Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Creaking Floorboards, or Why My Back Is Hurting

So, I've had twelve days off work just now. Bit of travelling, bit of fun, bit of adding to the pile of stuff...

Yeah, just a bit...
The first part of the time-off-extravaganza involved attending the Play Expo in Manchester. I was one of the volunteers, giving out information and directions to people only to realise that most of the information I was giving out was actually bogus. Still, fun times! The main part of any far-flung gathering is meeting up with like-minded individuals, some of which are for the first time (at least in the flesh).

It turns out that several of the people had brought along some presents for me! Which is fantastic and amazing and great. Here's what they were:

From the head honcho over at RetroCollect (well, his dad) is a near-complete set of Garbage Pail Kids stickers from 1985, in plastic wallets and everything! Also some Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog VHS tapes. THINK I've got the lot of those now.

From another of the nice RetroCollect people is this enormous box full of various toys - Monster In My Pocket, Mini Boglins, MUSCLEs, CUTIEs, all sorts! Bloody heavy it is too. The bumbag was in there too. And also a nice big Super Creepies boxed set.

Next up's a huge pile of stuff from a Welsh man I've been speaking to online for years, but we only met for the first time over that weekend.

Four issues of Game Zone...

Two issues of It's Wicked!...

Three annuals...

A big stack of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, including a few from the current series and a bizarre Archie crossover...

A beautiful hardback, full colour Usagi Yojimbo book with embossed cover, and Space Harrier II on the Mega Drive.

Can't even begin to describe how grateful I am to these people, so a little blog tribute seemed the best way. I got all that stuff into my hold-all somehow, along with the NEC PC-FX that I took along anyway. Must've been about... 16kg perhaps? Seemed like it anyway. Anyway, got it all home, had three hours kip then trekked off to London for a week.

Oh, it turns out they have shops in London.

The first of these was 30th Century Comics in Putney. Nice little place, with every comic-lover's dream basement. Boxes and boxes and boxes upon shelves and shelves and shelves filled with comics, all organised by title and number as well.

I got four issues of Sparky, one School Fun (mostly for the David Mostyn wrap-around cover), one Plug and four issues of Cracker (one of which I already have, whoops)...

Four Cracked special editions...

A Mad special edition (includes a Gremlins parody and loads of Basil Wolverton stuff) and Frisky Frolics, which I assumed to be one of those underground things, but turns out to be an interesting anthology of sorts.

Next up was a visit to the Cartoon Museum, which everyone should go to (understandably, no cameras allowed!). This was my second visit since 2010, and there wasn't one thing in there that was there last time. Rotating exhibits, the key to keeping your museums interesting! They have a nice little shop in there too, which includes a box of small press comics. I got these ones:

Always good to see more from Doctor Simpo, and finding a third issue of the Bedsit Journal was a nice surprise too. The Zoom! is written and drawn by an 11-year-old. How many other people have got themselves onto the comic racks at that age? Well done to him!

Greenwich is a really nice part of London, home to the Cutty Sark (world's fastest tea clipper or not, I'm not paying £12 to look underneath it), the atomic clock, a chippy that charges £10.45 for cod and chips (tourist trap, maybe?) and a nice little market.

They sold me a book about robots, the 1974 Cor!! annual...

...and a milk bottle from the 1980s. Not sure what to do with this, it was an impulse thing mostly. Still nice though.

Notting Hill was visited with the intention of visiting the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, but I couldn't find it. The address wasn't on the map outside the station, and none of the "locals" had heard of it, so it remained unvisited, which is a bit of a bugger. Cheered up a bit when I found the Notting Hill Book & Comic Exchange, just outside the tube station.

Could've stayed in there all day, but it was nearly closing time. Still, I got away with this lot:

The 1961 Popeye annual, one of Gary Larson's Far Side galleries, the Spitting Image Giant Komic Book, a Dandy Beano classics book (already had this one, but my one's got a few pages missing), Raymond Briggs' When The Wind Blows, the complete Harris Tweed, and the first two Willy the Kid books (already got these, but at just £3 each, flogging them on eBay will probably pay for all my purchases combined!)...

...A couple of old issues of Fortean Times, the 50th issue of Viz, a comic called Duck Soup which I've heard of but never seen until now, and Forbidden Knowledge, one of those "underground comix" which can delight and disgust in equal measure - sometimes at the same time!

The next "port of call" was Orbital Comics, a very friendly place indeed. They had a big stuffed Stripe from Gremlins but it was priced beyond what I was willing to pay for an object of that nature. Instead I got... More comics!

A bumper-sized issue of Deadline, Buzzard which was bought for the cover by Steven Cerio, and an issue of Pure Entertainment...

...Godzilla Legends with a nice drawing of Hedorah on the cover, a Popeye reprint which sees him visiting Ghost Island, an old issue of Ghost Manor which sees hippies terrorised by a witch, and three issues of It! The Terror From Beyond Space...

...four issues of Dim-Witted Darryl...

...and another small stack of indies. Haven't had a chance to get through ANY of this lot yet, but Fred the Possessed Flower says "Hardcastle" on the cover. If it's the Hardcastle I think it is, it's going to be good!

