February 2013


Sunday, 24th February - Worthing

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Hara-Kiri DVD.

Dragon Quest DVD.

Attack On Leningrad DVD.

Blood Brothers DVD.

Tape Measure.


Caulking Gun.

1 tub of All Purpose Filler.

1 tube of Decorators Flexible Filler.

1 bottle of Eco-Spirit.

2 Clean Zone Storage Baskets - Very Handy!

1 bag of mint imperials - not shown.



2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.

2 packs of 4 Sony C batteries.


Rejected Item:

I thought I was pushing the Poundland envelope a bit far with my purchase of the white spirit (which I’ve only just realised is now called ‘Eco-Spirit’ - a good indication of how Mr. Poundland keeps abreast of the zeitgeist) which I could have picked up from Mr. Morrison’s shop or Messrs. B. and Q. when I got home, so I thought it wise to stop shopping. Other than that there were a couple of random horror films, whose names I cannot now remember, but having undergone the trauma of having a new kitchen fitted throughout the month of February, I feel I already have enough random horror in my life and need no more.


1. It would not take a Frank Pembleton to divine from the above list that I am about to embark on some great D.I.Y. project. The kitchen-makers have left many holes to fill and much decorating to be done, hence the man-items in my basket. Also the baskets are kitchen-related. The tape measure is a replacement for the one I broke which had been handed down to me by my father, and which was a much neater affair. I have not played with this one yet but will wait until there is measuring to be done. The padlock is for the plastic storage-box-type-thing which was a replacement for the shed which I had to demolish when the bloke who came to cut the back hedge complained about its lack of aesthetic character. The shed was home to the giant hedgehog and I fear he may have returned since the doors of the plastic storage-box-type-thing are covered in strange marks as though something is trying to get in, or at least giving them a good
kick. Although this could be the start of a weird tale by M. R. James or Arthur
Machen, I prefer to think there is no supernatural agency involved and it is either a feral child or the aforementioned giant hedgehog. If the latter, the padlock will be of no use, if the former then perhaps it will deter him from continuing to kick my plastic storage-box-type-thing and he will move down the street to kick somebody else’s since he obviously lacks the nous to see that the doors are not secured by anything more than a plastic clip and the box may be opened quite easily. Of course there is the danger that passing robbers may see the padlock through the holes in the back hedge and may surmise that I have now put something of great value in the storage-box-type-thing and they will crawl through, push the giant hedgehog to one side and make away with my lawnmower and two strimmers. At least they will leave threads from their stripey jumpers in the hedge and the local C.S.I. from the Stoke Crime Scene House will be able to track them down and apprehend them. Why does a man need two strimmers? I hear you ask. Even a keen gardener such as me? The simple answer is that a man doesn’t, but one came free with the mower and rather than look the gift-horse in the mouth, I keep it as a back-up. (The strimmer, not the horse.)

2. Before I get on to the DVDs I should mention the mint imperials (not shown because they’re in the car). I’m afraid I cannot give Poundland mint imperials my seal of approval. It seems odd in this so-called 21st century that one can purchase a phone which will take photos and allow you to watch the latest Hollywood blockbuster and communicate with people on the other side of the world and do the dishes, that it is so difficult to manufacture such a basic sweetie as a mint imperial. In Mr. Poundland’s case, I would suggest he tries adding some trace of mint to the all purpose filler with which he makes his imperials.

3. I probably went a bit mad with the DVDs since this was my first visit of the year to Poundland. Dragon Quest is from the Asylum stable and will feature a motley group of actors wandering round Knypersley woods until they come across a ten-second CGI sequence of a dragon. However, Brian Thompson, Jason Connery and Marc ‘Beastmaster’ Singer are in it (probably only for a bit) so it will bring back memories of better things.
Hara-Kiri is directed by Takashi Miike, so should be o.k., especially since I enjoyed his 13 Assassins.
From Japan we move on to China and 1930s Shanghai for Blood Brothers which has pictures of explosions on the cover and blokes with guns, so fair enough.
And, finally, to Russia for Attack on Leningrad. Do not worry, I was not misled by the waves of German fighter planes on the cover - I fully expect them to occupy the same 10 seconds of CGI as the dragon - and this could turn out to be about a bunch of people and Mira Sorvino moaning on a bombsite. But who knows? There must be a reason why Mr. Poundland has selected it for his shop.

March 2013


Friday, 8th March - Lichfield

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The Mummy DVD.

Daredevil DVD.

The Love God? DVD.

1 tube of Hard As Nails.

A bag of flying saucers.


Rejected Item:

I ran out of money since I’d already spent £5 in The Works on 2 DVDS (It Happened One Night and a TV mini-series remake of The Andromeda Strain) so although there were other items I could have bought (like lighters) I had to forego them, so technically not rejected, just another example of the austere times in which we live (Mr. Cameron, take note.)

Actually Dragon Quest wasn’t too bad. It was the usual young lad goes on a quest to find the Stones of Virtue so he can fight Brian Thompson’s bad CGI dragon and save the kingdom. Although, during the exposition scene at the beginning, mention was made of Brian Thompson finding the Stones of Antithesis so that he could make his bad CGI dragon and I wished they’d made that film instead. The Stones of Virtue were enumerated and seemed quite straightforward, but I should imagine Mr. Thompson had a tougher time explaining his quest for the Stones of Antithesis to the various badly-costumed extras he met as he wandered the land.


