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Gingham Kitchen faces the £10 Charity Challenge

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  • Gingham Kitchen faces the £10 Charity Challenge

    The Set Up:

    Doncaster is a town of contrasts: for every Diana Rigg born there is a Brian Blessed; for every John McLaughlin a Lesley Garrett; for every normal, rational, liberal, interesting and entertaining human being there is a Jeremy fucking Clarkson.

    On its arse for the best part of 30 years, my adopted hometown has enjoyed a renaissance of late, prompted, of course, by my arrival in 2001 and a hundred million quid from the EU (who deem the whole of South Yorkshire an ‘area of extreme poverty’ - cheers). Previous charity shop expeditions have had mixed results: disappointing and mediocre, but I set out on the challenge wide-eyed with hope, ten pounds in my purse and a lunch hour and a half to spend it in…

    The Disguise:

    I liberally doused myself with Hai Karate (not my normal aftershave) before setting out. This was more of a diversionary measure than a disguise: I’m pretty sure that although the people I encountered en route will remember me, it would be the smell rather than the person that would be their abiding memory.

    The Shop (1):

    First stop was the nice and clean looking PDSA, ‘For Pets That Need Vets’, bless ‘em. I didn’t think they’d have room for any records amongst all of the new stock they had in (cheap DVD’s and stationary) but, tucked away in a corner, there was a small crate of discs with a Ken Dodd LP cleverly positioned at the forefront to pull in the cognoscenti.

    The Shizzle:

    Tony Christie: So Deep is the Night

    I was pleased that my first find was a Tony Christie LP as he was born in Conisbrough, only a few miles away, and I was especially gratified that it was the LP with his storming version of You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ and really shoddy cover art. 99p.

    Don Estelle: With A Song In My Heart

    I bought the Don Estelle LP as a tribute to Alanmck, and because Don had touched it with his tiny hands to sign it and dedicate it ‘to Bob’. Bob, presumably, either died recently and woke up one morning and decided he’d gone right off Don Estelle. 99p.

    Chas & Carol Maxwell: Sincerely

    Next up was this private press mad raer by Chas & Carol Maxwell. Signed, of course, and dedicated to Ann, who may now be dead. Sleeve notes indicate that the untalented couple were ‘established entertainers in the zany comedy medium’ but this LP documents the ‘vocal sections of their live performances’ that have ‘won them fans all over the country’. It’s awful, and sounds like it was recorded in a cupboard. 99p.

    The Damage: £3.97

    The Shop (2):

    Moving on to Help The Aged, where you have to go upstairs to look at the records. I don’t know why it is, but the climbing or descending of stairs always adds, for me, anyway, an extra frisson to the search. A couple of tatty plastic baskets yielded the following midget gems.

    The Shizzle:

    James Last Number 8 Beat

    I know there are very few decent James last LPs but, if I’m honest, I just wanted to hear his version of ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window’ – it’s great, in a ragged, shouty James Last way, with a couple of nice guitar solos. Cheers, Jim. 50p.

    Don Fardon: The Rock & Roll Sound Of Don Fardon

    According to the sleevenotes, Don Fardon ‘came, saw and conquered Scandinavia’ in September 1970: one half of this LP was recorded live in Stockholm; the other (non-live) half was recorded at a school in Vaxholm. Neither side is much good, but it has a nice cover. 50p.

    Collection S/T

    Private press mad raer with breaks! Common as muck. Apparently comped on ‘Working Man’s Soul’ (thanks, Towny!) The Collection tantalised with a selection of tracks that had real VV/VG+ potential: Spinning Wheel, Vehicle and Got To Get You Into My Life. Of the three, only Vehicle sparks into life, although the first 30 seconds of the Beatle cover has promise, sadly dashed by the 2 and a half minutes that follow. The sleeve notes list the bands nicknames: The Boss, Legs, Ding Dong, The Wizard & Harpo. I wonder which one could be Harpo? Fully signed, of course, and dedicated to Carol, now probably dead. Along with his signature, Harpo has appended the legend ‘keep smiling’ which indicates to my overactive imagination that Carol had a history of depression and may have killed herself soon after buying this LP, perhaps while listening to it. 50p.

    Geoff Love Plays The Big Suspense Movie Themes

    Looks promising, but is actually fairly dull, although the versions of ‘Shaft’ and The French Connection theme have their moments. 50p.

