What I Got From Poundland

January 2008


Wednesday, 30th January - Newcastle-under-Lyme


6 Micro Icons Mega Packs - Series 1:

     1. Bikers: “The Garage”
     2. Bikers: “The Fill Up”
     3. Commandos: “Grenade Alley”
     4. Commandos: “Patriotic Platform”
     5. Kung Fu: “Sushi Diner”
     6. Punks: “Tattoo Shop”

Signalex CD case (104 disc capacity)

Amazing Pack of Five Comics:

     1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer #19
       (written by a bloke from Stoke)
2. Angel #3
     3. JSA All Stars #1
     4. Kin
     5. Star Wars Handbook Volume Two: Crimson Empire

The Road To McCarthy by Pete McCarthy



6 Kodak Supralife AAA batteries
6 Kodak C6 batteries
2 Maxell 4 Hour video tapes
8 CDRs
2 x 4 DVDRs
50 A5 envelopes
10 disposable lighters

Rejected item:

A little hoover that plugs into a USB port on your computer so you can clean your
keyboard. Very neat, but in the end rejected as being a bit silly.

Just thought I should mention here that not everything I buy is for me - the toys for example. I am just following orders.


1. Last night I dreamt I went to Poundland again. It was pretty scary. They’d opened up the back of the shop and let it out to various traders, so what I thought were things I could buy for a pound, weren’t. I was thoroughly confused and left without buying anything - not even the requisite videotape. I should apologise. Other people’s dreams are always boring and I only mention it here because I don’t usually dream and this is the first time I’ve dreamed of Poundland. It has no significance whatsoever and Sigmund Freud was a fool.

February 2008


Tuesday 12th February 2008 - Newcastle-under-Lyme

pound02082 pound02083

2 packs of 6 self-adhesive vinyl floor tiles.

3 A5 holographic notebooks



1 TDK 4 Hour video tape
Pack of four blank dvds.
Pack of 10 CD cases
Pack of 8 DVD cases


Rejected item:

Video of Foolproof. A film I knew nothing about and rejected on the basis that I noticed Atom Egoyan’s name as producer in the credits and reckoned it would be people talking. If it had been on dvd I would probably have given it a go, but now one always looks down on videos.

This sparked a rumination on the way back to the car on how many media have bitten the dust while I’ve been alive. 78s, 45s, 10” records, LPs, EPs, those 8 track cartridge things, audio cassettes, videos. About the only thing I don’t remember are wax cylinders.

I looked Foolproof up on imdb when I got home and reckoned I made a mistake. I broke the first rule of Poundland. Sounds ok. If it’s there next time I’ll buy it.


1. This was somewhat of an emergency visit due to the medieval guild of plumbers who insist on using cardboard washers in taps to stop kitchens flooding. I needed to replace some floor tiles and although I had enough matching spares to cover the area I’d ripped up, I needed some to replace the other layer of tiles which lay underneath. I remembered seeing some in Poundland and although it’s usually the rule that what you’ve seen once won’t be there next time (pace the Linda Barker dvds), I thought I should take a chance.

2. I did spot a number of new dvds in the shop but these were mostly of the Romantic Comedy type - a genre which pales somewhat with the passing years. Presumably they were meant to tie in with the St. Valentine’s Day theme. Pity we don’t have a Cowboy Day or a Car Chase Day, or best of all a Film Noir Day, but I suppose we should be grateful that there’s no British Cinema Day.

Tuesday 26th February 2008 - Newcastle-under-Lyme


Foolproof video.
(Now to see whether I should trust imdb or my own instincts. Still, glad to get it, especially since I broke the first rule of Poundland, although now I’m a bit worried it’ll turn up on dvd (with a commentary).)

Attacktix Battle Figure Game: Star Wars Booster Pack.



2 Maxell 4 Hour video tapes.
2 packs of four blank dvds.
10 disposable lighters
26 black bin bags
(Probably a mistake. Bin bags from Poundland always seem too small for a standard dustbin. Maybe the bloke in China’s bin is little. Perhaps he should be told. Anyway I did not go down the greedy path and buy the 50 bag pack - that way lies madness - they must be as tiny as oldtyme sweetie bags.)


Rejected item:

A canvas for doing a painting on. This always gets rejected but I always have a look at it. Goes back to the days when I dabbled and canvases had to be bought in specialist shops and were too expensive so if you wanted to slap a bit of paint around you had to get a sheet of hardboard and some dulux. I now wonder whether, if you took infinite time and infinite pains, one could produce something akin to the ‘Mona Lisa’ or at least Tracey Emin’s bed, but being colour blind and lacking any talent whatsoever for drawing, I always walk on by.


Bargain spot:

(These are things which are no good to me but which rate a mention as a good bargain for somebody else.)