1. As we left sunny Stoke-on-Trent a strange mist descended and for the rest of the trip to Lichfield my view of the passing countryside (the good lady wife had elected to drive) was severely limited. Therefore I cannot present any evidence about the plague of deer which is currently spreading through the land causing panic among our newsgatherers. What they were getting up to in the fog I have no idea, presumably breaking into people’s homes and eating babies, or maybe they were just hiding in their holes planning more devastating attacks on our way of life. Anyroad up, I dinner see any. Personally I don’t mind deer. I know they’re chopping down all the trees and running across the roads down south and causing people to jump, but they don’t seem to be making any trouble up here and tend to keep to themselves. What I don’t like are spiders. A big one suddenly appeared in the middle of the rug while we were watching telly the other night. I’d say it was as big as a deer but that would mean getting the hyperbole out and I don’t know where we’ve put it because I haven’t finished decorating the new kitchen yet (which is why I bought the ‘Hard As Nails’). The ‘suddenly’ is one of the reasons I don’t like spiders, they have that skill. The other one is ‘running quickly’ so before it moved I had to go to the new kitchen and get the big jug because this spider was too big to get sucked up the little tube on our regular spider-catcher machine. Then I had to find a big piece of cardboard to slide under the jug and get back to the front room before the blighter made a run for it. Then, successfully trapped, I took it to the back door and threw it into the garden, forgetting to turn on the outside light, so I didn’t see where it went and thus spent the next half-hour slapping my legs in case it had doubled back and run up me trousers. Whereas if Bambi suddenly appeared in your house you’d be quite pleased and you’d make him a cup of tea. What the deer need to get is a better P.R. man - like the one the spiders use. That whole thing about not killing spiders because they kill all the flies is what keeps us running round like mad fools with big jugs and bits of cardboard. Flies, I don’t mind, because you can just kill them and nobody bothers. So what the deer need to do is pick something everybody hates and say we’d be overrun with them if it wasn’t for their diligence in the forests of the land. Romanians would be top of the list right now but it’d be a hard sell that - although Mr. Farrago and his ukippers might swallow it. Maybe better to go for rats. There’s been no Black Death around for a while now so who can say that’s not down to the deer keeping the rats in their place. And while we’re on the subject of mediæval England, I heard a bloke on the radio (not a government official but connected to the university doing the deer survey, and on Radio Four, not Radio Stoke, I should point out in case you think it was just a witty piece of banter following a rant about why Tony Pulis should be sacked) say that what we should do is all go out and kill a deer and eat it and then we’ll know where our meat’s coming from. Which is all well and good but seemed like we were back in the days of Robin Hood. Although, to be fair, back then you’d get hung if you killed the King’s deer, so I suppose that’s something to thank the Magna Carta for. Progress of a kind.
     So we got to Lichfield without seeing any deer but it was all very gloomy, and we just walked around a bit and didn’t go to the Samuel Johnson Museum, although we did have us dinners in a street of cafes and I had a roast turkey bap and chips which was very nice, opposite a plaque saying that Dame Slap’s school stood on this site and that’s where Dr. Johnson was taught English - I didn’t know he was a foreigner. Then we didn’t visit the Cathedral, since the last time I went it seemed to be full of flags and banners and memorials to the Staffordshire Regiment and if you’re going to build a big house like that to the glory of Jesus you should really read up on him a bit. So we went to The Works and on the way back to the car we spotted Poundland.

2. It seems like cheating buying proper films from Poundland, even though they’re second-hand - ‘REPLAY Pre-owned, fully refurbished Quality Guaranteed’ as it says on the sticker. It’s not the same as putting Dragon Quest into your basket in full knowledge that it’s going to be rubbish but with the faintest of hopes that it might turn out to be another Hawk The Slayer. But it seems daft to turn your nose up at proper films on the grounds that you know they’re not going to be rubbish. Daredevil and XXX I’d only got on tape. I’d bought The Mummy on video when it first came out and I had a copy of the DVD somewhere, but I thought I should have a proper version, in a proper box with a picture on the cover. The Mummy is one of those ‘homages’ to the old serials of the 1930s and 40s and fully deserves its place in the pantheon alongside the Indiana Jones films, Rocketeer, The Shadow and The Phantom. Not too keen on the sequel though. There must have been a meeting where some big ike said what the next one needs is a kid and more CGI, and the die was cast. As William Goldman said, nobody knows anything in Hollywood, which might explain why the person at Universal Pictures, surveying their huge back catalogue of motion pictures, decided to ignore the good stuff and release The Love God? on DVD. I remember seeing this as a second feature at the old Odeon in Hanley. I did sit through it to the end, so it must have been watchable (in those days you’d give a second feature ten minutes and if it was rubbish you’d walk out) but I’ve never really wanted to watch it again. But then it appears on DVD and you wonder why, so you pay the pound. It stars Don Knotts, whose main, well only, comedic talent was looking a bit funny. Reading the back of the box I saw that it was written and directed by Nat Hiken - a name that will be instantly familiar to people of a certain age, since it always appeared on the credits of Bilko. So I looked him up on imdb to see what other films he’d made and it turns out The Love God? was the only one. Not only that, but it must have been the last thing he did since it was released in 1969, the year after he’d died. So, maybe that’s why I’d sat through it the first time, maybe there’s a trace of the old Bilko magic in there. We shall see.

3. On the way out of Poundland I made an impulse purchase of a bag of flying saucers. This was prompted by our not going into one of those old-style sweetshops which are popping up here and there. My objection to these shops is that although their merchandise is an accurate representation of the sweetshops of old, their prices are not, and I object to spending £1 for two ounce of kayly (kailai, kaylie - never known how to spell it) which you used to get for tuppence (old money). So a big bag of flying saucers for a pound seemed more in keeping with the spirit of nostalgia conjured up by Dr. Johnson’s Old-Tyme Sweet Shop (not a real place).

4. When we got back to Stoke we were stuck in tea-time traffic and the car in front had a NUX in its number-plate. I remember nuxes. My grandma had one of those rubber mats by her back door which had Nux written on it - no idea where she got it, but I bet the Arnold Bennett Olde-Tyme Sweetie Shoppe would like one to add to their ambience. The good lady wife said they used to put little nuxes in Dairy Box chocolates, but no longer. I remembered the big nux bars, but not what was in them. In this way we passed the time, remembering things past.

Saturday, 30th March - Hanley (big shop)

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A Shock To The System DVD.

The Silencers DVD.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World DVD.

Vendetta by Michael Dibdin.

1 Bullitt mug.

Gormiti 3D Puzzle Lord.


This is a first. While I’m sat here writing this rubbish with BBC’s Breakfast programme on in the background, this item comes up about a new survey of the class system, where the old three tiers have been expanded to seven. The bottom one is now called the Precariat (i.e. the Precarious Proletariat) and Toby Young just explained that it’s people with no money, no friends, who don’t use ‘social media’ and live in Stoke-on-Trent. That’s me! I know my place.


1. Easter Saturday, so Jesus is busy harrowing hell and we’re sat eating oatcakes and listening to an owd bloke playing the pianner (selections from the Great American Songbook and a medley of James Bond themes). Where are we, you may wonder, in some Paris bistro, or some swanky New York hotel? No, we’re up Hanley, which you would have known if you’d read the bit at the top. We had decided to visit the Museum, en famille, in order to show No. 1 grandson his heritage - the Spitfire, the wallaby, the skeleton and Dr. Crippen. We would have shown him the Staffordshire Hoard as well but they’d moved it upstairs and spread it out a bit and he’d gone sleep anyroad, so there was little point. So then we went for a walk round Hanley, stopping in at B & M before paying a visit to Poundland. B & M is confusing since I always thought it stood for Bargain Madness, but there’s that & in there which would make it Bargain and Madness. Wikipedia is no help in this case as both are correct. Perhaps the schizoid name is the cause of their madness, or maybe they are just mad in the other sense (stampy foot and shouting) because their bargains are no longer the best in town but have been outstripped by that young upstart, Poundland. Now there’s a name for you, no confusion, does what it says on the tin, as that annoying man on telly used to say painting his shed as if we were interested in his doings. Now it seems I may have given the impression that the big Poundland up Hanley is constructed inside a tin, whereas B & M is having a conniption fit and jumping up and down. Although this would add to the delights of Stoke-on-Trent as a tourist destination, I would not like to give an erroneous impression of the City which is currently undergoing a huge renaissance. For example, Hanley’s got a new bus station, which we had a look at on our way back to the car. Loads of other folk had the same idea, most of them on the line of buses queueing up to get into their new home. For some reason the bloke who designed the bus station had neglected to put a suitable road next to its entrance, so all the buses have to approach it through a narrow side-street, which is not blocked off from the exit to the multi-storey car park, so you get the odd car joining the bus jam before realising he’s got nowhere to go except the new bus station, which looks very grand. As will the new civic centre which they’re building on the site of the old civic centre (aka Unity House) which they knocked down a few years ago when they decided that the civic centre should be in Stoke the town and so built a new one there which they’ve now decided was a silly idea so they’re building a new one up Hanley, as I just said.

