Friday, 28 January 2011

Knowing Your Shit From Your Shinola

I was curious to read that Portsmouth Council are stopping a long running car boot sale in order to gentrify the Southsea area as they consider consider car boot sales to be "down-market".

Tired of the empty cardboard boxes, assorted detritus and the low standard of goods on sale the council views the markets as a scourge that repels tourists.

Seafront manager David Evans said:

"There were never supposed to be car boot sales. We will do all we can to support events on the sea-front, and we want better quality events than this."

Cllr Lee Hunt, the council’s leader for culture and leisure, agreed that boot sales lower the tone.

"We can have a better standard of event here. At the moment you get people driving from Essex, selling old things from the back of a white Transit, and driving home."

As a long term lover of car boot sales I find this move to eliminate them a travesty. Whilst there is undeniably plenty of tat being sold they are not an eyesore, far from a chav-fest and there are plenty of bargains to be had if you are prepared to look.

My love for boot sales comes from my Dad (a much travelled tight arse) who use to drag us around the "rastros" (spanish flea markets) during our time living on the Costa Blanca. It was nice to be out in the country on a bright sunny day with all the stalls and intersting people milling about.

After moving back to England I indulged my pursuit of bargains through Britain's passion for boot sales. Britons spend over £2.5m at car boot sales and this figure is likely to rise as money gets tighter and the public overcome their snobishness.

"But there's nothing but fake phone covers, dodgy DVD's and your gran's old pants" you shout.

Well, that's where you're wrong. Despite the influx of professional traders who sell dodgy, poorly made goods you still find plenty of real people doing their spring cleaning and getting rid of unwanted goods in perfect condition.

I used to by a lot of C.D and vinyl which were as good as new and I amassed quite a collection. Now with mp3 I need a boot sale of my own. I have bought used Levi's at a fraction of the cost of the high street. African masks, rare pictures, musical instruments, professional saucepans, computer games, golf clubs. You name I've bought it.

With the current vogue for recycling having a car boot sale is a no brainer. Stuff that would either be chucked down the tip or taken to the local charity shop can be exchanged for money. Punters can get a bargain and you can make few quid and clear up some house space. Plus you are saving the planet for the price of an early morning alarm call.

On top of this benevolence you also get a pleasant way of whiling away a couple of hours on a Sunday. I find "boots" to be very relaxing and far from the pikey, garbage-fests our esteemed public servants perceive them to be. That said the tastes of Brightonians are a little more refined then those of our Pompey neighbours. Perhaps they have more Chavs with unwanted George of Asda hoodies to dispose of?

Naysayers say car boot sales are inhabited by human cockroaches feeding off other peoples garbage but I like to think that one person's junk is another person's treasure.

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