4 Action Films on DVD. Usually these packs have a ratio of 1:3 (i.e. one good film to three rubbish), but with this one the ratio is reversed. Chopper and the two original French Taxi films (the first featuring Marion Cotillard who won a best actress Oscar the other day) and the rubbish one: Eye of the Beholder. But even this is interesting in a way. It is a transformationalist film (something about it is not quite right). In this case it is the casting of Ewan McGregor (presumably very ‘hot’ at the time) which is so wrong (he’s much too young) it skews the plot and makes everything seem a tad weird. If I hadn’t already got the first three films (and I got a really nice version of Chopper on its own with loads of special features from Poundland) on dvd and the other taped off the TV, I would definitely have bought this.

Interim Report:

I watched Foolproof and it was quite good, so hats off to the imdb. Not as good as Congo, of course, but decidedly better than Death Proof.


1. Poundland offers a glimpse of the future promised by Harold Wilson. A land where the main problem would be what we would do with our leisure time, for all the work would be done by machines and we would have jetpacks. Maybe that’s why Poundland seems full of bent old souls wandering the aisles and dreaming of the might have been. We all believed the lies, except the one about Lord Mountbatten being behind a military coup to oust Wilson from government, and in the end that was the only one that was true.

2. As well as the canvas and the paints there’s also the fishing rods. Poundland obviously want to see us all out there by the side of the babbling brook casting our lines or painting our pictures. I never really took to fishing as a nipper - dinner like getting the hook out of the fish’s lip and I conner do with maggots (although I hear there are some who have done the five years’ training and now work for the NHS). Then there’s the whole licensing business - can the fishermen of England just go down the canal and catch their dinner or do we have to have a permit? And then there’s the question of how long we’ll be permitted to hunt the fish, I’ve already had to hang up my hunting horn and stirrup cup.

March 2008


Wednesday 12th March 2008  - Newcastle-under-Lyme

pound03081 pound03082

Classic Films Collection (4 Films on 2 discs):

     1. Final Scream
     2. The Shawshank Redemption
     3. Shivers
     4. Witchcraft

Chance or Coincidence video.

Mouse Pad with duster

15-in-1 Remote Control
(Probably a mistake - see the third rule of Poundland.)



2 Maxell 4 Hour video tapes
8 CDRs
2 packs of 10 CD cases
6 Kodak Supralife AAA batteries
8 disposable lighters
(The number of lighters in the packs are going down which is a pity. Nice to see a roll-your-own kit in the smoking supplies though, complete with natty tin - pity I smoke a pipe.)


Rejected item:

Fan-Tan a novel by Marlon Brando and Donald Cammell. There was a time when I would have bought this for curiosity value alone, but over the years I’ve lost any interest I had in Marlon Brando. There’s a review of the book on the Washington Post site, which again made me wonder whether it was worth getting, but then again life’s too short.


1. The video of Chance or Coincidence (widescreen with subtitles) was one of those surprises which is the joy of Poundland. Directed by Claude Lelouch, it’s a rambling affair and very French, and not the sort of thing you expect to come across on a wet Wednesday morning.

2. The dvd has been around before but I think I rejected it because I’d already got a copy of Shivers and I always think I should get a decent copy of The Shawshank Redemption. This time however the oddness of the thing hit me. 4 Classic Movies - well, not really. Two, maybe, but Witchcraft is an Italian horror from the 1980s and Final Scream (aka Final Stab) is a straight-to-video effort. You do wonder who makes these dvd compilations - Poundland just sells them, so no blame there. I mean, here you’ve got one classic horror movie from David Cronenberg, one fairly interesting Italian job and one piece of rubbish, but all in the same genre - then Shawshank. You’d think they’d wait till they’d got another horror film to complete the set. Maybe somebody thought Shawshank was horror because it was written by Stephen King. But now it’s a modern classic and fast becoming everybody’s favourite film (which I’ve always found a bit strange - I mean it’s good, but not as good as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). Maybe somebody else told the first bloke and he got all embarrassed and said they’re all classics, even Final Scream. Maybe I think too much about these things and there is no order in the universe. Still, it’s an odd combination.

3. A word about Witchcraft. It’s not a good film. Bad acting, terrible script, annoying kid. But it is an Italian horror film (although set in America and not dubbed) and one thing about Italian horror films is, they are a bit weird. Which is what you want in a horror film. For example, Annie Ross gets sucked down into hell through a cupboard (Linda Blair makes the same trip through a bath) and then gets her mouth sewn up, then she’s hung upside down in a chimney and burns to death when her husband lights the fire. Par for the course really, but Hell seems to be constructed from timber and chicken wire. It’s a bit unsettling that. You expect fire and brimstone and either a bit of Gustave Doré or Piranesi or even John Martin, but you’re actually spending an eternity of torment in B & Q’s backyard. Pretty scary.