2. So, this visit to Poundland was quite unplanned and off-the-cuff, and although it came the day after my birthday that was not the reason I went, but it did mean I had money in my pocket, so that when No. 2 son spotted the Bullitt mug I felt obliged to buy it. There was a recent item on the news about backstamping (which is a pottery term referring to the writing on the bottom of cups and such which tells you where they were made and the potters of Stoke were furious about how cups made in China were stamped ‘Made in England’ even though all the Chinese had done was send them over here to get a lick of paint) and a master potter from one of the posh new potbanks had said that their mugs were made entirely in Stoke-on-Trent and that because of this they had to charge £15 for them, which people what are proud to be British should be willing to pay because of all the history involved and years of heritage and local craftsmen and stuff of that nature, whereas I say, “You are living in cloud-cuckoo land, my man.” What we want is a mug what costs just one pound and has a screen icon like Bullitt printed on it, even though he looks a bit weird because his hair has bled into the Bridget Riley wallpaper he’s stood in front of. There was also a Dirty Harry mug and a Get Carter mug but I just purchased the Frank Bullitt mug since now we have the new kitchen the mug cupboard is a bit full and so I thought it best not to tempt fate and get the set. I know full well which side my bread is buttered - you turn left when you go in.

3. The book is one of Michael Dibdin’s Inspector Zen mysteries, and on the top it says “NOW A MAJOR TV SERIES”, under which is a picture of Rufus Sewell. The BBC only made three of them and then decided we’d had enough, which was a bit annoying.

4. On the back of Master and Commander there are a couple of quotes from
reviews: “Awesome” (G. Q.) and “Breathtaking” (The Guardian). If they’d asked me, I’d have said “Disappointing” (wotigotfrompoundland). When it first came out I was really looking forward to seeing it. Although I hadn’t read any, I knew about Patrick O’Brian’s novels, and since I love all that Napoleonic war stuff, Hornblower and Sharpe, I thought this would be right up my street. So I went to see it at the pictures and I was disappointed. It was a bit boring and not a patch on the old Hornblower film with Gregory Peck. So I haven’t seen it since, but I’ve always thought I should give it another go. In fact I stuck it on a tape when it was on telly, but I couldn’t be bothered watching it. Now I’ve got it on DVD I might make the effort and maybe I’ll revise my initial response.

5. As I did with the Men In Black films. When the first one of those came out I was disappointed because they’d taken the comedic approach. I felt the real Men in Black deserved more. I then saw a straight to video film which treated them with more respect, but was a bit rubbish. So I stood a long while in Poundland reading the back of The Silencers, trying to work out whether that was the rubbish one. I’m still not
sure. All I can remember about the rubbish one is that there’s a farmhouse and Men in Black. Although The Silencers starts with a farmhouse and there are Men in Black in it, it is more of an alien buddy cop movie along the lines of Jack Sholder’s The Hidden. It also fits into the stuntman film genre and there’s a model train wreck and they’re always fun. It’s not too bad and zips along nicely except for the bits where the good alien played by Dennis Christopher has to be all alieny and impart some wisdom.

6. A Shock to the System is a neat little black comedy with a great performance from Michael Caine. At least, that’s how I remember it. Hopefully I won’t be disappointed.

7. No chance of disappointment with a Gormiti 3D Puzzle Lord, you’d think, but whereas I imagined it to be some kind of mystical Chinese puzzle box which would open up to reveal multifaceted levels of wonder, No. 2 son gave it a cursory glance and said there’d just be a little man in it which you’d have to make. His sojourn in the South has made him rather blasé when it comes to owd men playing pianners while you’re having your dinner and 3D Puzzle Lords. Turned out he was right and I was wrong. I should have spent longer looking at the back where there were four such little men. I took them to be oppos of the Puzzle Lord, whereas, in fact, they live in the box in
pieces. Actually, good job No. 2 son was at home since I couldn’t follow the instructions to put my little man together and he had to do it for me. I got Lucas. You can also get Nick, Toby and Magmion. Sons 1 and 2 both saw the humour in this, since it seemed to suggest that it would be all right to call your offspring, Magmion. Here is a picture of Lucas having a cup of tea.


April 2013


Wednesday, 10th April - Crewe

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Bus 174 DVD.

1 pack of 5 roller/micro pens.

2 packs of kit-kats (1 orange, 1 ordinary).

2 tins of Felix (1 beef, 1 tuna).

2 Eco-Packs of Galaxy Instant Hot Chocolate.



1 pack of 6 disposable lighters.


1. Another random visit, this time to Crewe. There was a time when one had to seek out Poundlands for they were few and far between. Now, it seems, every town has
one. Such is the legacy of that lady, whose tragic passing cast a pall of sadness over the entire country this week. I was dressed in black, out of respect, and it seemed to match the general mood of depression which hung over Crewe, normally such a bright and jolly place. Having concluded our business, which is no concern of yours, we sat outside a deserted cafe and enjoyed a cup of tea and a smoke (me) and a cappuccino (good lady wife, ever the sophisticate) before wandering back to the car, via Poundland.

2. Perhaps the sombre mood of the nation had dulled my wits somewhat for I found little to interest me in Crewe Poundland despite it being quite big. The only DVD which appealed was Bus 174, a Brazilian documentary about a bus hijack which rang a vague bell somewhere. This is the extended 132 minute version with 40 minutes of additional interviews, so you get a lot for your pound, but I’m not sure whether I want it. I think it was more one of those Poundland purchases when you find something that seems so out-of-place that you tuck it in your basket with soothing sounds of comfort and take it home to sit on the pile, knowing in your heart that you have rescued it from the ignominy of having to spend eternity nestling among all the horror films and romantic comedies.

3. I bought some pens because I’ve run out. The drinking chocolate was for the good lady wife; the kit-kats for us both; and the tins of Felix for William the Cat.