    Mike Leander Orchestra: Migration

    This covers every Easy angle with versions of Beatles songs, selections from Hair and some Jimmy Webb. I’d describe it as heavy orchestral pop, best tracks being a stately ‘Time is Tight’ and a nice bass-y version of ‘The Letter’. 50p

    How to Sleep Better (Devised by a Medical Practitioner)

    Sleep problems? This LP can help! It’s incredibly boring. 50p

    Geoff Love: Your Top TV Tunes

    Like shit in a field, these, but, after I saw three in a row in the basket I thought I’d better give at least one a good home. Iconic tat and I am fond of drawings of Peter Wyngarde…50p

    Flair EP

    I also found this little EP which turns out to be cheap vocal covers of some of the Hits Of 1968. Somewhat anemic in execution, but it does have charm. I particularly like the way the whip crack sound effect in ‘Legend of Xanadu’ has been replicated here as a cross between a comb and paper and a sneaky trump. 10p.

    Boring Book:

    Facts about Germany could have been a decent read, unfortunately derailed by an obsessive level of detail, including precise summaries of parliamentary procedure, property and inheritance laws, import and export figures and all manner of dull minutiae that must have been out of date one second after the book was published. 50p, but not included in the challenge cost.

    Classy Book:

    Dodgem Greaser. Blithely ignoring the rules, I introduced a new category, simply because I couldn’t bear to leave it in the shop and wanted to show you all the cover. It’s quite racy. 25p, but not included in the challenge cost.

    The Damage: £3.60

    The Shop (3):

    Save the Children is a big, dusty shop with very little in it. The nice old lady behind the counter panicked when I walked in and stumbled across to greet me with a fluttery ‘can I help you?’ I immediately realised that, with my suit, tie and council badge, she had assumed that I was there in an official capacity, probably to shut the whole operation down and confiscate her till roll. I assured her that this was not the case and went to look at the records.

    There were dozens of 78’s here, mostly Irish singers being maudlin about their Mums but, amongst the shellac, I discovered:

    The Shizzle:

    The Osmonds: The Plan

    As recently dug by ‘The Tank’ (i.e. Dave), this is famous as the ‘good’ Osmonds LP. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I believe that the album and tour that promoted it were undertaken by the toothy bros as a way of fulfilling the Mormon requirement that all male church members do a year of missionary work. This LP was previously owned by Helen B. Scott (presumed dead).

    Reading & Learning Volume 2

    Double spoken word LP in a sleeve in need of some glue (hence the skewiff picture), featuring fairly dry readings of parts of The Iliad and Robinson Crusoe as well as more modern stories like Stig Of The Dump, James & The Giant Peach and the tale of a fat kid called Sausage learning to swim. Designed to provide an audio accompaniment to reading lessons, i.e. baby sit kids whilst the teacher has a fag, I rather like it.

    The nice old lady , still unsettled by the fear that I might be about to take her into council custody, tried to charge me 20p for both LP’s. I offered her a pound, which seemed to throw her back into a panic as she tried to work out whether I was trying to trick her into breaking the law or just playing evil council mind games. Her hands were shaking over the till, so I paid the requested 10p per LP and put the 80p change into the collection tin. She looked very relieved as I left and I’m pretty sure the kettle was on for a calming brew within seconds of me going out into the street.

    The Damage: £1.00

    The Shop (4):

    The Samaritans is perhaps the dingiest and least ventilated charity shop in Doncaster that sells records, I was pleasantly surprised to find an almost exclusively Classical set of records, many of which were of Soviet origin. I don’t read Russian, funnily enough, so I had to work out what they were by the cover illustrations – mostly fairly routine stuff – William Tell Overture, Swan Lake, that sort of thing, but I did find:

    Vyacheslav Artyomov: Requiem

    Double LP on the Melodiya label – this is a mass that is occasionally very beautiful and sometimes sounds like a beatless David Axelrod LP – interesting item. 50p.

    Palgrave’s Golden Treasury

    Classy looking Caedmon double with readings from Claire Bloom, Eric Portman, John Neville and that of poems from the 16th to 18th century. No William Blake, unfortunately, but you can’t have everything for half a quid. 50p.


    Rime Of The Ancient Mariner and other poems as read by Richard Burton, John Neville & Robert Hardy. Has anyone ever had a better speaking and recitative voice than Burton? Magnificent. Still in its original shrink wrap, this record was originally purchased from Harrods. What a long, strange trip it’s been…50p.

    After five minutes in this airless cave, I started to feel warm so I took off my jacket. Without prompting, the Rose West look-a-like shop assistant stopped rearranging the books and asked if I’d like a hanger. ‘No thanks’ I said ‘I’m not stopping’ a statement that was a. bloody obvious and b. unintentionally rude. Trying to salvage the situation, I thought I’d try a little chit chat: ‘It’s hot in here’ I said, brilliantly; ‘I don’t find it to be so’, she replied in a monotone, ‘but many of our regulars have said it is a little…oppressive’. That’s when I started to sweat. I made my purchases and left, happy to get out into the (relatively) fresh air of the Doncaster streets.

