January 2010


Friday, 29th January - Newcastle-under-Lyme

pound1001 pound1002

True Grit DVD.

The Big Country DVD.

South Pacific CD.

The Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donovan Leitch.



2 packs of 10 disposable lighters.
2 packs of 6 blank CDs.
1 pack of 8 CD cases.


Rejected Item:

A book about Saturday Night Television (I neglected to make a note of the title) which I took off the shelf, had a look for The Strange World of Gurney Slade, didn’t find it and reckoned I knew more than them what had written the book.


1. An odd selection here. I was going to go through each item starting with ‘I don’t really like’ but that’s one of the drawbacks, or maybe, in glass half full mode (as we should be at the start of a new decade), one of the delights of Poundland. Things we don’t particularly like are given another chance because they’re only a pound. And it’s not as if I hate everything I bought. I do like True Grit, but I’ve never really cared for John Wayne. I can count the number of John Wayne films I like on the fingers of one hand - Stagecoach, Rio Bravo, Hatari, El Dorado, with True Grit on my thumb. And I tend to like those despite the presence of John Wayne, more for the supporting cast and the scripts. Difficult to ignore the man’s politics, of course, but when it comes to films I can turn the blind eye, so it’s more than that. Just never connected with the Duke. But True Grit I do like. The rest of the cast is excellent and the screenplay by Marguerite Roberts from the novel by Charles Portis is brilliant. Wonderful use of language. And it was directed by Henry Hathaway, another Hollywood hack (Dark Corner, Kiss of Death, Call Northside 777, Prince Valiant, 23 Paces to Baker Street, From Hell to Texas, Seven Thieves and the best bits of How The West Was Won). The best bits of the latter do not include the deadly dull Civil War sequence directed by the ‘great’ John Ford and featuring John Wayne in a brief cameo as General Sherman (brief enough not to have to get my other hand out).

2 How the West Was Won is an epic western, not a cowboy picture, as is The Big Country, which I’ve never liked. But it does have great music and I do like all the actors in it. And Jean Simmons died the other day, so I thought I’d give it another go.

3 I don’t like Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals either but I bought the South Pacific CD. These ‘original cast recordings’ are really nice. As well as the Broadway cast version they throw in some extra tracks by proper singers and the Guys and Dolls CD (which No. 2 son got me from the Brighton Poundland) is especially good since there’s no fear of running into Marlon Brando. So, why don’t I mind South Pacific? Two reasons. I’ve never seen it. Never managed to sit through the film. So I don’t know who dies or when the Nazis invade or if the Japanese bomb the whole cast out of existence, or whatever else usually happens in Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals to make them not happy. I like happy musicals. The only not happy musical I like is Cabaret. Otherwise, let’s just be happy. And not have Julie Andrews in it. The other reason goes back to my childhood when we had an Elizabethan tape recorder. A huge reel to reel machine (Elizabethan, I should explain, was the make), which is still up in the loft somewhere. I think we did have a small record player as well, but not many records, and one summer back around 1960, a friend of my mother’s lent her two tapes, Nat King Cole’s Love is the Thing and the soundtrack of South Pacific, which we played a lot. So the songs of South Pacific, for me at least, exist outside the otherwise gloomy world of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Unlike the songs of The Sound of Music, which I suffered through at the Odeon, Hanley during its year-long run, the only one of which I can bear to listen to is Coltrane’s version of My Favorite Things.

4. Donovan I don’t really mind, but I was never a great fan. He wrote some decent songs (I’m particularly fond of Colours), but he always seemed a bit twee and English for my taste. However my friend Clive is a devotee, so the book’s for him. Hope he hasn’t got it, otherwise I’ll have to read all about Mr. Leitch’s hippy doings.


March 2010


Monday, 1st March - Brighton

pound1003 pound1004

Crime Spree DVD.

Agent Cody Banks DVD (Collector’s Edition).

Prodriver Universal Spout & Funnel Kit.



1 pack of 8 disposable lighters.
1 pack of 6 blank CDs.


Rejected Item:

A simple, black, funnel-shaped funnel.