4. And so we said farewell to Crewe and wended our way homeward. But my thoughts were of that warrior queen, who, I am sure, is now driving her tank through Valhalla, busy privatising the mead halls and picking fights for no reason and rooting out the enemy within her fellow valkyries. And, coming into Stoke, I noticed a strange movement in the earth, as if the bodies of all those decent men and women who understood the true meaning of the Parable of the Good Samaritan, were busy spinning in their graves at the thought that all their efforts to build a fair and equal society had been for naught. And it was as if we were back in the days of Queen Victoria when the poor were despised, foreigners were demonised, pointless wars were waged around the globe, workers had no rights, there was no Labour Party to speak of, the robber barons ruled supreme, and jingoism was the dominant creed. And the virtues of logic and reason and common humanity have been replaced in those ancient Houses of Parliament by the mean-spirited, petty, ignorant, prejudiced snipings of the village gossip. Thank you Ma’am, we salute you.

May 2013


Monday, 27th May - Worthing

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Shark Night DVD.

Homer & Langley by E. L. Doctorow

1 pack of Crazy Cubes.

Bio Ninja Wiz-z-zer Revelstoke.



1 pack of 8 Sony AA batteries + 2 free.

1 pack of 4 Sony C batteries.


Rejected Item:

Dragon Crusaders DVD. Which is not technically a rejected item since I bought it, but it was the only copy in the shop and No. 1 son wanted it because he knew one of the members of the cast, which in the grand scale of wantage trumped my noticing it had Knights Templar in it according to the blurb, so I handed it over to him to enjoy the bad cgi dragon.


1. I’ll do this quick since I’m busy with other stuff. Shark Night is presumably about a shark which only attacks at night when everybody’s safely tucked up in bed, so could be a bit boring, but, then again, you can’t really go wrong with a shark film, unlike crocodiles.

2. E. L. Doctorow’s Ragtime is one of my favourite novels, but others of his I’ve tried have never seemed as good. Still, I thought I’d give him another go. Besides they had a lot of copies and it might be embarrassing for old E. L. should he pop in.

3. Bio Ninja Wiz-z-zer Revelstoke I bought because - I should explain that I was accompanied on this visit by all three sons so felt entitled to buy toys, even though only No. 1 son bought a Bio Ninja Wiz-z-zer (can’t recall which one) in order to humour me, while the other two stood around looking as though they couldn’t wait to get the aged parent back to the Home - it looked interesting and was called Revelstoke which I took as an omen. It is made by Duncan (displaying the fine manufacturing skill which made his walnut whips the bestest) and is essentially a gyroscope. However, unlike gyroscopes of old this one does not come with a piece of string in order to get it going but you have to push it round the floor in a semicircular movement. I have only two quibbles, which I keep in a box. The first, is the mention on the packet (twice) of the inclusion of a “Battle Belt for head-to-head combat”. I imagined some leather affair with brass, or perhaps copper, inlays of the Revelstoke sigil, which I would then wear as I walked down the street to show my readiness for battle with any other passing possessor of a Bio Ninja Wiz-z-zer. Instead it turned out to be a rubber band which you put round your Wiz-z-zer when it does battle with another Wiz-z-zer, presumably so you don’t rub off the paint. The other point I would raise with Duncan if I knew where he lived, is that despite the enclosed sheet of instructions which go into great detail on many subjects relating to tricks and battles and balancing (which, after all, let’s face it, is the main gyroscopic activity), he does not explain how one knows when the Wiz-z-zer has reached its maximum speed. Most, if not all, of the activities mentioned are supposed to be carried out when the maximum speed is reached. And he also points out that the maximum speed is 10,000 revolutions per minute. But how does one know? I suppose you have to drag it across the floor in a semicircular motion for a minute while counting up to 10,000. But I think even Stephen Hawking would lose count if he tried it, not to mention burning a hole in his carpet. On the plus side I do like the fact that Duncan has tried to meld science (for we must never forget that we are all standing on giant Wiz-z-zers, set going by God on the tufty carpet of heaven) with art, suggesting that one possible thing to try with your Wiz-z-zer is to stick a one-inch pencil or crayon to it, then set it going on a sheet of paper and watch the Pollockian results. The one-inch pencil or crayon is not provided and I do not know of any shops which sell such stunted items, so I suppose you’d have to get the big saw out of the garage and make your own. Too much like hard work, if you ask me, but the sort of thing Damien Hirst might have a go at since he’s stopped doing them spirograph pictures.

4. Crazy Cubes aren’t that crazy, but I was seduced by the mention of marbles on the packet. You get three, plus two cubes into which they fit which have a little button so you can fire them at things. Except they aren’t really marbles. I would describe them as little plastic balls. Not so seductive, I think you will agree.

August 2013


Thursday, 1st August - Hanley (big shop)

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The Kovak Box DVD.

The Banquet DVD.

Red Cliff (The Special Edition) DVD.

2 Eco-Packs of Galaxy Instant Hot Chocolate.



3 packs of 6 disposable lighters.

1 pack of 8 Sony AA batteries + 2 free.


It struck me that I’ve bought three DVDs which I would only have purchased in Poundland and for three different reasons. I am disappointed by the lack of academic study into the rationale behind Poundland purchases. The only research done in this area seems to be some bloke on the telly saying because of the recession more people are buying their taters from Poundland. Then another bloke comes along and says Poundland is not a good shop because you don’t get as many taters in your bag as in proper shops. (I am using taters as a generic example of foodstuffs, rather than indicating the many different types and brands of eating material available in   Poundland). This, I don’t think, is the most fruitful (another example of eating material) course for enquiry into the fundamental reasons why people buy things from Poundland.

Taters are taters and I don’t think it matters where you buy them. What is interesting is why. And it doesn’t matter why you buy taters because you buy them to eat. So, let us move on to the DVDs.

I could say I bought The Kovak Box because it stars Timothy Hutton, who is one of my favourite actors (as was his father, Jim, before him), and since he doesn’t make many films, preferring to work in television (i.e. Leverage) [there should be a footnote here, as in all academic treatises, explaining what Leverage is and also questioning Timothy Hutton’s preference for working in television, because for all I know, he just can’t get a job in films since the casting agencies seem to prefer the likes of dwarven folk like Tom Cruise or potato-faced individuals like Matt Damon and Channing Tatum (who I always get mixed up with Tatum O’Neal and am surprised when he isn’t a little girl), or pinchy-nosed, squeaky men like Ed Norton and Ryan Gosling] but I didn’t. I bought it because it turned up on telly late one night and I watched it and it was interesting but there was something a bit ‘off’ about it. I think because it was one of those films where the tourist board of some place (in this case Mallorca) had financed it, so the plot is determined a bit by which parts of the Mallorcan countryside they’re trying to push. If I had seen this film on Amazon or in Mr. Morrison’s establishment, I would not have bought it. Unless it had been a pound. I bought it because it was an odd film to turn up anywhere, and in Poundland, the price was right.