    The Damage: £1.50


    15 LP’s (3 Doubles)
    1 EP
    1 boring book
    1 classy looking book

    Despite suggesting the category, I completely forget about the object d’art.

    TOTAL COST (excluding books; including additional 80p charity contribution):



    It was actually pretty liberating to go into a charity shop knowing I needed to spend money, and my choices were fairly easily made as a result. Looking for a big score is all very well but it does detract from the simple pleasure of looking at knackered old records and buying a few that you fancy. I now have a renewed enthusiasm for Charity shops and their tatty, smelly often bizarre contents, staff and clientele, so cheers.

    I’m not able to provide a musical accompaniment, unfortunately, but, if I were, I would have done a collage of all of the various voices from the spoken word LP’s over a loop of the first few bars (drum roll and propulsive bass) from The Collection’s version of ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’. I’m listening to it in my head now, and it’s fucking brilliant!
    Last edited by ginghamkitchen; 21-10-2008, 01:08 PM.

  • #2
    Is that the sound of a bar being raised?

    I think it might be...

    Fantastic work. That Don Fardon cover is magnificent. Don't beat yourself up about the objet d'art - I sacrificed mine for a chicken baguette, but more of that tomorrow...
    Back and to the left... back and to the left... back and to the left


    • #3
      Good work

      Beware, because 'The Plan' is only one of about 3 or 4 Osmonds Lps that are worth picking up
      Matt Hero


      • #4
        A great read that, like pouring a smooth chocolate milkshake into ones eyes.


        • #5
          Don't think I've ever chuckled so much over reports of potentially dead people..Excellent stuff..
          Now celebrating over 1000 posts of nonsense.....


          • #6
            Great stuff ginghamkitchen. Great reading.
            ¡A tope con la vida!


            • #7

              Some nice and cheap finds sir - I think I'd be chuffed with those private press oddities and that Russian thing.

              Intriguing read, and fine format and photo-reportage to enhance it.


              • #8
                A most enjoyable read - it has quite taken the edge off being dragged out of bed this Saturday morning, thanks.

                Used to dance my pants off to that Geoff Love version of Jason King


                • #9
                  I was about to say you should have bought that Planet Of The Apes mug as your objet d'art until I realised where the pic was from. D'oh.

                  Excellent reading there. That Artyomov album sounds interesting. Any relation to the guy who did the Stalker and Solaris soundtracks, I wonder?

                  Formerly, lecturer at the University of Rome, with two commas and a full stop in the normal way.



                  • #10

                    Hmm, on which note I have 2 copies of the Jap Solaris OST to pay for at some point *ulp*. You ever see that on your travels, Mr P ?

                    Watched the movie again recently and was digging it, hence am looking forward to acquiring this obscurity. Wonder if the original Russian release has the same cover as the boots which sometimes crop up on Ebay. . .


                    • #11
                      I've got that Chas and Carol Maxwell one! I'd probably rather have The Collection, to be honest........

                      I've also got another one of those Flair EPs, sadly sans sleeve - I know nothing about these whatsoever, does the sleeve have any more info?

                      Don't let that Don Fardon LP put you off - there's lots of good stuff by him out there.


                      • #12
                        excellent work sir.

                        Pray do give the honourable mr. james last 'beat 'a second listen, especially the stormin' groovy 'aquarius' and 'go away little girl' on side 1

                        BTw that book facts about Germany (Tatsachen über Deutschland) has been reprinted seemingly every year since the year dot. Equally boring too. I suspect the cold war era ones may be slightly more interesting though.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Lord Thames View Post
                          I've also got another one of those Flair EPs, sadly sans sleeve - I know nothing about these whatsoever, does the sleeve have any more info?

                          Don't let that Don Fardon LP put you off - there's lots of good stuff by him out there.
                          No more information that means anything to me, but it might ring a bell with you. Sleeve notes are by Paul Kitchener, produced by Inner Circle Productions 1968. That's it, apart from the name of the printers!

                          I have heard some other Don Fardon stuff and liked it a lot - I had hoped I had found something along those lines but was disappointed. Oh well...

                          Thanks for all your kind comments, it was my pleasure - if you haven't tried the challenge yet I can thoroughly recommend it.
                          SPIRIT DUPLICATOR Est 2015.


                          • #14
                            is the chazza near the top half of copley road still there???
                            found some interesting bits in there-a few years ago now mind since i moved away from home to gloucester


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by purple_pill67 View Post
                              is the chazza near the top half of copley road still there???
                              found some interesting bits in there-a few years ago now mind since i moved away from home to gloucester
                              Yes, but I don't get up that way much. Might have a wander out today...
                              SPIRIT DUPLICATOR Est 2015.