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CSC 2015: St Jude, Lurker & I hit Lincolnshire: Oddball collectors on the A17, thin pickings in Lincoln, a sweet spot in Spal

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  • CSC 2015: St Jude, Lurker & I hit Lincolnshire: Oddball collectors on the A17, thin pickings in Lincoln, a sweet spot in Spal

    Drying the dog on the morning of Saturday 22nd August 2015 I check the clock to see it's 7.33am.

    Remembering Col mantra No.117: St Jude is always f**king late', I take a leisurely shower, get dressed as far as pants when, right on cue, St Jude and Lurker are on my doorstep 15 MINUTES EARLY. Bastards. St Jude proposed this CSC three months ago but three days before the meet up no-one had suggested a destination.

    Taking the lead like he's the manager of a run-down leisure centre (a customer of St Jude suggested he looks and acts more and more like Gordon Brittas with every passing year)......

    St Jude camping outside a leisure centre

    Gordon Brittas: camping outside a leisure centre

    ...St Jude consulted with our freshly-bearded, Suffolk-based pagan vinyl guru who checked rune alignments before suggesting Lincolnshire was worth investigating.

    Suffolk- based pagan vinyl guru: freshly bearded and in Hip Hop hat

    Though I am a huge fan of the High Llamas and Sean O Hagan's lyrical preoccupation with travelling, roads, landscape and the geography of places that exist between other places, I nevertheless HATE THE A17 with a fucking passion. Definitively flat and anonymous, it's a dreadfully dull, dreadfully long stretch of single carriageway and always full of slow-moving lorries and tractors.

    A17: See what I mean? Crap.

    Sadly, the A17 it is and with St Jude having done Google homework, Lincoln, Sleaford, Boston and 'an interesting place in Spalding', are all in the frame.

    Lincolnshire: A bloody hour drive from Brooke, Norfolk just to get to the south of it.

    After an hour of driving we finally exit Norfolk and enter Lincolnshire stopping first at Holbeach, 'a fenland market town in the South Holland district of southern Lincolnshire, England, 8 miles from Spalding, 17 miles from Boston, 20 miles from King's Lynn'.

    Cafe sign at Holbeach

    Balls to the tepid Wiki descriptor of Holbeach though, we've really only stopped because on the left side of the road there's a large sign saying CAFE and there's a FIGHTER PLANE, a HOWITZER and an ARMOURED VEHICLE parked outside!

    Fighter plane outside Cafe

    On the other side of the A17 there's a very impressive display of TRACTORS a, flowers, another large cafe and a windmill.

    Display of tractors on the right side of the A17

    Windmill near tractors

    Lurker rarely goes out these days and he can barely contain his excitement. Excitedly running in circles because he wants to get to the military stuff, we nevertheless start by checking out the tractors on the right side.

    The impressive display of brightly coloured antique tractors is silently policed by a mass of security cameras, surrounded on all sides by a deep trench and the only road access to the heavily hanging basketed house behind them is blocked by a heavy iron gate with password entry. We can only deduce a) the owner is a collector of vintage tractors and b) they're quite valuable.

    Posing with the tractors St Jude's eyes begin to roll back in his head and he goes all hazy like a dream sequence before starting to mumble.

    'This is a family feud' he declares.
    'Two brothers...each owning land on a different side of the road. They fell out, they competed...."

    Lurker and I would have exchanged bemused glances but by this point we'd crossed over and he was already clambering all over the armoured vehicle.

    He makes explosion noises throwing his arms around before excitedly pointing at a sign and picking up a bucket of sand.

    Horribly over-stimulated, he runs, diving and swooping, at the Hawker Hunter jet. The newly Shaman-esque St Jude is still acting weird, trying to piece together the story of this mysterious oasis of tractors, flowers, cafes and military hardware. The provenance of this flag worries him so I have to photograph it.

    No dramatic tension needed here though. We didn't know it at the time but a little Googling reveals it's the official flag of Lincolnshire. St Jude insists we check out the massive Cafe, thirsty for tea but even thirstier to solve the riddle of the Holbeach truck stop.

    I have to peel Lurker off the Howitzer barrel first though

    He'd attached himself to it like a Koala bear, repeatedly exclaiming 'It can fire missiles 28 kilometres!' St Jude surveys it, narrowing his eyes in a Gordon Brittas / Clint Eastwood kind of way. 'Notice anything about the angle of the barrel and the direction it's pointing?'
    he says.