I bought Red Cliff because it is a two-disc special edition. I have seen the film. It is one of those Chinese epics where some distant part of Chinese history is re-enacted with many battles featuring thousands of extras, many of whom I suspect are computerly- drawn. As with all such films, it is visually impressive, but since the history is not our own and [there should be another footnote here explaining the racist remark I was about to make, but since I do not wish to lose my job at the University I thought it safer to omit it altogether] you find it hard to care what happens to anybody. So, again, I would not have bought this from Mr. Morrison or Amazon, unless it was a pound. Then the double-disc special edition screams “BARGAIN!” and although I have no intention of ever watching the second disc which is full of extras, and will never watch the first disc since I’ve already seen the film, I still purchased it, for that reason alone.

I bought The Banquet because I read the blurb on the back. If one is buying a DVD from a proper shop one never reads the blurb on the back. One might look at the front cover and make an impulse buy based on the picture and who is in it (for example Timothy Hutton), but one knows that the blurb on the back has been written by someone trying to make the film sound more interesting than it is. In Poundland when one comes across a film one has never heard of, like The Banquet, all you’ve got to go on sometimes is the blurb on the back. The front cover indicates it is yet another Chinese film, and it stars Zhang Ziyi. And there’s a line of soldiers on horseback along the bottom which means there will be visually impressive battle scenes with computer people on horses. If this was £3 in Mr. Morrison’s shop one would not give it a second glance. But in Poundland, one reads the blurb on the back. Which I did and this caught my eye:

“A spectacular, dazzling and bloody re-imagining of Shakespeare’s legendary Hamlet.”

My interest piqued, I read on:

“Locked in a loveless marriage Empress Wan [Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother] is desperate to keep her forbidden love for Prince Wu Luan [Hamlet, Gertrude’s son], from a family divided by cruelty and oppression. When the Emperor [Ghost of Hamlet’s father] suddenly dies, his conniving younger brother Li [I Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle] takes up the throne forcing Wan to marry him. Convinced that this is the only way to protect all she loves from being destroyed by this new power hungry tyrant, Wan agrees.
     But Wu Luan refuses to see his love snatched away through such evil, greed and deception. After repeated attempts on his life amid furious confrontations with the new Emperor’s imperial assassins [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern], Wu Luan resolves to return to the palace [Elsinore] and take revenge for himself [Hamlet], his beloved [his mother] and a nation [Denmark] in the grip of a murderous madman.
     Featuring astonishing, career-topping action from the infamous [why is he   infamous?] Yuen Wo Ping (“Kill Bill”, “The Matrix” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) and a cast featuring some of Asia’s most acclaimed cinema icons [not the computer people on horses], “The Banquet” is like no other epic you have ever witnessed [how does he know?].”

Admittedly my first reaction was to put it back on the shelf, but then one wonders how closely this Chinese version of Hamlet will follow the original legendary one. Will Wu Luan get to do the ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy? Will we have a comical gravedigger and ‘Alas poor Yorick’? What’s happened to Ophelia if Hamlet’s having an affair with his mother? Is that why she went mad? All this goes through one’s brain, sparked by a single sentence in the blurb on the back as one stands in the big Poundland up Hanley. And, because it is in Poundland, the decision is made and it goes in the basket.

Thusly it will be seen, that in purely socio-economic terms the Poundland purchaser possesses differing selection strategies when it comes to buying DVDs than he (or she) does when purchasing said products from other retail establishments; both online and in the ‘high street’.

Of course, you may rejoinder that there is only one reason why people buy DVDs in Poundland and that is because they only cost a pound. In which case, you can write your own essay and submit it to the Poundland Studies Quarterly, published by Staffordshire University.

(For more information regarding DVDs what only cost a pound I point you in the direction of It Was Only A Pound.)

Wednesday, 14th August - Hanley (little shop)

pound1313 pound1314

1 pack of 2 LED Push Lights



2 tins of Right Guard

1 pack of 6 disposable lighters.

1 pack of 6 Kodak Xtralife AAA batteries.


1. This is a bit rubbish but I got told off by the good lady wife for not including what I bought last time for her birthday. A DVD of Challenger, a TV miniseries thing with Karen Allen, and a box of maltesers - not, I’m sure you’ll agree, a munificent bounty and so I thought I’d leave them off the list, rather than employ subterfuge. But I suppose if you are going to do something like this you should do it properly and keep a complete record so that when we’re all dust in the wind, robots of the future can read what their old masters bought for their wives in the dim and distant past. I mean, if them old monks didn’t bother writing down every little detail in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle we wouldn’t know they had Weetos for breakfast.

2. So I’m up Hanley to get some new brake discs and pads for the car.  Brakes are what stop it when you’re driving along, so you need them to be in good working order. Mr. Kwikfit said it would take an hour and a half so I had a walk round. Went to the Museum to see if they’d changed the pictures - they hadn’t. Then went to Poundland and made my meagre purchases. Nothing in the books or DVDs, so settled for stuff to make me smell nice and some little lights to stick under the cupboards in the new kitchen (and the batteries to work them). The good lady wife had bought some of these off ebay but they were made of cardboard and didn’t have any stick on them and when you finally got the batteries in and pushed them to turn on the light they fell to bits, so, not a good purchase. I am hoping these are better and will light up the dark places underneath the kitchen cupboards so that you can do baking and other culinary pursuits without straining your eyes.

3. I ended up outside Mr. Kwikfit’s portacabin (he’s having a new reception area built) sitting on a plastic chair and having a smoke while they finished the job. Across the street I noticed the old Tesco (which has been replaced by the big new Tesco, even though the old Tesco was very big so you wonder when Mr. Tesco will stop replacing his big shops with bigger shops and will there come a time when the whole of Hanley will be just one big Tesco, where the robots will get all their supplies like motor oil and batteries and maybe Weetos for the little androids) which is now a GO Outdoors shop. There was a list of commands on the side of the shop “GO Camping, GO Walking, GO Caravanning, GO Travelling, GO Running, GO Cycling, GO Fishing, GO  Climbing,” and on the steps at the side a group of about half-a-dozen blue-overalled employees of the shop were arranged in a tableaux vivant, adding a further 3D element to the exhortatory commands - presumably this one was “GO Smoking”, so I waved my pipe in solidarity with the workers.

September 2013


Tuesday, 10th September - Hanley (big shop)

pound1315 pound1316

Barry Norman’s Christmas Movie Quiz Interactive DVD Game.

Halloween II DVD.

1 Eco-Pack of Galaxy Instant Hot Chocolate.



2 tins of Right Guard

2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.

5 rolls of sellotape.


1. I thought my next visit to Poundland would be during our imminent holiday in Bonnie Scotland and there would be a radical change to the usual list, with Andy Stewart CDs and dirks and haggises and the like. But, the best laid plans of micey men, as the good Rabbi had it, and since I was up Hanley on business I thought I might as well pop into the big shop just in case the element of surprise would affect the quality of the DVD section.