1. Well, I finally got to buy something from the big two-storey Poundland shop in Brighton. I was a bit pushed for time with the good lady wife waiting in a cafe for me and No. 2 son in tow so I couldn’t afford to let my mind go dancing with the daffodils. Plus it was very busy. Still, I did manage to spot something which I needed - a funnel. Usually, in Poundland, one forgets the things one needs, distracted by the rubbish on offer. A similar trick of the brain led to the formation of the British Empire as native peoples were fobbed off with brightly coloured beads instead of handing over a shopping list including big guns and video recorders. Anyway, I spot this black,
funnel-shaped funnel - perfect for my needs (my needs being to get the oil from a big oil container into my car without spilling any on the engine as warned not to by the instructions on the big oil container). Unfortunately two ladies are ahead of me, examining this black plastic funnel and they are trying to fit this other plastic tube to it. They give up and throw the funnel and the tube back on the shelf (with undue violence, I must add) and then pick up the bright yellow (I think - colour-blind) ‘Universal Spout and Funnel Kit’ and walk off. Now it’s my turn. I pick up the black plastic funnel (perfect for my needs), but I now wonder whether the black plastic tube comes with it - they are not connected in any way on the shelf, the pile of  plastic tubes just rest alongside the funnels. I have a go at fixing the plastic tube to the funnel. It does not fit. No. 2 son has a go. He suggests we just leave. But I do need a funnel. I try again while through my mind goes the following till-scenario - if I take the funnel by itself (which is the only bit I need, perfect for the job in hand) the till operative might say, “You need the other bit” (which does not fit) and then I’ll hold up the till queue and have to run back down the shop to get it under the disapproving eyes of the Southern Poundlanders. On the other hand if I take the plastic tube, I may get charged for that separately, so paying a pound for something I don’t need, doesn’t fit, and which has no possible use. No. 2 son says that I should just throw the black funnel and tube onto the shelf and pick up the yellow thing. Which I do (apart from the throwing since I was brung up right) and we relinquish our place to the next funnel-purchaser in line who presumably goes through the same procedure. As we have a look upstairs which is just full of compost and other garden stuff, my mind is still distracted by the perfect black funnel which I have discarded in favour of the bright yellow (I think) strange funnel apparatus with its accompanying tubes and taps and unfunnel shape. Perhaps it was a capitalist ploy on the part of Poundland - place a pile of useless plastic tubes (made by the bloke in China for the guidance system of the latest nuclear-powered submarine, but delivered to the Brighton Poundland by mistake) next to another item of similar black plastic in order to con people into thinking they must be connected until they end up at the till and have to pay an extra pound. Or, more disconcerting, have Poundland been employed by the government to test the imitative behaviour in human beings, using the underclass as the next step up from monkeys, to see if, given two unrelated items of the same material and colour, we will naturally attempt to connect the two? What point there is in such a study is beyond my wit to perceive but there is probably some military use for the information gathered. Then again, maybe I’m being paranoid, and it was merely some wheeze of the bored employees of Poundland to train the CCTVs on their hapless customers as they tried to fix the tube to the funnel, while they laughed their socks off in their cubbyhole somewhere (they certainly weren’t doing their jobs since there was a massive queue and only two tills operating) before posting the video on youtube.

2. Crime Spree I knew nothing about until the day before my visit to Poundland when No. 1 son showed me the copy he’d bought. My interest was piqued by the cast list, Gerard Depardieu, Harvey Keitel, Johnny Hallyday, so when I found it on the shelf, it went in the basket.

3. Agent Cody Banks, was bought on that Poundland principle where DVDs you wouldn’t bother looking at in a regular shop (in this case, because it’s, you know, for kids) suddenly become objects of desire on the basis of the extras on the disc. This has got a commentary and numerous featurettes. Of course, the film itself has to be watchable to begin with, otherwise it’d be a bit daft.

4. David Cameron was in Brighton at the weekend and so was I, but our paths did not cross - at least I didn’t see him in Poundland. I bet his advisors told him to stear clear because of the funnel test the government’s running. He wouldn’t want to be caught out by something like that and end up on youtube with the other chimps in an election year.

Thursday, 25th March - Newcastle-under-Lyme

pound1005 pound1006

The Wendell Baker Story DVD.