I should also mention the final scene which is so wonderfully bad it made me laugh - which is more than can be said for Meet The Fockers.

Friday 28th March 2008 - Newcastle-under-Lyme




Robin Hood 1000 piece jigsaw


2 Maxell 4 Hour video tapes.
2 packs of four blank dvds.
10 disposable lighters


Rejected item:

I found a lone copy of The Bostonians on DVD. I haven’t seen it and I used to be a Henry James fan, of sorts, but that was in my youth when I could go with the flow of unending sentences and plots which could be written on the back of a postage stamp, since the atmosphere and the literary skill was what counted, but although I had never read The Bostonians and this would be a much less time-consuming way to catch up with another of the Master’s pieces, I still could not bring myself to purchase a Merchant-Ivory film and the fact that Vanessa Redgrave was in it was yet another reason for my rejection - double death points. I left it on the shelf for some other, less-prejudiced, Henry James fan than I to buy.

You will notice that the bags I got this time were plain - no Poundland logo or slogan at all. Have they run out of proper
bags? Or is this a cost-cutting exercise, or maybe a marketing ploy? Perhaps some smart aleck down London has pointed out that toffs don’t like being seen walking round the streets with Poundland bags, hence this subtle, clean, new look to attract a more high-class clientele who read Henry James and watch Merchant-Ivory films.


1. Don’t go to Poundland on your birthday. I was thinking of adding that to the general rules of Poundland but I’m not sure whether it only applies to me. If you go to Poundland on or around the time of your birthday expecting to find a special surprise, you will likely be disappointed. Examine, if you will, the logical basis of such an assumption. In order for Poundland to supply its individual customers with birthday surprises then the whole delivery system of the organisation would have to be geared to such a purpose. Imagine the size of that database! Why, it suggests that Mr. Poundland is as omniscient as the great Jehovah himself. More, it does raise questions of security and surveillance - how did Mr. Poundland get my date of birth? Or does he just work off the electoral register? Whatever his methods, one can easily perceive that as a system of belief this is up there with the idea that when we die we stick around our houses for eternity, just on the off chance that Derek Acorah may turn up and put us on telly. And yet, I always fall for it. Around my birthday time, I always make a trip to Poundland with the belief that I’ll get summat good and I am usually disappointed. However, this year Mr. Poundland got me a Robin Hood jigsaw, so maybe he is watching over us.

2. The recent BBC series of Robin Hood is perhaps the worst ever. Which is saying a lot, considering I’m including the curious Lithuanian series,The New Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Matthew Porretta and featuring ‘the beautiful lady warrior Marion’. Mistakes were made in the initital conception of the BBC’s Robin Hood - for example: getting rid of Friar Tuck in order to keep that pesky religion out of the picture so as not to offend anybody (trouble is, remove the Church from Robin Hood and you lose half of your storylines, which is probably why they ended up killing Maid Marian), going with Alan Rickman’s pantomime villain stylings for the Sheriff, and borrowing some of the costumes from the Lithuanian series. They also don’t let Alan a Dale bring along his lute to cheer up the merrie men a bit and I will never forgive them for killing Roger of Stoke, one of the most beloved characters in all medieval literature. However, despite all this, the legend of Robin Hood is strong enough to stand up to any messing with, and so the series still remains watchable - unlike Dr. Who.

Interim Report:

I did the jigsaw. It is not the best example of the jigsaw maker’s craft, although I’m not sure how much the jigsaw maker is to blame. When dealing with a dark version of the Robin Hood legend (and the arbitrary elimination of both Maid Marian and Roger of Stoke is a good indication of its crepuscular style) one should be aware that too many shadows mean a box full of indistinguishable black pieces. Still, I did it, as evidenced by the photo on the right.


April 2008


Tuesday 8th April 2008 - Newcastle-under-Lyme

pound04081 pound04082

A Volcano.


1 Maxell 4 Hour video tape.
1 pack of four blank dvds.


Rejected item:

A staple gun. I’ve always fancied the idea of a staple gun but after a brief moment’s contemplation, I rejected it on the basis of having absolutely no idea what I would use it for.

I did notice that the lone copy of The Bostonians is still in the DVD section. Are there no Henry James fans in Newcastle-under-Lyme?

I’ve been meaning to add a note about the photos on this site. They probably look like they were taken with a camera purchased at Poundland but this is not the case. The only cameras on sale in Poundland are those disposable jobs which one then has to pay for processing thus negating any bargain element. One day I expect Poundland to sell digital cameras (probably powered by a USB connection, since as well as the hoover they are now selling massage balls and lava lamps) but until that day arrives I will use my own 10 quid digital camera which has no focus and no screen so it’s all a matter of luck whether you get any kind of reasonable photo at all. This seems in keeping with the spirit of Poundland.
However, for those occasions when a better image is required (such as the completed Robin Hood jigsaw image above) I will use a ‘proper’ camera.