2. Although it was only the second week in September, Halloween had come to Poundland and I ended up buying a copy of Halloween II since it had a commentary by Kim Newman and “award-winning horror expert” Stephen Jones (would’ve watched that but I suppose it was on Sky). I almost bought Halloween III, but it didn’t have a commentary by award-winning anybody and I thought I might already have it on DVD - turns out I was mistaken, so I may pick it up in Scotland along with the little dagger to stick in me sock. After the first one, number 3 is my favourite in the Halloween franchise since it has nothing to do with Michael Myers going round killing folk and was written by Nigel Kneale, he of Quatermass and the Pit and The Stone Tape fame.

3. I also bought Barry Norman’s Christmas Movie Quiz Interactive DVD Game. I’m not sure whether it’s just about Christmas movies, or whether Barry made it to cash in on the season devoted to Our Saviour’s birth. Either way it should provide hours of fun for the whole family. I rather enjoyed Barry’s previous effort in the interactive DVD game arena, preferring his old school approach to the art of quizmastery to that of other titles such as Scene It? where after a couple of goes the same questions start turning up again and you all shout Madonna and get sick of the clip of Mr. Bean. Although I did feel that Barry was running out of questions towards the end and was asking things like which film made the most money, so it became a matter of pure guesswork, and considering his vast knowledge of a century of cinema you’d think he could have come up with something better than that, like “Who was Farciot Edouart?”, after all Barry, we are film buffs, like yourself, not accountants, Barry? Barry? That’s another thing, even though it claims to be interactive Barry does not engage in conversation with you. He should also stop asking how many Halloween films have been made because he always gets it wrong.

Friday, 20th September - Stirling, Scotland

pound1317 pound1318

Feast III DVD.

Snakes On A Plane DVD.

Gladiator Games DVD.

DOA: Dead Or Alive DVD.

Vengeance DVD.

Broken Fist DVD.

Lethal Weapon 3 DVD.

Halloween III DVD.

The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson.

The Lineup edited by Otto Penzler.

Letting Go by Robert Lindsay.


1. Right, I did this all wrong. My brief was to go to Scotland and find specifically Scottish-type items in Poundland. I failed miserably. In fact, I forgot my brief altogether. I would make a terrible regional investigative officer for Ofpound, so I might as well just chuck the application form in the bin. I blame the lochs. And the other scenery. And Edinburgh with its gay pipers interspersed with jolly beggarmen with their dogs and bundles of twigs. In short, we’d spent the whole week looking at stuff and had not espied even a single Poundland until the very last day when we found one in the Thistles Shopping Centre in Stirling. Overcome with emotion and a wild sense of triumph (similar to that which proved the undoing of John Cassavetes at the end of The Dirty Dozen) I rushed straight past the boring shelves (which were probably full of claymores and kilts) and didn’t stop till I found the books and the DVDs. Now if I was up Hanley my fevered brain would have had a chance to calm down at this point as it contemplated the usual rubbish, but here in Stirling I found a veritable cornucopia.

2. First, the books. I was accompanied by No. 1 son and his good lady wife who used to run a branch of a large bookselling chain (or I might as well say Waterstones) and she felt it sad that Howard Jacobson’s Booker Prize-winning novel, The Finkler Question, had ended up in Poundland, so I felt obliged to liberate it. The Lineup looked interesting since its subtitle read: “The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives.” Admittedly looking at the list of writers on the cover, most were unknown to me, and I think it would be more accurate if ‘Living’ were inserted between ‘Greatest’ and ‘Crime’. And of the ones I knew, I have to confess I’ve never read any of their books, but know their characters from TV and film adaptations. Still, it seemed like something to dip into and maybe point me in new directions when I’ve finished reading all the Wallander novels. And then there was the Robert Lindsay autobiography. I must stop buying these things. I read the Mackenzie Phillips one and I must say that should carry a health warning or a big sticker saying this book will bugger up your appreciation of the music of the Mamas and the Papas and all their associations with the endless summers of your youth and things like that, in fact you might as well just throw the Greatest Hits LP away right now and listen to Spanky and Our Gang instead (cause they were better anyway) - I did specify a ‘big’ sticker. Robert Lindsay’s opus I did wonder about for a time. Although he seems like a nice chap and I always liked Citizen Smith, I have not followed his career that closely, especially since he decided to play a dentist in that BBC family sitcom thing. I don’t understand why dentists should figure in comedies, unless, like the great W. C. Fields, you reveal their true nature. Have the writers of whatever the BBC family sitcom starring Robert Lindsay is called not seen that excellent documentary, Marathon Man? Is it safe? So, I was going to let it go, but then I remembered my own brush with Hollywood, well more of a comb really, and so I put it in the basket. I realise that I now have to explain. It was the late 80s and I had just packed in my job because I refused to wear a pink suit (which probably calls for another explanation - another time perhaps) and had become a member of that grand body of men and women known to journalists everywhere as the Feckless Underclass. Anyway, a call went out for men to appear as extras (as miners) for scenes in a film which were to be shot at the Chatterley Whitfield Mining Museum. Since I had a donkey jacket and my grandad was a miner and the coal dust still coagulates in my lungs, I did consider applying for a couple of minutes, then decided it would probably be embarrassing and they’d just choose mighty men of the stature of Big Bad John and since I’d never sent a Louisiana feller to the Promised Land, I let it go. Later on, when the film came out, it turned out that it had been directed by the legendary Carl Reiner, probably best known today as the old bloke in the remake of Ocean’s Eleven and the father of Rob, but one of the great geniuses of American comedy; he’d started out with Sid Caesar and Mel Brooks, created The Dick Van Dyke Show and directed the early, funny films of Steve Martin. I doubt whether he actually came to Stoke, I should imagine it was a job for the Second Unit, just doing establishing shots, but I think if I’d known it was a chance to appear in a Carl Reiner film, I might have taken the plunge. The film was called Bert Rigby, You’re A Fool, the star of which was Robert Lindsay. As far as I know, it’s never been shown on telly and the DVD is only available in America. To complete my own showbiz biography, which I admit is shorter than most, I must add this footnote.*

     * It was the age when the Iron Lady ruled the land and we members of the F. U. were forced to go on various ‘schemes’ whose only purpose was to fiddle the unemployment figures. I went on one and, since I fancied working in a library, I was sent to Chatterley Whitfield Mining Museum to work in their archives. However, when I got there, and after the tour, the director of the museum told me that there was no real work to do in the archives, but what they really needed were actors. People to wander about in the costumes of the past and entertain the paying public and the school parties with tales of the olden days when the pit was working. Disappointed, I declined the offer. One reason was that the trip down into the old mine had been replaced, for safety’s sake, by a simulation which had not impressed me at all and I felt my thespian skills were not up to the task of fooling people that it was not all a bit rubbish.