A Classic Pipe.

A Black Belt.



2 packs of 8 disposable lighters.
2 packs of 6 blank CDs.
1 pack of 10 tubes of Super Glue.
1 Super-Max Kwik3 System Razor (1 Handle + 5 Cartridges).


Rejected Item:

Kenny Ball’s autobiography.

I spotted some of those black funnel-shaped funnels which had caused me so much trouble in Brighton. In Newcastle they were properly assembled and the plastic tube was attached, so full marks to the staff and proof positive that the North is better than the South.


1. This was the annual pre-birthday visit to Poundland and I was fully expecting to come away empty-handed - bar the supplies. And I wondered if the lady on the till had been apprised of my upcoming celebration since as I stood there with a basket full of items she kept asking me whether I wanted a bag. Admittedly I’m a bit of a deaf bastard so I didn’t hear her the first couple of times and just thought she was talking to somebody behind me. Then I twigged and said yes and resisted the temptation to add “What d’you think this is, Crackerjack?” But I must say I was pleasantly surprised by my visit. Not only a DVD of a film which I’ve never heard of and which No. 2 son alerted me to since he’d found it in the great metropolis of Brighton, and being a fan of the Brothers Wilson, suggested I purchase, but also a belt, which I needed to hold my trousers up and a classic pipe. Actually I’m not that sure about the film since I didn’t bother reading the blurb on the back till I got it home and it looks a bit rubbish. On the other hand, it has loads of extras. A much better purchase would have been You Kill Me starring Sir Ben Kingsley and directed by John  Dahl, but I’d already got that. The belt is fine, although there was a note with it warning me not to iron it or send it to the dry cleaners and I suspect the little window on the till got it wrong when it said ‘leather belt’.

2. And then there’s the Classic Pipe. Now I am a pipe smoker. And I know how expensive pipes are. Plus, they’re tricky things, pipes. They can break, can clog up, can generally just not suit, and it takes a couple of weeks before you find that out, so there’s no point paying lots of money for a pipe. The best bet was always the little bowl of ‘seconds’ that every tobacconist (and there’s not many of them around these days) had on its counter. These used to be around a fiver so you could take a chance. Now the ‘seconds’ are around twelve quid, so Mr. God knows how much the ‘firsts’ are - I daren’t look. So, imagine my delight when I find a pile of pipes in neat little boxes at the bottom of the smokers’ display in Poundland. For a split second I did consider buying the lot. And then sanity intervened and I remembered I was in Poundland. So I just bought the one. It is made by A & J “Quality Smoker’s Products” and on the back of the box it says “A traditional pipe, made from quality materials for long lasting
durability.” I would question this description. It appears to be made from plastic, which is not a good material to make something from if you’re going to set fire to it. To offset the danger Messrs. A & J have provided a little metal piece that you fit into the bowl and you put your tobacco in this. There’s also a black plastic ring with a hole in it, but I’ve no idea what that’s for. I did actually wonder whether this style of pipe was for substances other than tobacco, but since I’ve never gone down that route, I can’t say. However, on the plus side, it does work, so perhaps Messrs. A & J have cracked the problem of how to make a cheap pipe. My hat’s off to them.

3. The Kenny Ball book was eventually discarded even though he forms part of the soundtrack of my childhood - ‘Midnight in Moscow’ being a particular favourite. It is odd when you think back to the popular music of the late 50s and early 60s. As well as skiffle and rock ‘n’ roll, there was folk music and traditional jazz and film themes and fat women playing pianos and novelty songs as well as Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra and Perry Como and the rest. I miss that variety. However, I rejected Mr. Ball’s autobiography because I knew it would remind me of all those conversations in my youth when people would ask me what music I was into, and I would reply, jazz (meaning Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane and Albert Ayler) and they would say, oh, Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk, and I would once again become aware of the vast gulf which existed between me and the rest of society.

April 2010


Thursday, 22nd April - Hanley

pound1007 pound1008


A Toblerone.



1 pack of 8 disposable lighters.
1 pack of 6 blank CDs.
1 tin of Palmolive Shaving Foam.


Rejected Item:

A wedding anniversary card for the good lady wife.


