Here is the first of an ongoing series of reports, documenting our record hunting forays into the wilds of the nation's charity shops, the route was designed to take in some quality boozers along the way. Actually, this is our second joint chazza hunt/pub crawl, but we neglected to get the necessary evidence last time around, this was when we landed our ‘belly dancing’ finds (see January 2008) as the fruits of our labours. Itchy decided that Balham would be our happy hunting ground, so we set out on a sunny Saturday, with a spring in our step.
The first port of call was at a proper chazza, no corporate branding here, the sign does what it says, in a no nonsense fashion. Inside it was packed full of actual gifted items, not clogged up with scented candles sent by head office. Proper volunteers were doing sterling work behind the counter, in aid of a good cause. I set about looking through the plastic pile and settled on ZZ Top, Bon Jovi and Madness, I also persuaded Itchy to try out Van Halen's classic Fair Warning, though he's usually non plussed at listening to the denim clad end of the rock spectrum. It's like we’ve been transported back to my youth, Marty McFly style, head banging heaven.
Next stop was the FARA shop, where I had been promised a basement full of cratey delights to check through, a veritable Aladdin’s cave, including a turntable to test out any prospective purchases. Unfortunately, it was out of action, so it was back to the trusty Scratchy sixth sense.
A Ghostface/Method Man album sampler quickly popped up, followed by an Animals That Swim long player and a Ride E.P. Then most gratifyingly for me, was The Darkside album, which I'd been meaning to get since 1990, when Spacemen 3 was at the centre of my turntable universe. Other contenders, were a signed Dodgy double album that turned out to be missing one record and Crazy Horses by The Osmonds, which was scratched to buggery. Locating a haul of interesting singles made up for those disappointments. Itchy sniffed out some dance stuff and it was onwards to our next target, with an increasingly heavy record bag.
Object d'art of the day was in the form of a device, labelled ‘car bomb’ for £4. We appreciated the humour, but didn't buy it, as the men from the ministry might have be watching and haul us off for a long stretch at Guantánamo Bay, with no recourse to any sort of trial, so we left the trinket!
Itchy was keen to get to the Trinity Hospice, where he nattered to the friendly bloke behind the counter, as I sauntered over to the record basket. A Violinski single on Jet Records from 1979 appeared - it had to be connected to E.L.O so I snapped it up for my sins. The Starlings twelve inch also caught my eye as did the autobiography of Slash on the bookshelves. This must be a tale of true rock’n’roll Sodom and Gomorrah, only surpassed by Led Zeppelin’s ‘Hammer of the Gods’ and the Motley Crue biography! but at £4 it was a budget buster, so it was left to gather some more dust.
A quick hop and a step across the road, took us into one of the corporate chazzas. A British Heart Foundation, with copious amounts of laminate and missing that tell tale mouldy atmosphere that authentic chazzas exude. It made me want to rip my shirt off, light a cigar and yell “I love the smell of mustiness in the morning” Ashopolipse Now style. There was a small section of the precious black stuff and we saw a promising fifties design with ‘Penthouse’ on the title and a lewd cover, however on closer inspection, it looked like a standard lounge act. We left the premises empty handed, our first strike out of the day.
The final visit of the day was to Cancer Research establishment. Our progress was temporally halted by the presence of a couple of young whippersnappers, however the overbearing hovering of a couple of sweaty ole geezers, meant that these scenesters swiftly departed, clearing the way for Itchy to continue on his quest to pick up obscure dance platters. I settled on a Jerry Harrison album mainly because it had a Sebastiao Salgado photograph on the front cover and Gold Mother by indie/baggy manc poppits James. We had run out of juice by now, it was time to sit down, so it was off to the pub on the last leg of our journey.
We zipped over The Clarency or ‘The Dog's Arse Sniffer’ as it had been rechristened, where we took the weight off our feet and surveyed our haul of treasure. The friendly waitress sportingly offered that it was ‘awesome’ as she must have inwardly wondered, about what kind of oddballs, had stumbled in on her shift. Beers were quaffed, lunch was consumed and we kicked back to spectacle of the Olympic coverage of the women’s weight lifting competition. Seeing agricultural ladies lift unfeasible amounts of weight above their heads, was oddly compelling and a fine conclusion to the inaugural Great London Chazza Spectacular.
Scratchy’s Final Tally with initial impressions
Animals that Swim- I Was The King, I Really Was The King
clever rock with similarities to The Auteurs
Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet
poodle hair rock classic
The Darkside - All That Noise
solid if unspectacular fuzz rock
James - Gold Mother
couple of crackers and plenty of filler
Jerry Harrison – Casual Gods
Talking Heads lite
Method Man/ Ghostface - Tical 0 Album Sampler
shocking, this is no Ironman, worst buy of the day!
ZZ Top - Afterburner
afterthought to Eliminator the synths are annoying
Madness - Keep Moving
A band running out of steam, saved by Michael Caine
Ride – Dreams Burn Down (Fall)Reverb aplenty, the shoegaze revival must be around the corner!
Verrucca Salt - Seether
An exquisite Lo Fi/grunge pop classic, of course
The Starlings - Wasn’t Born To Follow
Chirpy fey indie from the Eighties
Fake - Sea Dust
Post rock chilledness
The Cardigans - Sick And Tired
Nordic indie pop loveliness
The Cardigans - Carnival
more pop perfection with a bonus flipside Ozzy Osborne’s Mr Crowley done acapella style, lovely and haunting.
Violinski - Time To Live
footnote to the E.L.O story
Tarnation - There’s Someone
A soundtrack to an art house western movie , interesting a winner!
Dirty Three/Scenic (split7”) – Strange Holiday/When The Time Comes
alt shoegaze/post rock, an unassuming gem
Minital Rock Steady Vol 1 (split 4ways) Formula One/Magic Water/Chevette/Ricky Spontane
Possibly find of the day - fun packed D.I.Y indie pop
Superchunk - Hello Hawk
Like your favourite chocolate that’s been downsized to ‘funsize’
Inperial Teen -You’re One
adolescent tantrums throwing a musical strop on - good stuff