3. Onto the DVDs. This started well with a calmly-considered purchase of Halloween III, which I regretted not buying last time. I was assured by No. 1 son that Broken Fist was worth buying, despite its rubbish cover and the fact that I had never come across Johnny Bosch, Dan Southworth, Pamela Walworth or Tadahiro Nakamura, whose names figure prominently above the broken fist in the picture. No 1 son said it was good because it’s just one long fight in a house. And he then had the temerity to pooh-pooh my selection of Snakes On A Plane, which at least has Samuel L. Jackson in it and some snakes, on a plane. Vengeance I thought I’d seen, but it turned out it was the Johnnie To film starring Johnny Hallyday which No. 1 son had grabbed the only copy of in Worthing a while back and which Poundland etiquette demanded I let him keep, rather than having a fight in the aisle. Johnny Hallyday is the French equivalent of Cliff Richard, a pop star from way back, number one in his own country but never managing to transfer that fame beyond its borders. Latterly Mr. Hallyday has extended his career by appearing as grizzled gangster types in French films. It would be nice if Cliff Richard were to do the same thing and I look forward to seeing him in a Johnnie To film. By the way, the tagline on the cover is wrong when it says “THERE IS NO OTHER LAW.” There are actually quite a lot of other laws. I thought I should point this out in case you thought you could walk out of Poundland without paying for your purchases and when challenged by Poundland Security you could hold up your copy of Vengeance and claim immunity on the grounds that you weren’t acting out of any vengeful motive,  m’lud. DOA: Dead Or Alive is a kicky women film which I’ve seen and is a bit  rubbish, but I caught the end of it on TV the other night and there were people flying around and Eric Roberts in full evil mode and I hadn’t a clue what was going on so I thought I’d give it another go. The first Feast was a neat little horror film directed by John Gulager, son of the great Clu. I didn’t know there were sequels and have no idea what happened in II. This is III. As is the Lethal Weapon. I have no idea why I bought this. I liked the first one and remember the fourth one for its sudden lurch into the realm of fantasy when Jet Li was forced to lose his fight with the happy-go-lucky heroes. But II and III I have no memory of at all, and the only excuse I can offer for my purchase is that by now the red mist had descended and I was just chucking everything into the basket. Which also explains Gladiator Games - I quote from the blurb on the back:

“On the eve of the greatest battle of the Medieval period, William the Duke of Normandy is on the English coast to regain a land he believes belongs to him. He is here to fight his brother-in-law, Harold II, King of England. As William waits for the right moment for battle, he meets Vidr, a mysterious wayfarer, who invites him to accept a ritual game of Claang; a gladiator game very similar to chess. As he recounts the legendary origins of the game, Vidr narrates the story of Tyr, an ancient leader, who like William, is about to risk everything in a battle that all believe to be impossible to win.”

Here is a photo of a statue of Rob Roy in Stirling depicting him after he’s just won a game of Claang.


October 2013


Tuesday, 22nd October - Hanley (big shop)

pound1319 pound1320

Wild Things DVD.

Dead in the Water DVD.

Howard Hughes: The Autobiography by Clifford Irving

A Night on the Moor & Other Tales of Dread by R. Murray Gilchrist

A box of Maltesers.



2 packs of 4 electronic lighters.


1. The good lady wife has signed up for the latest scheme to get the disabled back to work by turning her into a cyborg so she can go and join Jean-Claude Van Damme and his brother in the fight against illegal immigrants or something (she was only in hospital for two days for her second hip replacement, so I didn’t have time to read the brochure and come to think of it, probably not his brother since he was always a bit evil) so I had to chaperone her round Next (next what? just seemed to sell clothes, get your next shirt here, or your next pair of trousers) in case she fell over, then take her back to the car park and then go to the bank again where I went to the lady whose nameplate read Trainee Cashier (so I guess that was a case of lack of parental aspiration when it came to choosing a name for their daughter - they could at least have gone for Chief) leaving me not much time to nip into Poundland to get some lighters (rubbish electronic ones the only sort on offer) and have a quick look at the DVDs and books.

2. It’s a while since I saw Wild Things but I think it was a neat little thriller with a nod to Les Diaboliques. It was directed by John McNaughton, who made his name with Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (which I taped off telly years ago and have still not watched since it seems a bit grim) but who directed a few episodes of Homicide: Life on the Street. According to imdb he also took his name off a film called Firehouse starring MacGyver and Morris Chestnut and since I’m a fan of Alan Smithee and actors with silly names I suppose I should try to track that down despite the user review which states:
“Group of firemen is attacked by sweeper. One must go to hospital, others must to accept consolidation of firehouse and rescue unit. Slow movie goes to end -- sweeper was one of recent firemen and murders himself.”

3. Wild Things also stars Kevin Bacon, who now sells mobile phones, one of which I could have done with when I spotted the other DVD. I recognised Bryan Brown on the cover which made me pick it up, but reading the blurb on the back I was none the wiser. I did recognise the name of the director though - Bill Condon. If I’d had one of Kevin’s phones I could have looked him up and found out that I was thinking of someone else entirely. He did make Gods and Monsters - the film about the making of Frankenstein - which was quite good, but the rest of his oeuvre is a bit disappointing (Dreamgirls and 2 Twilights). I still can’t remember whether I’ve seen Dead in the Water - which does not bode well.

4. By the way the good lady wife told me to make sure I got the replacement hips and knee from the crematorium after she’s gone. This supposes she goes first (very doubtful) and that I’m likely to go downstairs and have discussions with Trainee Crematoriumworker about the scrap value of titanium joints while everybody else is upstairs weeping and eating vol-au-vents. But that’s the way cyborgs go, they start to lose their humanity after a while and forget the correct etiquette in social situations like funerals. I don’t think this government knows what it’s doing. And it’s not just the Cyborg Return To Work Programme. They’ve just announced a new nuclear power plant to be built by the French, funded by the Chinese, which will charge us twice as much for electricity. And they reckon this is a good deal. No one seemed to mention the problem with nuclear waste and what to do with it. Lord Cameron and his Pals should be made to sit down and watch Into Eternity, a Finnish documentary about the construction of a massive underground bunker where they’re storing nuclear waste for the next 100,000 years. Scariest bit was when they discuss how they could warn people in the future that the place was still dangerous. Considering we don’t understand runes or hieroglyphs and they’re only a few thousand years old, how can you know how language will change over that length of time. 100,000 years ago we were still just going ugh at each other. 1,000 years ago we were sitting in the mead halls going “Da waes burgum Beowulf Scyldinga leof leod-cyning longe” (god, not bloody Beowulf again - but in similar tongue). So, I fear for the future folk. And, since I’ve mentioned the Chinese, note to Nick Owen on Midlands Today who told us with a beaming smile that Birmingham’s exports to China are at an all-time high. That’s because the Chinese own all the car factories that don’t belong to India. That’s not ‘exports’ in the old economic sense of the word, they’re just taking them back home. Nick might as well just go “ugh ugh Birmingham ugh ugh Aston Villa ugh ugh” for half an hour and let me and the good lady cyborg eat us tea in peace.