1. Strange are the ways of Poundland. After my last visit and the rejection of Kenny Ball’s autobiography, I waxed nostalgic for the music of the 1950s and early 60s with its infinite variety. Mr. Poundland must have been listening since on my next visit I find the CD: 50’s Jukebox Hits 2. And what a strange collection of ‘hits’ it is. For me the standout track is Friendly Persuasion, sung, not by Pat Boone, who had the hit with the Oscar-nominated song from the 1956 film about the problems of Quakers in the American Civil War, but by Anthony Perkins, star of the film itself. It’s an odd song anyway, with its faux-archaic lyrics (“Thee I love”), but having Norman Bates croon it at you, I find rather unsettling. Other highlights of the CD are a weirdly over-the-top rendition of the Peggy Lee classic, Fever, by Ray Peterson and, in stark contrast, a very low-key rendition of Unchained Melody by the great Harry Belafonte. The latter is not as good as the Bobby Hatfield version, but then again, what could be. I was also pleasantly surprised to find the original version of As I Love You by Jo Stafford. For Christmas 1958 my sister had a record player and one record (a 78) Stupid Cupid by Connie Francis. After playing that to death we went to Longton market and bought another one, As I Love You, by Shirley Bassey. I renewed my acquaintance with Stupid Cupid recently on another compilation but I could not for the life of me remember the Shirley Bassey song, only the B-side, Hands Across The Sea. So, thank you Mr. Poundland for plugging that little gap in my memory.

2. I did get permission from the good lady wife to buy her a wedding anniversary card from Poundland - I thought it would be funny, but it’s always safer to make sure. However when it came down to it I was overcome with the fear of the checkout and I thought my exit from the shop would be accompanied by a chorus of whispers, “What kind of man would buy his wife an anniversary card from Poundland.” So I rejected the card and went to Mr. W. H. Smith’s instead where I had to pay an extra penny for a bag to hide it in. What my fellow shoppers in Poundland did not know however was that the toblerone was a wedding anniversary present, so I fooled them there, damned whispering people.

June 2010


Tuesday, 8th June - Lincoln

pound1009 pound1010

A Wii Remote Tennis Racket

A Titanic Sinks mug.

4 pack of reporters note books.

Aidfast Comfort Earplugs (4 pairs with carry case)



1 pack of 8 disposable lighters.
1 pack of 8 Kodak Supralife AA batteries.
1 roll of reinforced tape.


Rejected Item:

A dustpan and long-handled brush. Since the onset of arthritis I could do with one of these, but I did not fancy walking round Lincoln with it in the rain, lest I was mistaken for a street-sweeper.


1. We were in Lincoln to visit the Tennyson Research Centre to copy some begging letters from Robert Buchanan to Alfred Lord. Bob would have had fewer money worries if they’d had Poundlands in the Victorian age. Although they would have been Pennylands back then and he could have got a packet of powdered gruel, a Queen Victoria mug and a Linda Barker DVD all for thruppence. Instead of which he had to keep writing to his brother poets for money. Thus do we live in better times now than then. Thanks to Poundland.

2. The Lincoln Poundland was the very first Poundland I ever visited, which is fitting since it is a mediæval city and we had a cup of tea and a cake sitting outside a cafe which had originally been some kind of ecclesiastical building with a couple of carved stone heads (just blokes, not gargoyley types) either side of the door staring at me disapprovingly while I had a smoke. Although my main purpose in visiting Lincoln was to pursue my mad Buchanan quest, I also wanted to make a pilgrimage to the spot where I first beheld a Poundland. Of course, I was disappointed. My memories of that first visit are filled with light and air, I picture it in my mind as a vast hall of treasures. Now, in reality, it becomes what it is. A Poundland like any other. I suspect the mediæval pilgrims must have felt a similar sullying of their memories when they returned to Chartres after visiting all the other cathedrals that had popped up while they wandered round Europe looking at bits of the one true cross.

3. I also broke the fourth rule of Poundland, expecting to find good stuff since I was far from home and had not been to Poundland for a month. Although the DVD shelves were well-stocked, there were very few films on offer and most of the display was taken up with DVDs about tractors - a subject that does not interest me.