    He's right too. Any missile fired from that would land squarely tractor-side! If there is family beef here this shit is see- ree -ous. We enter the Anglia Motel and the theme from Crossroads is playing in my head.
    <<Soul Strut 100>>Collectable CDs 1 Forumusic: April 2014 Collectable CDs 2<<'95 WOF>>

  • #2

    It's big, busy and decoratively it's a fantastic mix of 50s going on 80s. It's like a really bad 'Crossroads' set and I'm kicking myself for not photographing more of it but Googling provided the photo above. At the far end (far right) there is now a charity shop affair going on to raise money for East Anglian war veterans. St Jude cries 'LPs!' and dives straight in to a collection that's 100% Kaempfert. He appears delighted to have found one of the better ones.

    Plenty to see here but little worth buying. Love this book cover design though.

    Lurker amuses himself with a pillow-face for camera.

    Near the charity section we talk to a war veteran who is collecting for East Anglian veterans and ask him about the local history, particularly for information on the man who collects tractors and the military hardware.

    It's extraordinary. Briefly:

    - One family owned the Holbeach land the A17 passes
    - Bill (the tractor collector) opened a cafe
    - His brother, Harold, opened one the other side.
    - There was a family feud, they fell out for many years (and competed)
    - They have patched things up now though and now visit each other.

    On Bill's Tractor side:
    - There is a large open space between his house and the cafe and Farm Shop he has planning permission for a tractor museum. This is his Farm shop.

    On Harold's Military side:
    - Fund raising constantly goes on and his impressive military collection is to help that.
    - He's raised over half a million for World War Two troops. This newspaper clipping is on a pinboard near the charity section.

    St Jude's incredible clairvoyance about the warring brothers of Holbeach was matched only by my incredulity. On returning home I spent several hours on the Internet to see if the brothers story was online. Sadly, I drew a blank.

    St Jude is psychic!

    The aroma of bacon frying at the Anglia Motel was too good to pass on, and yes, this £5 balanced breakfast included two slices of fried bread and two slices of buttered bread to ensure the fat and carbohydrate levels were even. Very important that.

    Lurker was fidgety and unable to sit down so St Jude and I sent him off to fetch leaflets and gave him some money for sweets. He returned in seconds with these beauties before disappearing again. I've actually heard of the entertainers on the left. Apparently they do sell out gigs at the Theatre Royal in Norwich annually as their humour is all about local stuff.

    I don't have a Scooby Doo about 'Pow Wow Gatherings' but I remember Gingham Kitchen telling me about very active C & W scenes in East Anglia? I'm guessing this is part of that but with a 'native' slant? I am so very, very tempted to investigate and report back here. Breakfast done we go off in search of Lurker only to find he's spent all his money on the rides near the toilet.

    Ten minutes after leaving Holbeach we spot a telegraph pole and a large sign saying 'Insulators Wanted'. Curious, St Brittas performs a handbrake turn, we rev back and Starsky and Hutch-like, we smash through some empty cardboard boxes and screech to a halt by a 'Private' sign.

    There's old cars, boxes, a curious shed, and a lone pigeon perched on the telegraph pole.

    It's all very welcoming in a Bates Motel sort of way....

    ....with the shed decoration supplying Tobe Hooper-like ambience.

    Though we haven't met any collectors in person today we have seen Bill Payne's magnificent collection of tractors and some larger pieces of Harold Payne's collection of military hardware.
    Maybe we'll get to meet a collector with a collection now?

    I knock on the door.

    The door opens


    (To be continued after walking the dog and a cup of tea)
    <<Soul Strut 100>>Collectable CDs 1 Forumusic: April 2014 Collectable CDs 2<<'95 WOF>>


    • #3
      Holy moly, what a cliffhanger!!

      This is shaping up to be THE AWESOMEST. Loving it.


      • #4
        Don't get too excited Sonovox, have you seen the weather? He's going to be at least half an hour drying that poor soggy little dog off.
        Come on then, we're waiting...........good shout on the cuppa actually
        Everyone tear down your own little wall
        That keeps you from being a part of it all
        Because you've got to be one with the one and all
        You've just got to be close to it all


        • #5
          Originally posted by treeboy View Post
          Don't get too excited Sonovox, have you seen the weather? He's going to be at least half an hour drying that poor soggy little dog off.
          Come on then, we're waiting...........good shout on the cuppa actually
          All done and yes. Got soaked. On with the story....