1. Somewhat of a flying visit this time since I had No. 2 son in tow. He believes that a strange force of attraction operates in Poundland and when one stops too long to peruse the items on display then the other Poundland shoppers will naturally gravitate towards one and attach themselves to your person (the image of Raquel Welch being attacked by white corpuscles in Fantastic Voyage springs to mind). Whether the end result of this is that you become overwhelmed by the others and merely suffocate, or are subsumed into their collective being, I do not know since we always take the safe option and run round the shop. At first I took this as a generational thing and paid it no heed, but on reflection I think there may be some logical basis to his perception of Poundland physics. I have noticed on my own leisurely trips round Poundland that when I stop in the DVD or toy sections, it will not be long until others appear shuffling behind me. And, for that matter, I have been guilty of the same offence, if some other shopper is already ensconced I will hover nearby until he or she (or sometimes it) is finished. I have always put this down to the popularity of those particular sections, they are, after all, the most interesting to me, so why not to others? However, I now have a theory that there are unseen forces at work akin to gravity. Because of the nature of Poundland and the search for surprises and unusual bargains, it is understandable that when one spots someone staring intently at some particular item in the shop that this would alert the attention of other shoppers, exciting, if you will, some atavistic urge within the collective unconscious and thus drawing them to the point of interest and engendering the crowd effect which is so distressing to No. 2 son. Whether this law of Poundland can be rendered in mathematical form and be submitted to the Royal Society for their approval, I do not know - I feel more work needs to be done in this area.

2. Although I am adept at physics having got my O level (at the second attempt), I can claim no such qualification in chemistry and I think that was the reason I got suckered into buying a volcano in a box. All I know of alchemy is that it involves chemicals, bunsen burners and magic, therefore when I saw the volcano and noted the warning that it contained “chemicals that may be harmful if misused” I thought it might be an exciting thing to “explore the erupting properties of volcanoes”. I was also taken with the picture on the cover which indicated that fire would be involved (a primary element I would have thought in the erupting properties) particularly since it was made in China where it was invented. So you get a sturdy plastic box which contains: a plastic
volcano, a syringe, a small beaker, two pieces of plastic tubing (not sure what the other piece is for), two sachets of Ein-O Lava Powder, a magnifying glass, a piece of
pumice, a map of the world showing where the volcanoes are (of use if you are a travelling man), and Ein-O’s I Know Guide. The guide starts well with much talk of chemicals and keeping them out of reach of children and adult supervision being required. However on page 4 there is a list of requirements for the “Volcano Rumble Kit”, the last of which is vinegar. At which point it dawns that this is the old vinegar and baking soda trick and no fire will be required. Bugger. The disappointment is compounded by a little stuck-in bit of paper which declares: “note: you need to get your own vinegar to perform the experiment.”

So we did, and the results were filmed and should be available soon on youtube.

As for the pumice: you drop it in the little beaker of water and it floats! A veritable wonder of nature.


Volcano videos:

Eruption 1:

Eruption 2:

For the second experiment we decided to add all the remaining Ein-O Lava Powder, which served to block the little hole so no vinegar could get through. We attempted to remedy the situation by poking the crater (‘the Finger of God’ method), then applying the vinegar directly (‘the Vinegar Bottle of God’ method). Finally, I sucked some of the vinegar back into the syringe and gave it a mighty push creating a rather realistic eruption effect. So realistic, in fact, that my cameraman, fearing the pyroclastic flow, panicked.


Wednesday 23rd April 2008  - York

pound04083 pound04084

Fulltime Killer video

CD/DVD Organiser “Holds a massive 104 discs”.

Adidas Deep Energy Anti-perspirant.

‘Two for a pound’ Pure 3 in 1 make up removal cleansing wipes (25 per pack).


2 Maxell 4 Hour video tapes.
1 pack of four blank dvds.
1 pack of seven blank CDs.


Rejected item:

A couple of days in York with the good lady wife - hence the personal hygiene items - to celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary. I offered to buy her some perfume from Poundland’s select stock, but she declined. One tries.


1. Fulltime Killer was a nice surprise. I bought it on the strength of it being in the Tartan Asia Extreme series (widescreen and subtitled) and Johnny To being the
co-director. Even there I thought I might be taking a bit of a chance since Mr. To does favour the moany-gangster genre (which I do not - The Godfather is certainly not as good as Congo) however I needn’t have worried. Once I returned home I realised I’d seen it before - in fact it is one of those films-whose-title-I-don’t-recognise - a category which grows alarmingly with the passing years (I find I am totally at a loss when it comes to the works of Steven Seagal, apart from the appositely named Belly of the Beast). Fulltime Killer is an excellent Hong Kong action film, lifted well out of the norm by a very clever script. A nice addition to the collection.