4. Two items were purchased by the good lady wife. The earplugs and the little plastic tennis racket. The earplugs are because she says I snore. I have never noticed this myself, but I felt it best to humour her. The little plastic tennis racket fits around the remote control of one’s Wii to give added realism whilst playing tennis on your telly. The Wii was purchased (from Mr. Comet’s shop, I should add, just in case you thought you’d missed a bargain and are kicking yourselves) by the good lady wife as an alternative to going to the gym and having to talk to people. Two weeks after she made this decision the gym closed down which I think is as good an indication as any as to the parlous state of our economy. One wonders how Robert Buchanan would be getting on if he were alive today. I can’t see Pam Ayres stumping up the moolah to keep the nation’s odes flowing.

5. I fear the lack of an apostrophe in the ‘reporters note books’ is an indication of the current state of journalism. The use of the lower case I took as an hommage to e. e. cummings. I should point out that I am not embarking on a career as a reporter, I just need something to jot down what’s on telly these days since the explosion of freeview channels has led to much confusion, especially since everything you want to watch is on at 9 o’clock, so you have to scour the pages of the Radio Times looking for the repeats.

6. The ‘Titanic Sinks’ mug was bought because I wanted a mug and I thought one with a bit of reading matter on it would be ideal. Plus, as I have mentioned before in these pages, the Captain of the Titanic came from Stoke, so there’s a local connection.

7. The gentleman on the till was very friendly and paid me the compliment of asking if I was over 18 (a requisite for buying lighters). The good lady wife then piped up and said that when she’d last purchased lighters in Poundland (an emergency trip she’d made when I was stuck up a ladder, painting) she had not been asked her age. An awkward silence ensued. I kept my mouth shut, knowing a flippant remark at this point could lead to an uncomfortable two-hour journey home, but luckily the Poundland employee stepped into the breach and offered his own merry quip and tragedy was thus averted.


July 2010


Tuesday, 6th July - Hanley

pound1011 pound1012

Spitfire Combat Operations 1939-1945 - The Official Wartime Documentaries DVD.

3D Wildlife Mouse Pad ‘Add some colour to your IT & Its’s wipe clean!’

1 Round Food Container ‘new!’

3 Walnut Whips.



2 packs of 7 Refillable Electronic Lighters - Bull Brand.
1 Easy Liquid Toilet Rim with free refill.
80 Pack of CD/DVD paper sleeves ‘Each with a window’.


Rejected Item:

A ‘Giant Saxophone’. Rejected on the basis that it wasn’t. It was the size of the usual toy saxophone but a bit fatter and I think it was pink. It would only be considered a giant saxophone by some kind of midget baby like what you see on them adverts for telly programmes made by people who think we’re still living in the Victorian era. If you want to see a real giant saxophone then there’s a clip of Adrian Rollini, the virtuoso of the bass saxophone on youtube, as well as one of a lad playing a contrabass saxophone which can truly be called giant. I hope Mr. Poundland takes notice and removes this product from his shelves.


1. So I’d got four hours to kill in Hanley while Kwikfit did man things to my car. First I visited the museum since I hadn’t seen the Staffordshire ‘oard yet and although the main exhibition had gone there were still some bits of it left. It was very impressive. I checked the wallaby was still there, nodded at the skeleton and Dr. Crippen (still sat in the pub playing dominoes) opposite the new display devoted to ‘local heroes’, Arnold Bennett and Havergal Brian. I was impressed by the Bennett, but there was nothing to do with Brian apart from some writing and a bust of him nicked from elsewhere. They could at least have some of his music playing, although that might upset Dr. Crippen and you wunner want do that. I also found a little telly stuck in the wall which you could poke and see things of a local nature on. It said there were films but they weren’t working, so I tried the pictures. I poked Arnold Bennett and got a bigger picture and some blurb about him. It struck me that this might be confusing to some, since the picture showed a man carrying a wooden box, walking behind two women in black. I think most people would assume that the man was Arnold Bennett, but he isn’t. I think that’s his brother, Frank, and Arnold’s in the box. Or at least his ashes are, on the way to being interred in Burslem cemetery. I think they should add a note to that effect - “Arnold Bennett, dead, in a box.” It would avoid confusion. Anyway I left the poking telly and went to the library for a couple of hours, then back to the museum for me dinner before ending up in Poundland.

