Tuesday 30 August 2016

Shoot That Poison Arrow - Tales From Camper Calling

In a move which could hardly be considered financially astute I booked to trade at Camper Calling simply because I wanted to see ABC headlining. If I was a candidate on The Apprentice my business acumen would probably reduce Sir Alan to tears.

It wasn't just 1980s legends ABC that had sold Camper Calling to us, Dodgy, The Hoosiers and The Magic Numbers were also appearing on the bill. The organisers (the people behind CamperJam) had assured us that the toilets would be plentiful and spotlessly clean (which they were) and that this first time event was going to have more of a music festival vibe than the usual feel of a V Dub show.

With the rain beating down and Gilbert stuffed to the roof with vintage stock we headed to the Paladian gloriousness of Ragley Hall in Warwickshire, set up shop, cracked open a can and prayed that the weather would clear up in time for the festival's official opening.

For once the Beeb had got their weather forecast spot on. Friday was glorious. We basked in the sunshine, hung out with other stallholders who, like us, had traded at CamperJam for years, but due to the size had never managed to chat properly.

Wearing: Psychedelic 1970s maxi skirt by Prova (BHS's own label), gypsy blouse & pompom choker (made by me)

For a change there was no night time trading so, after tea, we shut the shop and headed to the main stage to watch Midlands band Dodgy who, virtually unrecognisable from how they looked at their peak in the early 1990s, were on top form.

The Camper Calling crowd were pretty laid back, preferring to watch from the comfort of their camping chairs and blankets....

I've no idea who this lot were but they seemed keen to have their photo taken.

Meaning that us and our mates, Claire, Gareth and their son Caleb of Voodoo Street, were able to watch the The Magic Numbers' set up close and personal.

Their set was beautiful, pitch perfect and wonderfully harmonious.

Saturday started off okay but the blue skies rapidly were replaced with torrential rain, thunder and lightning. Whilst the weather wasn't great for business it gave Claire and I a chance to rummage through our rails and plan our evening outfits. The weather did eventually cheer up and business was fairly brisk so we didn't feel too bad about closing at 7pm (an unknown for us, we're usually the last stall to shut.)

Yes, our outfits of choice were disco unicorns which caused quite a stir.

Is that an Ozzy Osborne photobomb?

Gaz & Jon's jackets and our disco dresses all "borrowed" from the Kinky rails! We reckon this photo looks like a weird version of the Abba Arrival album sleeve.

The Hoosiers - once renowned for their on-stage animal costumes - never batted an eyelid at us going wild in the mosh pit to Worried About Ray.

Next up were headliners ABC and even without the infamous gold lame suit Martin Fry was looking damned fine at 58 years of age and with a brand new hip replacement (a man after my own heart!)

Jon recognised the first note of one of his favourite ABC hits and switched the camera on to record. Just listen to what happens next.....

We were giddy with excitement, not only did we get a mention but Martin Fry dedicated Poison Arrow, my favourite ABC song, to us and Jon caught it all on camera! I'll be banging on about that for years.

Sunday, traditionally a slow day for sales, remained just that....slow but, still on a high, all I kept thinking about was how, only a few hours previously, we'd gone out dressed as unicorns, Martin Fry sang to us and it wasn't even a dream.

Claire when she's not dressed as a unicorn. Instead she's wearing a 1950s novelty print cotton dress she bought from Kinky Melon last year.
Choosing to trade at an event just because I liked the bands wasn't too bad a decision in the end. Although we didn't break any sales records we were more than happy with our takings and MARTIN FRY FROM ABC SANG POISON ARROW TO US.....I might not win any awards for businesswoman of the year but we had the time of our lives and you really ask for better than that, can you?

We got home on Sunday night, set the alarm early to hit the Bank Holiday boot sales and spent five hours hunting for replacement stock, leaving Gilbert packed, blissfully thinking that we'd got a couple of days until The End Of The Road - that is until I checked my emails before bed last night and realised that we've got to be on-site at the other end of the country tomorrow. Gawd help us!

You can read Claire's version of events on Voodoo Street's blog HERE.
Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday ,  Natalia's Rock That Vintage and Judith's Hat Attack #38

See you soon!

PS Here's another ABC clip Jon managed to capture. My friend A-M Ellilä (and fellow ABC fan) might enjoy this!

Wednesday 24 August 2016

Car Boot Finds & Tales of Weirdness

We're all packed and ready for Camper Calling. It's our eighth festival of the season and we're finally into the swing of things, I've even had time to dig out some crazy 1980s fashion just in case anyone wants to dress in vintage-appropriate gear when ABC headline on Saturday night (which'll probably just be me).

In between basking in the sunshine, pottering around the garden, reading like a woman possessed (I reckon I'm solar powered) and watching Ripper Street I've done a bit of sewing, too. I've made a bias cut maxi skirt from a pair of 1950s curtains and another gypsy top, this time from a pair of Indian silk hippy pants. As we don't have to leave for the festival until tomorrow lunchtime we squeezed in another visit to the mid-week car boot sale.

This 1960s vinyl bag and blingy brooch were our first finds.

From left to right: 1960s St Michael mac, 1970s Keynote mac and 1980s military style belted raincoat.
The lady selling these vintage macs and the coat and jacket below was thrilled that we'd bought them. She'd been taking them to car boot sales for months without a sniff of interest. Why? They're in great condition and weren't expensive, it's just that the majority of car booters just don't "get" vintage clothes.

1960s Dereta wool coat & Eastex wool jacket

The lady I bought the vintage maxi dresses from last week had saved me a couple more. The lilac dress with the attached chiffon capelet looks like something nicked out of Yootha Joyce's wardrobe.

This 1970s cotton dress is a stunner.