5. One of my favourite films by Orson Welles is F For Fake, a jeu d’esprit about fakes and forgers, which touches on the famous autobiography of Howard Hughes, written by Clifford Irving. How Irving came to write and sell his fake is the subject of The Hoax (which, coincidentally, I have also come across in Poundland) which was made into a film starring Richard Gere as Irving. Although I have no interest in Howard Hughes, I do have a soft spot for fakes, and I never expected to come across Irving’s original book, so I felt compelled to buy it. But will I ever bother to read it?

6. I’ve been buying a lot of jazz CDs from Amazon recently - there’s a company called Avid which is repackaging old jazz LPs from the 50s and early 60s, putting three or four on a double CD and selling them for six quid, so it’s a good way to plug gaps in your collection, but it’s all going to stop next year when the copyright on recordings is changed from the current 50 years to however long Sir Cliff Richard has decided he’s going to live - and a couple of days after I buy one I always get an email from Amazon saying “you like jazz, why not buy this Amy Winehouse CD”, so you just think silly buggers. Anyway, last week I was perusing the Postscript catalogue (not online, it was made of paper). Postscript sells cheap books, mostly obscure academic or small press publications, but they also slip in a few Wordsworth Classics, which do a nice line in reprinting nineteenth century ghost stories and the like, and one of these caught my eye. However, Wordsworth Classics are too cheap to discount and since Postscript charge postage, I made a mental note to look out for it the next time I was in a bookshop or on Amazon. Lo and behold, imagine my astonishment when I walk into Hanley Big Poundland and find the very book on the shelf, and a single copy at that. I ask you, how does Mr. Poundland do it? There was no electronic trickery involved, I merely thought I wanted the book (A Night on the Moor & Other Tales of Dread by R. Murray Gilchrist, a name totally unknown to me, but there was a bit in the blurb which said he was best known “for his stories set in Derbyshire’s Peak District,” and since we spend a lot of time motoring around the area it piqued my interest) and Mr. Poundland somehow received my mental transmission and ordered his staff to place it on the shelf pending my visit. Amazon could learn a lot from Poundland - Amy Winehouse indeed!

November 2013


Friday, 8th November - Hanley (little shop)

pound1321 pound1322

Dr. Nikola Master Criminal by Guy Boothby.

A box of Milk Tray.

A box of Maltesers.

2 Eco-Packs of Galaxy Instant Hot Chocolate.



1 pack of 70 paper CD covers.

1 pack of 6 Kodak Xtralife AAA batteries.


1. I’d just nipped in to see if they’d got any decent lighters (they hadn’t) but I thought I should have a quick look round just in case the ipads had come in, and I bought a  book. Dr. Nikola Master Criminal is actually two books, A Bid For Fortune (aka Enter, Dr Nikola! 1895) and Dr Nikola (aka Dr Nikola Returns 1896), the first in Guy Boothby’s series about “the world’s first master villain, a Victorian forerunner of Dr. Fu Manchu and the mad cat-stroking evil genius Blofeld in the James Bond books and films.” I’ve never come across him, or his author, before. In fact the only Boothby I’d heard of was Lord Bob Boothby who was black and white and kin to Gilbert Harding and Lady Isobel Barnett, but Guy is no relation. I look forward to reading it.

2. I also bought a small box of Milk Tray for the good lady wife’s aged parent because they surprised me at the entrance. I once won a massive box of Milk Tray (what, the one as big as me? size) at primary school in a raffle. That and 36 quid for four numbers on the lottery - not a lot to show in the luck department for 62 years on the planet. On the way out the checkout gentleman asked me if I wanted to buy some Ferrero Rocher. So I said, “Mr. Poundland, you’re spoiling us.” No I didn’t.

December 2013


Wednesday, 18th December - Hanley (big shop)

pound1323 pound1324

Brainsmasher DVD.

Gladiator DVD.

The Fame Formula by Mark Borkowski.



2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.

1 pack of 8 Sony AA batteries + 2 free.

1 pack of 30 Fusionmax alkaline button batteries.

2 Eco-Packs of Galaxy Instant Hot Chocolate.


1. My friends, ‘tis a black day in the history of Poundland. A bitter blow has been struck against the great spirit of equality and freedom in which the enterprise was formed, as devastating perhaps as that of Ramon Mercader’s icepick. No more will we enter Poundland and experience that warm glow of knowing that one can cast all doubts aside, that everything is a pound and there is no need to waste time looking at the price, no needless pondering whether it can be bought cheaper elsewhere, no replacing of items on the shelf until the internet can be checked. Et in arcadia ego, as the bloke said. Luckily, my mate Clive had warned me of the change in policy so I did not swoon at the site of a two pound section in the DVDs. I remained calm and did not call for the manager to lodge my complaint. It was the week before Christmas so no doubt he was busy. And the little lad stacking shelves did not look in the mood for a discussion of Marxist dialectics. So I had a look at the £2 DVDs, wondering what made them twice as good as Albert Pyun’s Brainsmasher which I had just leapt upon in the poor people’s DVD section. It would seem that these £2 DVDs are those ‘Replay’ items which people pack in boxes and send off somewhere to be refurbished and have a sticker put on them so that they can be recycled in Poundland. I presume, therefore that it is Mr. Replay’s fault that the vision of Mr. Poundland has been so cruelly wrecked. Market forces, no doubt would have been the manager’s reply if I had bothered to consult him. And the little lad would have concurred, after first kicking me in the shins and knocking off my hat (which is the way of little lads the world over so look out for those Bulgarian johnnies who are due to arrive in big boats on New Year’s Day to spoil our festivities, especially in Scotland) if I was wearing one. I finally decided to purchase Gladiator since it was the 2-disc edition so there seemed some sense for paying the extra pound, even though it is not as good as Brainsmasher. I was disappointed with it when I first saw it at the pictures. I’m always annoyed when you spend three hours following the career of the hero and then he dies at the end [spoiler]. I have a similar problem with Spartacus and Jesus films. But, I thought I should give it another go. I did that back in March with Master and Commander, but it turned out to be as rubbish as I first thought.

2. Other than some Christmas gifts which I can’t discuss to preserve the surprise (although they’re a bit rubbish too - the Hanley (big shop) Poundland toy department was very disappointing this year) the only other thing of interest is the book, which has a quote on the front from Lord Saatchi and his pals, which was a good enough reason to put it back, but I had a quick look through and it did seem to be an interesting account of the history of American publicists from P. T. Barnum onwards.


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