          The door opens, and there's a big smile from the lady opening it. We're welcomed inside and we're not the first people who have knocked out of curiosity. We don't get to meet Mr Insulator but we do meet his partner and she's happy to show us his collection/s.

          It turns out that when us record collectors are digging in charity shops, Mr Insulator is out digging along old railway lines for insulators and other interesting railway-related ephemera.

          It's all beautifully displayed and Mr Insulators partner insists the she and her daughter dust and clean the displays every two weeks. The difference between a hoarder and a collector right there. Everything is clean and beautifully presented. Brittas notes that there are very few people who would display photos of power stations in their living rooms.

          Mr Insulators partner informs us he's a canny trader too, regularly picking up old pianos, stripping them down and selling the metal frame and ivory keys. He also keeps a close eye on the insulator market and sells rarer ones on Ebay when the price is right.

          Record collectors often collect other stuff (posters, tickets, flyers, books, models). Insulator collectors are no different and Mr Insulator has an impressive display of old bottles in the kitchen.

          Other, non-insulating ceramics and electricity danger signs...

          St Jude admires the railwayman's lamps hanging from the ceiling.

          In the back gardern there are old lamps ready for refurbishing or spare parts.

          ....and a collection of larger insulators gathering on the roof of the shed.

          Mr Insulators latest obsession is fire hydrant signs and he was mistakenly arrested recently after a police officer saw a load in the back of his car. He'd just traded for them at a collectors fair but the police thought he had stolen them. I interrogate Mrs Insulators daughter about whether or not she has caught a collector bug yet and Mrs Insulator gives us permission to see her collection.

          Are these the only stairs walls in Britain decorated with photographs of telegraph poles?

          Here is for your delectation is Mrs Insulators' daughter's Meerkat collection. Even if my apostrophes are wrong, that sounds like the title of a long, lost toy town psych classic.

          And just before we all start thinking we're very the same way record collectors cannot keep a collection confined to one space, Mr Insulator is beginning to fill upstairs rooms.

          It's been cool, we say a big 'thank you' for being allowed to see two amazing collections, but it's 11am now and we have thus far seen four collections belonging to other people but have done nothing to advance our own.

          It's time to hit the road to Lincoln. The unfolding plan is 'do' Lincoln (the furthest point), then catch Sleaford and Spalding on the return journey.
          <<Soul Strut 100>>Collectable CDs 1 Forumusic: April 2014 Collectable CDs 2<<'95 WOF>>


          • #6
            I'm frightened already. I may never leave the city again...
            you can hear colours when they rhyme...


            • #7

              An hour or so later we're heading into Lincoln City and we're in sight of the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral perched high on a hill (it's really quite a thing), St Jude spies a clearance shop.

              We park, head for the shop and then realise St Jude really does have the Force in him today. There is NO WAY he could have seen this door poster from our side of the street.

              Sadly, the owner collects classical records rather than sells them. He knows all about his SXL's n' everything. He also informs us there's a collector who has all the Lincoln charity shops on 'lockdown' so we're highly unlikely to find anything of value. We've heard this so often that it's red rag to a bull. No-one knows about the Marti Caine LP St Jude has set his heart on finding today. I snap this further example of Lincoln night life and we depart.

              We move on, park up as close to the centre as we can and first up it's Ca$h Converter$: Always worth a peep and there are frequently dozens of CDs at a pound a pop.

              Lurker spies this vintage but classic Roland sequencer but it's a bit over-priced before sharing some information with me about the current values of other Roland gear including the SH-101, MC-202 and TR-909, all of which I own. I'm completely shocked. The MC-202 looks and feels like a child's toy but now goes for silly money apparently. Lurker just made my day and I promise myself I'll treat him to an ice-cream later.

              We find a few charities with records in but I forget to photograph the locations. Lurker and St Brittas are relieved to finally be fondling some vinyl.

              Rest assured our lack of identifiable locations is not a Secret Squirrel move. We're generally looking through records like this.

              As we head for the city centre and Cathedral, (a teasing glimpse of a Greggs there for the Utrecht possee), things start looking up in the British Heart Foundation Furniture and Electrical store

              By the time I'm through the door, St Jude is on the floor with his portable out.