2. The York branch of Poundland is about twice as big as my ‘local’ in Newcastle-under-Lyme and yet my purchases were pretty much the same as usual. I have noticed this before. Last year I visited the large Poundland in Brighton, which occupies two floors, and came out completely empty-handed. Considering how much rubbish is made in the world, one would expect a larger store to supply a greater variety, but this does not seem to be the case. I am wondering whether, like the Poundland force of attraction discussed previously, this warping of space so that all Poundlands contain the same amount of goods despite their apparent physical size, might be another candidate for a paper to the Royal Society.

Thursday 24th April 2008  - York

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A Fake Stone Buddha Head (wrapped).

You will notice that York Poundland is still using bags with slogans. Does this indicate a certain snobbishness in the people of Newcastle-under-
Lyme (surely not!), or is it merely a question of bag logistics?


1. Since my ‘local’ Poundland is not very ‘local’ (about five miles away) I took this opportunity to test the validity of the Fifth Rule of Poundland by visiting the York branch on consecutive days. Of course the experiment was flawed - if one sets out with the intention of visiting the shop in expectation of dramatic changes in the stock, one will be invariably disappointed, but the flaw in the experiment becomes its proof - one cannot presume to know how Poundland works. I did notice a few slight changes in the DVD section but nothing to trouble my pocket. However I did buy the fake stone Buddha head, which I had seen the day before.

2. Some things in Poundland strike one as so incongruous that they do not fit into the Rejected Item category. One notices them because of their very incongruity but it takes time for their true potential to percolate in the brain. The fake stone Buddha head was in the Gardening Section - which I tend to walk straight past since I do not like gardening. The reason I do not like gardening is that you can be standing there quite innocently, contemplating the green stuff and calculating how long you can avoid doing anything to it, when you look down and crawling up your shirt sleeve is some hideous beast straight out of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. The garden is an unnerving place. A realm of strange creatures which have no discernible role in civilised society, and I’m not just referring to the giant hedgehog who lives in the shed. Another reason I don’t like gardening is I don’t understand the rules. I don’t understand why a lawn full of dandelions is not a thing of beauty, why “when on my couch I lie in vacant or in pensive mood” I’m not allowed to dance with the dandelions. Who makes these rules? Is it Alan Titchmarsh? Where does he find the time? Anyway, the fake stone Buddha head was in the Gardening Section alongside the giant frogs and gnomes. This demotion of one of the great spiritual leaders of all time to the rank of garden ornament is a triumph for the secularist movement and one wonders whether the other great religious teachers will follow - Jesus in his many guises, L. Ron Hubbard, perhaps. Of course, it could be that the bloke in China who supplies Poundland with fake stone Buddha heads is following some Party Directive to undermine the Tibetan cause in light of the forthcoming Olympics. Still, I bought the fake stone Buddha head, and was surprised when the girl on the till carefully wrapped it in a piece of paper. I don’t know whether she did this out of respect for Buddha, or whether it indicated the fragility of the item, or whether it was just the native charm of the people of York. So, what are my plans for the fake stone Buddha head? I did have an idea for buying up the entire stock of fake stone Buddha heads and recreating Angkor Wat in the back garden, but that’s the sort of thing that attracts the attention of ‘Midlands Today’ and one wouldn’t want that. Next on the list was a film of Shelley’s Ozymandias featuring the fake stone Buddha head and some little men (not midgets, merely little models of men) but this would also involve buying some sand and doing animation type things, so, although the film has been greenlit I will cut some corners to bring it in on budget. Finally, since I can’t work out what the fake stone Buddha head is made of (I guessed resin, but when struck it has a metallic ring) I thought it might be interesting to see how it reacts to the elements over time. So I will be placing it in its natural garden setting and will take photos periodically to see how it changes with the seasons and the effects of its interaction with the flora and fauna of my garden. It will be no match for the giant hedgehog who lives in the shed, though, and will have to be secured in some way. This experiment will take a year at least, before I can make the resulting animation - Ozymandias hopefully will be released much sooner.


York Minster by night (just down the road from Poundland).



May 2008


Saturday 3rd May 2008  - Norwich

pound05081 pound05082

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - The Watcher’s Guides (Complete Box).

Civil Disturbance PC game.

Pack of 10 Memo Pads.

1 pack of four blank dvds.
6 Kodak Supralife AAA batteries.
10 disposable lighters.


Rejected item:

Report from the Aleutians DVD.

