSPCA (Finchley, Golders Green, Hendon and District Branch) has just opened in North Finchey.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Friday, 22 December 2017

22/12/17: A Harry the Dirty Dog Treasury (North London Hospice)

North London Hospice, North Finchley. I found a Harry the Dirty Dog hardback anthology for £1.50 and was very pleased, having loved the original story as a child. In fact, I didn’t even know there were another two books, but all three were compiled in this volume. When I took it to the till, the young man said they were selling two children’s books for a pound. I said I just wanted this one, but that it cost £1.50. He explained that if I bought a second book the price of the pair would fall to £1. I thus began seeking another book and eventually elected a “how to draw comic characters” guide that I didn’t particularly want. He said “That’ll be one pound.” I passed him a £5 note. He said: “Do you want to pay by card or cash?” I thought he didn’t want to give change, so I said I could pay by card, but asked if there was a minimum. He said yes, and that it was £5. So we reverted to cash payment and I handed him the fiver I had been trying to give him all along. A fairly complex and time-consuming transaction, then, but I am happy with the book.

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).

Monday, 10 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)