Mega City Comics in Camden was the next place. I'd never seen so many issues of 2000 AD in one shop before - but that's not what I was after. Instead I got these:

The newest issue of the Comix Reader, and two interesting looking small-press titles...

Three more Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and the first three issues of Shade - The Changing Man. Never heard of it before, but the covers were enough to justify the 50p (!) asking price.

Also in Camden was a nice little place called David's Collectables, which is a VERY nice place indeed. More on that soon, but I only bought one thing there:

A Sparky book!

I was staying with relatives in London (free accomodation plus travelling on the MegaBus means it could POTENTIALLY've been a £14 holiday), and before leaving, one of the relatives pulled some stuff out of the attic for me:

A stack of VHS tapes filled with various cartoons recorded off the telly many hundreds of years ago (when classic cartoons were still shown between programmes), and from the labels, there's a few episodes of Tony Robinson's Stay Tooned! on them as well! I could only carry ten of them, but there's a crate full still there, to be taken at a later date. There was a Sega Game Gear up there too, but it had been destroyed by leaking batteries, so I just got the game from inside it (The Ottifants)...

There was also this stack of odds and ends... some Real Ghostbusters postcards, a Sonic Spinball poster, an absolutely ENORMOUS Sonic 3 poster, a promotional poster for Raymond Briggs' The Snowman, and a small stack of pictures I'd drawn in that house a couple of decades ago.

ALL THAT STUFF was put into my hold-all, as well as a week's worth of clothes, and then carried on a bus, two tube trains, a coach and then another train back to my place. Which is why I can't feel my back, neck or shoulders anymore. Back to work tomorrow for some good old-fashioned manual labour, yes!

Apologies that this post has been boring and not very Halloween-ish (there's some ghoulish comic covers at least), but it had to be done.

To make it up a bit, here's a few pictures of what can be seen in David's Collectables:

Hey, I used to have that lunch box! etc.


  1. Wow you did well...
    I hope you can put up some stay tooned on youtube.loved this program and of course Rolf's cartoon time/club

    nice Crackers..plugs..Cor!!..Sparky's..School Fun..etc..

    I got lost as well trying to find 30th Century shop.the road names are too similar..I remeber walking for ages..as you know I've been recently and got two 1966 Valiant comics..which I want to get more of now...and 9 1968 Busters..:)

    1. Definitely worth the questing though, right? Did you see the box full of Wham! and Pow! comics? And all those Mickey Mouse Weeklies?

      At least it was a nice evening by the time I left the place, so I could sit by the river for a bit. Still took two hours to get back to where I was staying mind.

      I've yet to figure out how to stick VHS things onto YouTube, but once I do there's LOADS of stuff I'll be putting on there!

    2. Wow, what a great bargain hunt- loving the VHS tapes, am a big fan of kids programme Zzzap and personally a collector of video tapes in general- would I be able to message you on Facebook, Twitter or something to possibly make a deal for some? I would be willing to pay (plus p&p) :D

    3. It's a nice thought, but it's VERY rare for me to let go of stuff - these are tapes that we watched when I was 5 or 6 years old, so there's a lot of personal attachment there - when I figure out how to convert VHS to AVI, I'll happily and merrily send you "complete rips" of them if you like... Is that fair?

    4. Yeah absolutely. Personal recommendation would be get a capture card (get a SD one as they are quite cheap and there's no point getting a HD one, as most stuff recorded in the 90's isn't HD!).. or another suggestion: As I've got a VHS to DVD converter/player, you could send the tapes my way. That way, I can make a DVD copy for you- I know how hard it is to depart with video tapes (especially sentimental memories) but I would absolutely insure 100% that your tapes would be returned to you 2-3 days after receiving! Ben :)

    5. An SD capture card sounds good - are there any that you could recommend? I've looked at a couple on Amazon and they both have VERY mixed reviews!

      The second options sounds like a decent second option, but I'd like to have a go at doing it myself - if it works there's several dozen "home movie" type things I'd want to stick onto DVDs for people as well.

    6. Well, I've used quite a few capture cards over the years and to be honest, they will have mixed reviews. I mean, the last time I used one- there weren't many available.. you should try and get a USB capture card if possible with Red, White, Black and Yellow wires. However, with these, they can be a pain- as you need a S-Video VCR (video player)to plug the wires in the back of the machine. Confusing eh?

      Doing VHS to DVD is really hard to perfect- I mean I found the bargain of a lifetime with the one I've got now- very reasonable price, still more expensive than a regular DVD player. I must've had at least 20 converters/ machines before, and they were ALL useless.. they did the following: made the sound out of sync, made the picture pixalated, mute the video, turn the video to black and white, etc.

