With last year's Charity Shop Challenge I made no secret of the fact I deliberately chose locations that had in the past been good to me vinyl wise, so this year in a complete reversal I chose somewhere I've never knowingly ever set foot in:
I have to admit I know bugger all about Knutsford except I seem to remember David Beckham may have lived there at some point. One thing I certainly didn't know is that during the wilderness years a certain 60's LA rock icon settled here and opened a shop selling tables and cupboards.
Here's a pic of the main shopping street. Google says there are 3 charity shops around here, but, as we'll learn, Google lies.
First shop, Oxfam
The usual moderately interesting selection of over-priced LPs.
Toyed with buying a Johnny Otis LP but this chose itself, even at £7.99
Freddie Hubbard & Ilhan Mimaroglu "Sing Me a Song of Songmy"
Yeah I know it's a reissue but when I am I ever gonna find an OG. I remember the Wire giving a recent reissue quite a panning, and I can see where they were coming from. A mix of free jazz, (often) pretentious spoken word, Penderecki strings and musique concrete, it's perhaps better described as interesting rather than intriguing.
Total cost so far: £7.99
So off down the road with 79.9% of my budget blow I reach Barnardo's
Box of vinyl in window (why do they do that?) and a few 7"s on a shelf.
A few 80's 12"s I wouldn't mind but all knackered, as is this:
"Close Encounters of the First Kind" (Stereo Gold Award)
Been after one of these for a while for the synth stuff on the b side so I take the gamble only for it to prove unplayable once I get home. Not the end of the world.
Total cost so far: £8.98
Shop three: The Children's Adventure Farm Charity Shop
Nothing in here. Or these two that Google didn't seem to know about.
Cancer Research and Red Cross
Heck, this one appears to have closed down.
Only having ten minutes to get my train I take a gamble and head in the opposite direction from the station and quickly find what proves to be the last of the town's chazzas.
However they are all £2+ and they all suck. Did find this though which I'm very happy with.
And back to the station.
Now, one LP would be a pretty pathetic haul for any CSC so I have a back up plan, that being on the return journey to Stockport I'd jump off the train at Altrincham and to see what I could find there. However on the way out of Stockport I noticed there appeared to be plenty of shops in Hale so figuring it shouldn't be too hard to fritter an hour there instead.
Get off the train and I am immediately impressed with the station.
This really is hour a proper semi-rural station should look. It's got a level crossing and everything.
There's even a clock in the middle of a roundabout just as you go out the front entrance. Yes I think I like Hale, I certainly love it's railway station.
I'm feeling thirsty now as I've not had a drink for almost three hours and the suns shining a lot warmer than I expected. So having looked both ways and judged it safe to cross the road I head for the just out of picture Hale Newsagent.
Sccccrrrreeeech!!! "Stupid idiot! Try (incompressible)"
Some lady (my guess in her 50's) had came zooming over the level crossing in a new looking Jaguar and missed me by about 2 feet. I consider apologising but instead give her the old one finger salute and tell her to "Go f*** (her)self", then carry on on my way.
Pop into Hale Newsagent and pick up a can of Sunkist Pineapple juice only to be told it was going to cost me £1.75. Now in the space of one minute Hale has gone right down in my estimation.
"That sounds like a lot for a canned drink" I say. The shopkeeper starts laughing and says "Sorry, I meant 65p" and descends into a fit of giggles. I have a feeling he's tried this trick before with a surprising amount of the local bourgeois paying up unquestioningly.
So my mood lightened I head for the shops.
Turns out there are plenty of shops but only one chazza
No records here.
Actually, this is a really dull little town. So I head back to the station and spend twenty minutes reading a book ("Oh Mexico!" by Lucy Neville in case anyone's interested. Well written and entertaining but I really could do without all the lusting after her handsome flatmate) until the level crossing alarm goes off and my train comes round the bend.
Next stop Altrincham. However having improvised once I come over all confident and devil may care and decide to stay on until Stockport and from there get one of the frequent trains to Levenshulme, a place I haven't been to for a good couple of years.
Getting off at Levenshulme I almost walk straight into this (the son was shining right in my eyes)
It says Levenshulme in Arabic. And here's a photo of the station entrance nicked off Wikipedia because it's much nicer than the one I took.
However almost as soon as I get out of the station I spot a 192 bus, get on that and make the 3 minute trip to Longsite, another place I haven't visited for two or more years.
Get off the bus, walk down towards the market and "Holy sh*t! A charity shop. I really need to buy some more records or this CSC will look like a complete flop. Maybe they'll have some"
They haven't got any
Well, I seem to remember there's at least one more charity shop on the main road.
There is, the ever unreliable Islamic Relief
They do, literally half a dozen...
...and I actually buy one.
Enya "How Can I Keep From Singing?"
I like Enya so f*ck off all of you. That price tag's gonna take all my sticker removal knowhow.
Donovan "The Hurdy Gurdy Man"
The Donovan CD was a pretty random find among a pile of Mojo/Uncut freebies and CD-R copies of Phil Collins type albums.
Cost: £2.00 "the lot"
Total cost so far: £10.98
So I head back to Levenshulme on a 192, and get off when I spot one of these.
No records (obviously) but shedloads of cheap DVDs, including this.
I love the Carry On films. I don't care what you all think. Now got 17 on DVD, so another 14 to go.
Wander up and down the main road and it turns out there's now only one charity in Levenshulme, The Children's Society...
...and they've got records!
Michael Garrick Sextet "Promises"
Haven't played this yet but very happy to pick it up for 99p. Can never have to much Brit Jazz. Especially for 99p.
"Close Encounters of the First Kind" (Stereo Gold Award)
A mint up for a record bought approx 3 hours 45 minutes earlier. Honestly, you spend years looking for something and you turn up two in one afternoon.
And also purchase this for a very modest £2.99:
And that's that. Back to Stockport and disembark from train exactly where I started my first Charity Shop Challenge back in 2011...
And that's that.