Monday 31 December 2012


It's that time of year again......


Hopefully 2013 will be a fantastic year for us all!

2012 has been an amazing year for me, doing some great fairs and markets, selling my work in 3 different shops and again meeting some great people along the way....

I've got a few plans for the New Year, so fingers crossed and stayed tuned!!

Saturday 29 December 2012


Hello everyone!
Has been a while since my last blog.....
Have been recovering from all the fairs I did and then recharging my batteries.
But I have been working a bit recently, honest!

Have done a series of pictures of Dorset as a gift for someone. I found a gorgeous 1930s photograph album at the Essex Vintage Weekender last month, and filled it with my own photographs of Dorset.

Each one having a different feel and atmosphere to them. As Dorset is such an amazing county, I wanted to capture the essence of these special places. I'm indebted to Stephanie Shimerdla for the superb Photoshop brushes and effects used on these pictures.

I've included a couple of them here as a preview.
The Anchor Inn in Seatown.

The magnificent Knowlton Church, where pagan rituals are still held.

To check out the whole lot you can go to the PIX gallery on my website here...!pix/vstc1=photos

Click on the DURDLE DOOR picture to make it bigger and zip along the gallery!

Thursday 29 November 2012


This Saturday I'll be at the splendid SILVER JAM TEA CLUB in Upminster!

This will be my last fair of the year, so hurry on down there to get some amazing Xmas pressies!!
I'll have a fabulous range of framed pictures, cards, fridge magnets, footie programmes and comics.
Plus a selection of classic 60s and 70s albums on French import.

I still have some of my vintage Xmas cards in stock as well!!

Here are all the details you need to know...

St Laurence Church Hall,
Upminster High Street,
RM14 2BB.

Kick off is at 10am until 4pm.

Entry is absolutely FREE!!

See you there!

Tuesday 27 November 2012


Had a fantastic time at the ESSEX VINTAGE WEEKENDER in Brentwood last weekend!

The 2 day extravaganza was packed full of amazing things. Huge vintage market, cars, scooters, jukeboxes, dancers and great live bands.

Here are a few pix of the event. Can't wait for next year now!!

The flags were out for us at the Brentwood Centre!

Quick look at my stall, loads of goodies for sale!
Fantastic live music kept everyone jiving the whole weekend!

More great music!
Is that Del Boy's motor I can see? Don't buy anything off him!!

Amazing vintage jukebox, and it was for sale!

Proper vintage bike here!

The excellent A2 Jivers strutting their stuff!

Wednesday 21 November 2012


This weekend I'll be at the spectacular ESSEX VINTAGE WEEKENDER at the Brentwood Centre!

There will be a cornucopia of events happening there, including live music, fashion show, pin-up competition, classic cars and of course a fabulous vintage market.

Can't wait for this fantastic event, so come along and join in the fun!!

Here all the details you need to know...

Saturday 24th November & Sunday 25th November

The Brentwood Centre,
Doddinghurst Road,
CM15 9NN

Opens at 11am until 5pm on both days.

£5 on the door

Check out the website for more info:

Sunday 18 November 2012


As West Ham United are enjoying their best run for years, I thought I would show you a brand new collage I've created......

Made up of fantastic retro West Ham programmes from 1966 to 1985 plundered from my collections! It shows the progression of programme designs from the Moore, Peters and Hurst era of 1966, through the glorious Cup wins of 1975 and 1980, to the McAvennie and Cottee years of the mid-80s.

You can have a peek at this new design at next week's ESSEX VINTAGE WEEKENDER next weekend (more details soon!). You can even buy some of the programmes featured!
Also, I'll have a huge selection of the Hammers magazine dating back to the very first issue in 1994 for sale.

Very first issue of HAMMERS magazine, on sale right now!

See you there Hammers fans.....!

Saturday 10 November 2012


I always like to mark Remembrance Day in some way, usually with a Siegfried Sassoon poem, as he was especially able to reflect the futility of war.

But this year I thought I would do something different and inject a little humour. No-one more than Bruce Bairnsfather, during the First World War, was able to capture the sharp, gallows humour of a frontline soldier. Having served in the trenches himself, the artist and cartoonist knew exactly how to portray the often moaning but resilient and resourceful veterans of trench life.

His famous character Old Bill epitimised this spirit, immediately striking a chord with all serving soldiers. It's important to remember the humour that the soldiers themselves used with each other to survive the conditions they were thrown into. Bairnsfather's cartoons are a unique insight into the stoicism and matter of fact way they dealt with everything.