 I hadn't noticed the label until I got home. I'm in great company as Curtise also owns a Katya of Sweden maxi (see HERE).

I couldn't resist this 1960s pattern for a "Mod Military Cape".

We've sold out of vintage flat caps (blame Peaky Blinders) so we were happy to pick up these English-made beauties.

I found these beaded chokers on a house clearance stall. They've got a fair bit of age to them and have a Native American look to them. I was amazed when the lady selling them only wanted 20p each.

The succulents were 3 for £1 (so I bought them all) and the garden sieve was 50p. I couldn't wait to get home, line the sieve with plastic and get them planted.

Earlier this year I made the mistake of buying a trowel from Poundland. It lasted all of 2 days before it bent in half. These vintage long handled tools were £1 for the pair and are a lot more attractive than my wonky Charlie Dimmock cheapo tat held together with duct tape. 

I found this Spanish souvenir pourer and winking corkscrew/bottle opening in the bottom of a suitcase and was squealing with excitement at how wonderfully kitsch they were. The stallholder must have thought I was a bit mad and told me I could have them for nothing. 

What home doesn't need a winking corkscrew?

We had post from Saz & Andy today, a book telling of the mysterious goings-on in and around Todmorden with tales of witches, satanism, vampires, hauntings and grisly murders not to mention alien abductions and sightings of UFOs. What have Lynn and Philip got us into?

Watching a TV show about baking cakes or reading about The High Priestess of the Hermetic Order of the Silver Blade Coven of Witches, there's no competition, is there?

See you next week!

Monday 22 August 2016

Hit The North

Ever since we've been trading at Stockport's Vintage Village Lynn and Philip (aka Mr Dapper) have been regular visitors and, over the last couple of years, have grown to be firm friends. When I mentioned that we'd been invited to a mate's 50th birthday party forty minutes up the road from them they invited us to travel up north a day early and spend the night at their gorgeous cottage in the Rossendale Valley...so we did. The doorway is just a taster of the wonderfully eclectic home they live in.

I'm wearing a vintage Crimplene maxi dress (gift from Heather), Stuart Weizmann boots and customised 1960s leather jacket (charity shops), Lynn's in a vintage metallic dress & 1970s suede jacket, both from Stockport's Vintage Village.

Typically, after last week's mini heatwave, the weather took a turn for the worst so out came the boots and jackets but did that dampen our fun? No!

After spending Friday night in the pub we travelled to nearby market town of Todmorden on Saturday morning. If you follow Lynn's blog (HERE) you'll know that she's obsessed with the place and you can see why. Nestled in the Pennines and surrounded by moorlands, Todmorden is outrageously picturesque and, with a town centre completely free from the retail chains that dominate almost every high street in the UK, it's a real joy to spend time there.

In 2008 a group of locals started the Incredible Edible Todmorden Project, planting public fruit and veg gardens around the town and inviting passers-by to help themselves to the produce. The idea was such a success that it's been copied in 15 other towns and cities around the UK.

Pretty it might be but Todmorden has an odd claim to fame. In 1980 the police were called to a coal yard where a body had been discovered. Zigmund Adamski, a 56 year old miner, had been reported missing five days earlier. He was still dressed in his suit but his watch, wallet and shirt were missing. A post-mortem established that he'd died from a heart attack but discovered burn marks on his neck, shoulders and the back of his head. These injuries had been dressed with a green ointment which toxicology tests were never able to identify. No suspect was ever arrested and the coroner claimed it to be the most bizarre case he'd ever investigated, leading to claims of an extraterrestrial abduction. The police are still forbidden from discussing the case with the press. 

We had lunch in the old Co-op, a 150 year-old shop with a deli on the ground floor and a vegetarian cafe-bar upstairs. I'm not sure what I loved most, the original Victorian shop fittings or the menu - both were incredible.

Next door was one of Lynn & Philip's favourite shops, the amazing Picture House Antiques. With boxes stuffed with black and white photographs, antique glass bottles, 1960s textiles, Persian rugs, vintage kitchenalia, enamel advertising signs and Smiths tour posters it felt like someone had ransacked our house while we'd been away.

After exploring the chazzas we waved goodbye to Lynn and Phil and checked into Todmorden's Queen's Hotel, our home for the night, for a power nap, an Olympic catch-up and to get ready for Saz's 50th Birthday party, due to kick off at 7pm in nearby Cornholme.

Saz and her partner Andy are fellow vintage traders and brilliant company, we met up with them in Goa earlier this year (see HERE). When they're not selling retro clobber they play in a bonkers psychedelic band who you can enjoy in all their glory in the video below.

We wore leis, drank Champagne and ate an amazing Thai feast prepared by the landlady of the local pub. We chatted and laughed until the early hours and still manged to be up for the inclusive hotel breakfast a few hours later.
WEARING: Vintage gingham maxi & silver pendant (charity shop), Richard Shops denim waistcoat (gift from blogger, Bedford Gypsy)
After a final soggy walk around Todmorden we checked out o the hotel, jumped in the van and had a scary journey home as the clutch (already a jittery from the endless stop/start journey on the way) had decided to play up. Luckily we'll be back in Gilbert this week as we're trading at Camper Calling from Thursday so we can leave the bloody thing with the mechanic.

WEARING: Tee shirt featuring John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) & Don Letts' daughter, Jet (birthday pressie from a mate), Black skinny jeans and brogue boots (charity shop), Leather Baker Boy cap (end of the Road Festival, 2015)
We didn't return to the Midlands empty-handed. From the Todmorden charity shops we bought a Jaws tee shirt and some unworn Mexican cowboy boots and Lynn & Phil gave Jon this crazy cat pen holder and a giant Wade tortoise ashtray for his birthday. I got a 50th Birthday present too but I'm being a good girl and waiting until December to open it.

See you soon!