In retrospect I should have followed the First Rule and just bought this, but being in the big Norwich Poundland on a busy Saturday morning was a little unnerving and although distant bells were ringing, I put it back. I’m not really into documentaries of the Second World War (or any war for that matter, or any documentaries if truth be told) but I did recall that John Huston directed a film about the army in the Aleutians and I also remembered Dashiell Hammett was stationed there. Presumably this was that Huston film (there were no details on the box) and although Hammett had nothing to do with it, given The Maltese Falcon, the contiguity is intriguing.


1. The big box of Buffy books was one of those ineffable joys of Poundland. Even the nice lady on the till expressed surprise that I’d found it on her shelves. The sheer weight of the thing was curiously satisfying. My wife had just been into Lakeland across the road from Poundland and bought some kind of strangely shaped ceramic cooking pot in a big box for considerably more than a pound and as I walked back to Carparkland, a bag in each hand, I took great comfort from the fact that my Poundland bag was the heavier of the two.

2. The Civil Disturbance game is not good. It works, but it is not good.

3. After Poundland we went to visit St. Julian’s Church, erstwhile home of the 14th century mystic, Lady Julian of Norwich. A true oasis of calm.

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”


Wednesday 28th May 2008 - Newcastle-under-Lyme

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Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country DVD.


2 TDK 4 Hour video tapes.
4 Kodak Supralife AA batteries.
10 disposable lighters.


Rejected item:

A DVD with three episodes from the original series of ‘Star Trek’. Unfortunately Assignment Earth was not one of the three so I let it go. Gary Seven deserved a series.

Nice to see the logos back on the bags of the Newcastle branch. Say it loud: I’m poor and I’m proud.


1. An emergency visit since I’d run out of the means of making fire. I had to buy the electronic kind since that was all that was on offer. I’m not averse to progress but I do prefer the old style lighter with the little wheel. They seem to work better and the physical effort involved does remind one of the great sacrifices made by Prometheus on our behalf.

2. Star Trek VI was probably a mistake. Not because it’s bad but the reverse. It’s one of the even numbered ‘Star Trek’ films and so I should really buy a proper copy with all the extras, but instead I followed the First Rule. It’s come off a comic - stamped ‘not to be sold separately’ - one of those ‘partworks’ where you can take out a second mortgage and buy the entire ‘Star Trek’ oeuvre for the next fifty years, one week at a time. There were also odd DVDs from the original series and ‘Next Generation’, plus ‘C.S.I.’ and ‘Stargate’. Just one of each though, many copies of the same one, which makes you wonder whether that was where everybody decided the enterprise was fruitless and it was time to cancel their subscription. I admit to having a fleeting moment of madness and entertaining the thought that maybe one could acquire the entire ‘Star Trek’ collection by popping into Poundland at regular intervals and buying one at a
time. This would be an obvious breach of the Fourth and Fifth Rules, besides straining the bounds of synchronicity to breaking point. I also wondered what happened to the previously attached comics. Were they recycleable, whereas the DVDs in their plastic cases were not? And, also, will we one day see the shelves of Poundland full of random pieces of the Flying Scotsman and HMS Victory?


June 2008


Wednesday 11th June 2008 - Newcastle-under-Lyme

pound06081 pound06082

The Yin-Yang Master DVD.

Blackmail DVD.

Aluminium Torch.


1 JVC 4 Hour video tape.
1 pack of four blank dvds.
2 packs of 4 Sony AAA batteries.
2 packs of disposable lighters.


Rejected item:

Ninja Telephone (toy).

I find the concept of ninjas having to use mobile phones (even in the fantasy world of play) rather disappointing.


Poundland Incident:

I was standing at the checkout, next up, when the lady behind the counter called out for an air freshener. She then liberally sprayed the space in front of me. Years of smoking meant I couldn’t smell anything (one of the benefits they don’t tell you about), but since she didn’t spray me directly and warned me to wait a moment before the haze had
cleared, I presumed I wasn’t the object of her olfactory radar. I also discounted the possibility that the offending customer had mastered the power of invisibility. I suppose a previous customer had just left a trace of their presence in the air of Poundland before exiting the shop. At least, I hope they’d left the shop - if not, how embarrassing.


1. Both DVDs were a bit of a chancy purchase. I rejected Blackmail at first since it looked like one of those low budget rapper films (a genre which does not appeal) but reading the blurb on the back it looked a bit more interesting than that and with Bokeem Woodbine and Roger Rees in the cast, how bad can it be. Ah, woodbine, that takes me back. The Yin-Yang Master I presumed was a Chinese kung fu film and one always has to beware of those in Poundland in case they are of the early pat-a-cake fighting style. However, turns out it’s Japanese and gets quite a respectable score on imdb (unlike Blackmail).