So tomorrow remember them, but also remember their humour....

Lovely portrait of Old Bill's creator Bruce Bairnsfather.

His most famous cartoon: 'In Search of a Better 'Ole'.

The harsh realities of trench life were always treated as just another day.

The cartoons soon progressed from postcards to books of prints.

The Fragments From France series became hugely popular.

This is a theatre programme from 1918, as Old Bill hit the stage. He was also made into a film!

Please have a look this website, featuring some amazing info and Bairnsfather memoribilia:

Tuesday 6 November 2012


Great to see in the newsagents at the moment a brand new football magazine called FOOTBALL LIFE.

Stuart Pearce adorns the cover of the first ever issue of Football Life.

In these tough times it's a brave decision to produce a whole new magazine. And the good news is, it's a quality bit of work.
Fantastic design, in-depth articles and established writers all contribute to make a welcome difference to a tired genre.

But for me, the most interesting part of all this, is the person who started it all – KEN MONKOU.
An ex-player himself, he is one of football's rare good guys. Originally from Surinam, he grew up in the nation of Total Football: Holland. Moved to Chelsea and enjoyed a successful career in England with several clubs as a cultured defender. His post-football career involved opening a pancake restaurant in Holland and being an eloquent pundit on Dutch and English TV. He's also to be found turning out for the Chelsea Old Boys team, made up of ex-Chelsea players of varying ability!

Super Ken playing for Chelsea at Wembley in the 1990 ZDS Cup Final. ©

An older and wiser Ken, now playing for the Old Boys team! ©

And it's with this Chelsea connection that I have some very vivid memories of KEN MONKOU. Way back in the summer of 1989, I trooped along to Wimbledon's ramshackle old ground, Plough Lane, to try and see Chelsea's first game back in the First Division (no Premier League then!). With the away end full, I just went to the home end and paid at the turnstile, imagine trying to do that now at any top level game!
We then witnessed an immense display from Super Ken on his full debut for Chelsea. Adding a touch of glamour as one of Chelsea's first foreign players, he ended the season as their Player of the Year, he was that good.

Ten years later and the tables were turned, as he came to Chelsea in a League Cup tie as a Huddersfield Town player. I again witnessed a defensive masterclass from him. This time shackling the eager 17-year-old striker Mikael Forssell, who was literally half his age. Try as he might, he just couldn't get passed him, given a thorough footballing lesson from a hugely experienced defender. On both occasions, Ken won the game 1-0.

So because of those great memories and for being a beacon of hope for the game, I hope Ken Monkou's FOOTBALL LIFE is a total success.

Sunday 4 November 2012


If you are wondering what to do next Saturday........

Come along to Dotty Sparkle's Vintage & Homemade Fair at the Royal Hotel in Southend-on-Sea!!

I'll be there at the fabulous hotel on Southend High Street, that gives you perfect views of the pier and seafront. Come upstairs to the Ballroom and discover a wondrous selection of goodies!

Dare I say it, but I'm going to have Christmas cards there! A perfect opportunity to get your unique, vintage inspired cards!!
I'll also have my usual selection of framed pictures, Dazzling Decades foamboards and a fantastic array of retro comics and footie programmes.

Kick off is at 10-30am on Saturday 10th November until 4-30pm.

Admission is absolutely free!!

Sunday 28 October 2012


Sorry there haven't been many blogs recently!
I'm still getting back into the swing of things after my 2 weeks in Dorset!
So here is a brief rundown of what I've been up to and what's coming up...

Had an amazing time on my hols in Dorset, visiting all our fave places and discovering lots of new ones.
Perfect seaside view from near Seatown in Dorset.

After the hols, I went to wild Walton-on-the-Naze for a very bracing walk! They have the wonderful Naze Tower there, which houses a great tearoom, art gallery and museum. Then got blasted by the North Sea air and wandered around the deserted and fabulously creepy pier!

The impressive Naze Tower at Walton-on-the-Naze.

A deserted and ghostly ride at Walton Pier.

Did the Pre-Raphaelites – Victorian Avant-Garde exhibition at the Tate Britain in London. Wonderful selection of the finest paintings you could wish to see from this era. Very awe-inspiring and great to see a few surprises as well.

Exhibition poster, closes on 13th January, so plenty of time to go!