              Amidst some interesting looking (and pristinely kept) 50s and 60s records there's a healthy run of James Brown but unfortunately they're all at 'book' prices. St Jude and Lurker listen to some other interesting-looking stuff but leave empty handed.

              Lincoln, like many other UK cities, is presently blighted by the diseased PR sheep idea of sticking identical sculptures every-fucking-where that are all decorated in different ways. Norwich is presently drowning in a sea of 'Go Go Dragons' and two years ago it was gorillas. During our short visit I could have photographed about a dozen of these Lincoln Knights. Here's one for posterity.

              I feel similarly grumpy about 'Native American' displays too. Excreble canned synth backing tapes with the dragging sound of Pan Pipes on top. In Torremolinos they do this malarkey at night with a light show, lasers and smoke machines. Dreadful.

              It's a very attractive place though, as you walk towards the centre.

              It's not in Mint Street sadly, but we finally find Lincoln's last record shop standing. Back to Mono. Yes, yes, yes we're aware this is ostensibly a Charity Shop Challenge but pickings Lincoln have been thin. At this point I have just one Private Burn CD (the much-celebrated folk singer Jack Harris' first CD called Broken Yellow) but Lurker and St Brittas have nothing at all.

              I can't be arsed to look through records because I'm after CDs and hot. I haven't mentioned it but it was a very hot day. I decide to sit and have an ice-cold Coke in the pub opposite, chat to some locals and photograph St Jude doing what comes naturally to him on days when he's not selling paper things or badly managing a run-down leisure centre.

              After about 45 minutes Lurker and St Jude leave empty-handed but refreshed from having touched records again. Time is seriously pressing (it's about 2.30), and St Jude is enthusiastic to head to Spalding and a new spot he's heard all about. We whizz up and down the main drag of Lincoln, but the four or five charity shops yield nothing of interest. As you all know what Scope, British Red Cross and Barnado's look like, here instead is pretty Lincoln with standard issue 'vintage' shops, mod scooters and pigs in top hats.

              Encouraging signs of youth culture in a doorway.

              We leave Lincoln empty-handed but for my one, solitary Private Burn. It's official. Either records are drying up or Lincoln really is 'sewn-up' and on 'lockdown.' Undeterred and thoroughly enjoying the day anyway, we decide to skip Sleaford and head for Spalding because St Jude's magical silver hairs are tingling...

              More to follow
              <<Soul Strut 100>>Collectable CDs 1 Forumusic: April 2014 Collectable CDs 2<<'95 WOF>>


              • #8
                Great read and great view of amazing pictures. Hope the Suffolk- based pagan vinyl guru and St Jude were right and you struck gold in Spalding.

                ¡A tope con la vida!


                • #9
                  Nice to see my home city through someone else's eyes, and thankfully a few days after my visit to Back 2 Mono too! I've been buying records from Jim for over 20 years. And buyers of records in Lincoln during the early 90s will note that he's recently moved to the old Radio City site.


                  • #10
                    Is this the same Jim that used to own Sonic Sounds? I went to Uni there many years ago and that shop steered my musical tastes in the right direction!
                    Destroy all the stereotypes


                    • #11
                      Lincoln to Spalding Car Journey

                      As empty-handed collector failures, we're keeping brave faces on for the hour it takes to get to Spalding so talk naturally turns to Rod Hull and Emu, Rod's unfortunate Champions League game / TV aerial death and Eric Bristow's shattering revelation 'Rod Hull used puppet to molest fans' claim. Checking out The Huffington Post on the mobile straightens things out for us and their story has a remarkably Withnail and I -style 'Look at the size of the fucker's head' feel about it.


                      In his book, Bristow says: "I didn't like Rod Hull, he was a pervert who was getting away with something that wasn't right. "He used the puppet to feel up women and stick his hand between people's legs. It was out of order." Bristow also tells of a confrontation with the comedian ahead of his appearance on the darts show Bullseye...
                      Admitting he'd had a drink, Bristow describes threatening Hull with violence if he came anywhere near him. He adds: "If he'd touched me inappropriately with his hand I would have sparked him."
                      Bristow's book, published two years ago, also recounts a violent teenage past which saw him attack a policeman and beat a man unconscious with a pool cue. Confessing to carrying a claw hammer "just in case", he was also part of a burglary gang, but maintains the group "respected" the homes they targeted.
                      He wrote: "We’d never soil the beds or urinate up the walls the ways they do now." During one raid he even claims the gang stopped to cook themselves breakfast, adding: "But because we were good thieves we even washed the pots and put them back where we found them."
                      Bristow is an MBE and five times darts World Champion.