2. The Spitfire DVD was for the good lady wife since she is a fan of planes and the Spitfire in particular. It includes ‘the definitive Spitfire recognition film from 1944’ which will put a stop to the recurring conversation at the annual Cosford Air Show when we sit in the garden centre car park and they do the Second World War flypast and we look up and say is that the Spitfire or the Hurricane like them people at the start of the old Superman TV show from the 1950s who couldn’t tell if they were looking at a bird, a plane, or a fat bloke. The Spitfire (which was designed by Reginald Mitchell) DVD is the second in the Poundland series of ‘Heroes from Stoke’ and goes nicely with my Titanic mug. I wonder who’ll be next? Probably Stanley Matthews. Be interesting to see what they do for Robert Buchanan.

3. The 3D mousemat was also a present for the good lady wife since she doesn’t like the previous Poundland mousemat with a knobbly bit for resting your wrist. Although I was a bit disappointed by the legend on the packet - ‘Add some colour to your IT & Its’s wipe clean!’ - I was impressed by the picture of the leopard which has leaves in front of him (or her, it might be a lady leopard, you can’t really tell, not like if it was a lion then you get the hair thing as a clue) and trees behind to give a very effective 3D effect. And all without the use of glasses. I have a theory that 3D technology at the pictures is being hampered by the Opticians’ lobby. Until we can sit in comfort without glasses, 3D will never catch on. But somebody is holding back the research. Much like the petrol companies stopped us getting the jetpacks we were promised. James Cameron please take note. Its’s the future!

4. I didn’t see any need for the Round Food Container to announce itself as ‘new!’ as though nobody else had ever come up with the idea of round food containers. I’ve seen plenty of them before. Plus we’re not going to use it as a food container, so they’re wrong there as well. Since we all took our degrees in waste management and recycling skills we just wanted a new bowl to chuck rubbish in in the kitchen since the old one cracked. The lid I may use as a frisbee if I’m so inclined.


99p Store


Monday, 12th July - Brighton

99p1 99p2

Angel: The Casefiles - Volume One

Wii Remote Golf Club



1 pack of 8 disposable lighters - Coyote Brand.


1. I know this is strange but such is the South. Many a time and oft have I scoffed at the cat food and garden supplies of the 99p Stores, pooh poohing their pitiful attempts to ape their more expensive cousin. However on Monday, on a trip to Brighton, I had cause to revise my opinion. The good lady wife had hired a scooter (donated to Shopmobility by the Freemasons of Sussex) to ease her progress through the town and with No. 1 son as guide we set off. I had intended to visit Brighton’s Poundland at some point but it lay in the opposite direction to that in which the good lady wife was motoring in her masonic scooter. No. 1 son (now adopting the beard of the film director) pointed out the 99p Store as a suitable alternative and, despite misgivings, I decided to give it a whirl. What a revelation! True there was still the cat food and garden supplies and that faint whiff of poverty which Mr. Poundland uses his extra penny profits to dispel, but I also noticed something else. Like Proust dipping his madeleine in his tea, spying the big Angel book unlocked the memories of the glory days of Poundland, when the great delight was to find the perfect bargain among the rubbish. I noticed it also in the toy section, although I have now put aside childish things since my sons are all full grown and sport the beards of film directors. And I would say that I sat down and wept for the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Poundland, except that would have been embarrassing, so I just bought the Wii golf club for the good lady wife and a pack of better lighters than the ones I bought in Poundland the other day which run out after a couple of goes and hurt me thumb. Outside, as I proffered my gift to the good lady wife, she just said, “You could have bought one of them in Poundland.” Which was true (though lacking in gratitude, which I put down to her being sat on a vehicle built by masons) and yet I thought to myself that the same could not be said of big Angel books and I wiped an imaginary tear from my eye, and seeing as we were in Brighton, struck a pose. Then she powered up the infernal machine and we ran after her down the road until we stopped and had a pasty in a cafe which catered for pigeons.


The hand of the good lady wife and the masonic scooter.


on to September


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