I should also mention a couple of other DVDs which I rejected. Verdi’s La Traviata was one - I did wonder whether I should get this since I’ve always had a problem with opera. I like the bits with the tunes but I can’t stand the bits in between and I wondered if I sat down and tried to watch one all the way through I might get the point. But, as with rapper films, life’s too short. I also picked up and put down immediately a documentary about the Merchant-Ivory team. Why this stuff turns up in Poundland I have no idea.

2. On my last visit to Poundland in need of lighters I reluctantly bought a pack of the electronic kind. I also thought I’d seen some which contained a torch. I would have claimed them as my rejected item but I thought perhaps my mind had been playing tricks. Why would you need a torch in a lighter, surely one of the basic rules of the physical universe is that fire always gives off light, so why not just make with the fire if you want to look at something in the dark unless you’re looking for gas leaks in which case you’re best not using a lighter in the first place even one with a torch in it in case you click the wrong switch by accident. Anyway, this time I was faced with an even poorer selection of lighters and I was forced to buy the last pack of 8 electronic lighters (they say refillable but that never works) and a pack of “Old Collin’s Original Brand 6 Electronic Lighters with LED Torch”. Perhaps life is getting too much for Old Collin and he should consider retirement.


July 2008


Tuesday 8th July 2008  - Newcastle-under-Lyme

pound07081 pound07082

Epoch DVD.

PesterminateTM Snapping Bar Mouse Trap.

Ninja Power Telephone.


1 pack of four blank dvds.
1 pack of 8 CD cases.
2 packs of disposable lighters.

Good to see the proper lighters with the little wheel back in
stock. This time you get 12 for a pound which makes me think that if you want a good indicator of the state of the economy and the global recession don’t use fag lighters.


1. Quite an eclectic selection this time. We have a problem with mice - or at least a problem with a cat (William) who doesn’t understand the basic concept of rodent control (you’re supposed to keep the house free from mice, not go outside, bring them in and then drop them somewhere so that they can run off and hide under things and keep us up till three in the morning trying various Acme contraptions to catch them in a humane manner). Hence, the mousetrap - humane be damned. Along the bottom of the packet is a line of illustrations starting with a mouse followed by various insects and arachnids - these are all the same size and there is no explanatory note regarding scale - it’s a bit worrying. Then again I now have the means to trap such monsters.

2. Epoch was a bit of a gamble. I found it among the PC games and I had to check the cover a few times to work out whether it was a film. The danger with buying science fiction DVDs from Poundland is that you can end up with a moonbase film - which tend to be people moaning in a shed. I took a chance on Epoch because it seemed to have people in it - David Keith (not to be confused with Keith David, although he frequently is, by me at least), Brian Thompson, Craig Wasson and Ryan O’Neal - and it said “starring Stephanie Niznik”. True, choosing films on the basis of actors with funny names is not recommended. I once bought a ninja film because it starred Ross Kettle, which I found amusing. It was not good, apart from one bizarre sequence featuring ninjas on roller skates. Still, it was more interesting than The Assassination of Jesse James by blahdy blahdy blah. Epoch turned out to be rather good, at least the concept was fairly original and although it suffered from cheap cgi there were some nicely written scenes and an indication that there was an intelligence at work behind it all.

3. And talking of ninjas, yes, I did buy the Ninja Telephone. It was at the urging of No. 2 son (who is adept in the ways of the ninja), but now we don’t know whether to take it out of its packaging, when it will cease to be a Ninja Telephone and become just another crappy toy. It’s a bit like Schrödinger’s Cat, which I bet would be a lot less contrary than William.




1. Last night I dreamt I went to Poundland again and if I keep doing it I’m going to have to add another section to this site called “Dreams of Poundland” if only so people can avoid it. Anyway, I went to Poundland and it was empty. In fact it was very clinical and antiseptic as well as being bare of all products (not even the Linda Barker DVD was on sale). There was a bloke in the corner all dressed in black with a big black furry hat and he obviously knew me and beckoned me over. I had a feeling I knew him too - he was a friend, although I did not recognise him. The end. Obviously a death dream. The meaning fairly clear that once we shuffle off the mortal coil there will be no Poundland. Poundland is empty. Considering my conscious mind came to this conclusion many years ago it seems odd that my subconscious is still werriting about it. It needs to catch up. The big furry hat was a nice touch though.