                      You really could not make this shit up.


                      It's 3.45pm and our car is parked outside here. Lurker and I are less than impressed but St Jude insists he's heard good things about this place.

                      Moving the camera slightly reveals a good reason for being here.

                      Inside, it's like, what?...

                      ....After the day we've had, this is Nirvana. Like the Amoeba of Lincolnshire or something. False walls are made of 45s in boxes.

                      Did I say 45s in boxes? I meant 'Unsorted' 45s in boxes.

                      Lots of them

                      St Jude sets to work...

                      More to follow
                      <<Soul Strut 100>>Collectable CDs 1 Forumusic: April 2014 Collectable CDs 2<<'95 WOF>>


                      • #12
                        Just wow!
                        Destroy all the stereotypes


                        • #13
                          Lurker rolls up his sleeves too, diving into the reggae 12"s in the far corner with steam coming out of his Palitoy Sound Burger.

                          Alan, who has run this new place since April, is enthusiastic, helpful and very knowledgeable. Better still, he has a similar mentality to selling records as Julian at Second Scene i.e it's about shifting them, and though he understandably wants proper money for the very rarest stuff (or may Ebay them) for everything else he just wants to keep the stock turning over and speaks of discounts for serious bulk buyers.

                          St Jude is on the floor again, going at the boxes hammer and tong.

                          I'm not really focussed too hard on buying today but pick up some cheap 10" records just for the covers and a few other bits and pieces so as to spend some money and support the place.

                          We leave there happy at 5, or at least, I do. I have to return for St Jude and Lurker, dragging them out separately by the legs. Alan helpfully informed us there are no good fish and chip shops in Spalding but there are two excellent, related ones called 'Baxters' at Sutton Bridge near the border of Norfolk and Lincolnshire. We have to pass through Payne territory in Holbeach first so decide to check out the 'Bill' side.

                          The Farm Shop is impressive and cheap so fruit supplies are purchased.

                          The Cafe is also huge and the food on offer looks awesome but St Jude insists we keep faith with Alan's recommendation.

                          Only 'the best fish and chips' according to Alan will on we drive. 20 minutes later we reach Sutton Bridge roundabout and turn into Sutton Bridge. The first Baxters is shut but the second one is just a mile down the road.

                          There's a good, traditional feel about the place and chips have been sold there since 1920.

                          The assistants are lovely, are polite with St Jude's grilling over the correct way to fry chips and don't mind being photographed and hand us a leaflet. (They fry chips right here apparently, in beef dripping, like 'up North.' )

                          We didn't read the leaflet but aware that a picnic area is available just over Sutton Bridge ...(Google pic for those who don't know Sutton Bridge)...

                          ..turn left into the picnic area and drive the three miles it take us to get to Sir Peter Scott's lighthouse. I already devoured my chips (perfect!) whilst St Jude and Lurker were waiting for their haddock so I leave them and walk the very short distance to the lighthouse and sand dunes.

                          Sir Peter Scott in his lighthouse was the inspiration for Paul Gallico's 'The Snow Goose' apparently.

                          The lighthouse is shut this year for renovation work but it's late and we're tired so I doubt we would have bothered going in anyway.
                          With a little more time it would have been great to check out Lincoln cathedral but we all had a great day anyway.
                          I am sure St Jude and Lurker will share finds here at some point. I only picked up a few but will post them later.

                          Thanks for reading.
                          <<Soul Strut 100>>Collectable CDs 1 Forumusic: April 2014 Collectable CDs 2<<'95 WOF>>


                          • #14
                            Those mushrooms look outstanding... proper fish and chip action too..!

                            The CSC posts are always a highlight... this one is fantastic... although for a brief period I thought you moved in to the arms trade
                            "It's all just one big plastic hassle..." - Psych-Out


                            • #15
                              Great Stuff! I love reading the CSC's this is no exception.

                              I'll happily give you a tenner for your mc202, toy price.
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