      If you want to have a try at it yourself, which could actually succeed unlike my past attempts- go for it, but the second option's always available from me :)

    7. Cheers for that - it's payday soon, so I'll get the cheapest one and see how things turn out.

  2. Well that was a bit of a haul! I can remember having some Crusha in the early 90's, I wasn't allowed to pour it out myself because it was in a glass bottle. But I did once anyway because I'm hardcore. It was a bit like Nesquick, where you add milk and stir it, only it was a liquid. The "chocolate" flavour tasted really chemicalish, it was great!
    I saw things being sold in PC world that convert VHS to AVI. I wanna get the casette to mp3 thing myself, and bung a load of charity shop classic comedy onto one handy device, which is smaller than a single tape XD

    1. Mmm, chemical chocolate! I'm still on the banana Nesquik as far as milk-based additive go.

      These PC World things, I'm hoping it's as simple as a cable - as can be seen I don't have the room for another big bit of kit!

  3. I thought the Cutty Sark burned down! It's still there?

    I'd be interested to see the drawings retrieved from the attic. And that Ottifants cartridge probably hasn't been moved since we last played it in what must have been about 1996.

    1. It DID go on fire, but it's been restored - it's on top of a building now instead of in a dry dock, looking all shiny and posh - probably why they're now charging so much to get in!

  4. Some quality pick-ups there! Totally jealous of your Garbage Pail Kids stickers and Willy The Kid books....

  5. Bloody hell, I thought you were going to have enough trouble getting all the stuff that you showed me Play home, never mind all the extra stuff.

    Cheers again for the Ghostbusters toy. :-)

  6. Thanks for the mention:-) good to finally meet and glad you liked the stuff I would have brought you the rest problem was carrying it all... And thanks for the Devil Woman and those Insect Women which are incredibly cool but evil..

    I will look tomorrow to see if that Venus Fly Trap is still in the Charity Shop..

    Btw are the Garbage Pail kids Season 1 I found a few int he draw 'April Showers', 'Boney Joanny" and some baby with about 20 cigerette's in his mouth and more in his ears.. Never get away with that these days..

  7. Found your blog via Comics UK, and it's been a pleasant distraction while I'm supposed to be doing something more productive! Very impressive haul - I envy the amount of disposable income and storage space you must have! :)

    1. Cheers, Paul - appreciate it!

      Storage space, yep, although the shelves are now full so it's turning into piles (think like that Channel 4 thing last year where the guy has to crawl through his house).

      As for the disposable income, I wish! A full-time job at just above minimum wage, and most of it goes on rent. Not smoking or drinking helps, and my food's mostly free as I take home out-of-date stuff from work.

      With a few little sacrifices like that, you too can get a home full of fun things to read!

  8. Just to say, 2 1/2 years after, that Shade the Changing Man is a great comic! One of the first Vertigos, or maybe just before Vertigo and it gave them the idea? By Pete Milligan, the metaphysical psychedelic genius of British comic writing. Best teamed up with Ewins and/or McCarthy. Bad Company is an 80s 2000AD classic, and got very metaphysical toward the end. Bloody brilliant.

    But yeah, Shade, fantastic series. Lucky you found 'em cheap. My local shop has loads of them for about 3 quid each. But the Internet has a full set of downloads if you can find it, probably the best way to enjoy it (without spending a small fortune). Did I mention the story's great? It's Milligan being allowed to invent his own character from scratch, so all sorts of his mad wierdness gets in.

    Peter Milligan's prob my second-favourite comic writer, after His Beardiness of course. And I'd like Grant Morrison more if he wasn't such a self-indulgent deliberate butthole of an ego. Like his stories, not so much his attitude. And The Invisibles was all style / no substance, and didn't have a proper ending! Lazy get!

    Ooh, Dr Who repeats on Horror Channel. Gods bless 'em for coming to Freeview. I'mgoingnowbye!

    1. I got that Milligan/McCarthy big special book thing for Xmas, highly recommended if you're not aware of it. The thing that attracted me to it most was being able to read Skin in full for the first time. Brutal stuff there!

  9. I'm interested in seeing these classic cartoons on each recorded vhs. I was wondering if I could use them after you.
    By the way, did you manage to record them or convert them to AVI?

    1. Oh gosh, sorry - it's been four years already?!?

      Still no-where near to close to converting them, but I have watched most of them... One had unfortunately been taped over with Footballer's Wives, and the ones with Stay Tooned on them mostly had the Tony Robinson bits cut out, with just the cartoons recorded (nothing that isn't on YouTube or Vimeo already). Plenty of old adverts and idents though, so that's a bonus at least.

      Hopefully going to be heading back to London before the end of the year, so I'll grab some more tapes if they're still there...

    2. Do you know if any of your old tapes have any cartoons of "Calimero" on them? It's about a little black chicken: http://lostmediawiki.com/images/c/c3/Calimero-5.jpg

      It used to air about five minutes before "Crossroads Motel".

      There's also a rare VHS/Betamax release of his cartoons I'm looking for called "Calimero and the Wonderful Summer": http://www.pre-cert.co.uk/display.php?vId=UK06004

      If you have any of his cartoons on tape could you please digitize them for me?

    3. Calimero might have also been shown on Glen Michael's Cartoon Cavalcade, but I'm not sure.

    4. That's the first I've ever seen/heard of Calimero, sorry - I'll keep an eye out though!

    5. No worries; just let me know if you find anything; thanks! :)