2. The mousetrap is not doing its job. I think the bloke in China is getting lonely and following the advice of Ralph Waldo Emerson he has tried to invent a better mousetrap. Unfortunately he has failed. The classic mousetrap worked on the principle that the mouse touched the bait and the trap sprang shut. The Poundland mousetrap works on the principle that the mouse has to lift a cover in order to get at the bait and this triggers the killing machine. What mouse can be bothered with that? It is a monkey machine. The sort of device you would test out on a chimpanzee when he was taking a break from typing Hamlet.
     We did not deploy the trap immediately on purchase. We felt sorry for the little furry creature. Then one night he came out and chewed through the string holding up the kitchen blind. Why he did this I do not know. The blind is pulled down at night and he has probably heard the good lady wife discussing my poor household repair skills, so he knew I would just tie the string in a knot and keep the blind up from then on, enabling him to signal to his compadres in the garden outside. Anyway, I took it as a declaration of war and the next night we used the trap. In the morning we found he had safely removed the piece of apple we used as bait, and knocked the trap on its side, and then, presumably returned to his typewriter. Subsequent attempts to channel him into the trap have failed. Its killing arm remains upraised, the bait uneaten. The mouse knows what it is and will avoid it. Now I’m wondering what his plans are, as he sits under the gas meter (I took the kitchen apart and that seems to be the only place he can be hiding), smoking his Russian cigarettes and stroking his little white cat.

3. The ninja phone has come in useful. It has a very bright torch and I used it in my unsuccessful hunt for the mouse. It also has some very loud sounds and a scary-voiced lady shouting “INFORMATION. MAY I HELP YOU?” which would bugger up any self-respecting ninja’s stealth capability when he rang his mouse boss for orders.


Tuesday 29th July 2008 - Newcastle-under-Lyme

pound07083 pound07084

The Last Line of Defense DVD.

Code Lyoko Episode 27: New Order Hermitage Battle Scene

Code Lyoko Episode 31: Mister Puck Factory Entrance Battle Scene

151 Multi-purpose acrylic sealant


3 packs of eight blank cds.
1 pack of 80 paper CD cases.


Rejected item:

Floor paint. Unfortunately I have no floors I wish to paint, otherwise this would have been quite a bargain.

Le mouse est mort. I was a bit previous with my condemnation of the Poundland mousetrap. After the little bastard brought down the kitchen blind again we acquired one of the old- fashioned mousetraps but he’d obviously got a picture of that on his mousetrap identification chart and ignored it completely. So one night we set them both in order to confuse him and he skipped over the old and fell right into the new. I would have posted pictures but it was not a pretty sight and we all felt guilty and somewhat ashamed. Still, as the man said, war is hell.

I was going to retire the cheap little camera this time since it takes so long to get a useable picture, then it produced this low-angle shot which I thought was quite good. Still, for the full glory of Code Lyoko (no idea) I used a proper camera.


1. If gardening is the worst thing about the summer, then ‘doing jobs around the house’ comes a close second. When icicles hang by the wall and Dick the shepherd blows his nail you can get away with lazy afternoons watching Audie Murphy films, but when the sun has got his bloody hat on we are forced to don the paint-stained motley and do some decorating. One of the main things involved in decorating is filling in holes, hence the sealant. My favourite passage in the Tao te ching by Lao Tzu is:

“Thirty spokes
Share one hub.
Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the cart. Knead clay in order to make a vessel. Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the vessel. Cut out doors and windows in order to make a room. Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the room.
Thus what we gain is Something, yet it is by virtue of Nothing that this can be put to

Presumably there wasn’t a Mrs. Tzu hovering over him with a tub of tetrion.

2. Code Lyoko - no idea.

3. The Last Line of Defense (an elite force ... an alien enemy ... an impossible
deadline). Starring Olivier Gruner (not be to confused with Oliver Grunier, who does not exist) and Brad Dourif (one of those mad actors who is always good value, his list of credits on the back of the box misses out his greatest mad performance (9.9 on the Kinski scale) in John Huston’s Wise Blood). M. Gruner’s finest work is Albert Pyun’s Nemesis, which for some reason never makes it into those lists of the hundred bestest films ever - which it should.
I watched the trailer - an alien crashes his spaceship due to some bad cgi and lands in what looks like an old cowboy town film set where explosions then take place. In last Sunday’s Observer there was a feature on a new renaissance in British cinema and of the half-dozen films mentioned, not one seemed to have any possibility of explosions, since they were all of the moany genre, which we seem to do so well. (Note to Shane Meadows - do a film where you have a little kid wandering round moaning a lot and then blow him up.) Anyway I thought I spotted the great Ernie Hudson shouting at a computer screen, so I checked imdb and there he is! Apparently, The Last Line of Defense was made in 1999 and has gone by many titles: Interceptors, Interceptor Force, Alien Interceptors, Comandos, Força de Elite, Fuerza de choque and Predator 3: Intercepters. It is directed by Phillip J. Roth (presumably no relation) who also produced Epoch, which I bought last time, and imdb gives it 3.6, with the customary ‘One of the worst movies ever made’ on the message board. We shall see.


on to August


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