Sneaked a look at the Art of Frankenweenie exhibtion on its last day at the BFI at the Southbank Centre. Packed full of original material from Tim Burton's new film, including figures of the characters, sketches, sets and videos filled to the brim with Burton's trademark humour, style and attention to detail.

This exhibition has now sadly closed, bad luck!

Had a wonderful afternoon at Westcliff-on-Sea's pride and joy, the Palace Theatre. There was an open day to celebrate the exact day it opened 100 years ago. Have always been intrigued to see backstage having visited the theatre many times. And I was very pleased to see everyone could wander around the whole place, so had great fun exploring the many floors, corridors and rooms backstage.

View from the stage at the Palace Theatre.
Fantastic Hollywood style mirrors in the dressing rooms!

View from the gods, wow, it's high up!

This week I went to see Amanda Palmer at Koko in Camden. What a night! So special to see a musicain with so much originality, energy and passion. With a host of special guests adding to an already enjoyable gig, it was hard to keep up with her! Especially enjoyed doing the Timewarp again with the legendary Richard O'Brien!

Fabulous shot of Amanda Palmer singing. Thanks to Carya Gish for these pix!

The all-star cast at the final encore, Richard O'Brien is 2nd from the right.

After all that, I'm now preparing for my next fair at Dotty Sparkle's Vintage and Homemade Fair at the Royal Hotel in Southend on November 10th. See you there!

Monday 15 October 2012


The Great War of 1914-18 has very much been in the news recently. With the 100th anniversary of the start of that calamitous event rapidly approaching, the nation has finally started to wonder how to mark this unique date.

Rather surprisingly, the Government announced last week that huge sums of money are being made available to provide funds for events up and down the country. This is to be applauded. As long as those in charge keep the historical context of how and why this country entered the war and what happened there after.

Too many times, the modern eye casts a disapproving eye over historical events to criticise and belittle those involved, often ignoring the mood of the times and the context of what happened. They must be careful not to insult the memory of those who fought by comparing them with today's events and attitudes.

The Great War has huge significance for me personally and I'm fascinated how every single facet of life in this country was affected and changed in some way. From art and poetry to huge social upheavals that changed Britain forever.
The more people aware of this the better. I travelled all around the Somme battlefield sites in France with my Dad 15 years ago and we barely saw anyone all day. We do owe these people the dignity of our respect and understanding of what they went through. Those lonely cemeteries and forgotten fields where thousands died are an incredible experience. The weight of history is all around you.

Just recently I completed a first draft of a collage as a tribute to the Great War. Very much in the spirit of my DAZZLING DECADES series, but this time including items not solely from these years. I thought it important to include objects from the post war years of the 1920s, as I not only possess many items but highlights the impact the war still had.

Some of the things on show are the 'Pip, Squeak and Wilfrid' medals, rare dog-tags, postcards, 'Ole Bill cartoon character (including a theatre programme from 1917), a photograph taken at the Battle of Jutland, Queen Mary Christmas 1914 tin and a 1929 copy of All Quiet on the Western Front book.

Lest we forget

Pip, Squeak and Wilfrid. Officially the 1914 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Rare soldier's dog-tags. 
Sadly, they were made of cardboard, which made identification of dead soldiers often impossible as they deteriorated quicker or were destroyed more easily than metal ones.

On War Service badge from 1916, worn by women munitions workers.

Postcard dated 1915 from someone of Active Service. 
Notice the Censor stamp, approving the card as ok to send.

Friday 21 September 2012


I'm off to Dorset for two whole weeks, YIPPEE!!!!

For a much needed recharging of batteries and of course to hunt around for some amazing vintage pieces! Can't wait to get back to all our favourite places and to explore some new ones...

But never fear, my work is still available to buy at THE CURIOUS HOME down at THE VINTAGE LOUNGE in Southend. But hurry up, as sadly the shop is closing in 2 weeks...........

You can also catch me at DOTTY SPARKLE'S VINTAGE & HOMEMADE FAIR at The Royal Hotel in Southend on November 10th.

So see you all soon and bye for now!!!

Which way to go?!

Hurry up, while it's still open!

Wednesday 19 September 2012


For three nights last week, we entered a world of Deco delights at the Palace Theatre in Westcliff-on-Sea. The grand old lady is celebrating her 100th birthday this year and as part of the centenary celebrations was a chance to relive the 1930s.

For five fleeting months between October 1932 and March 1933 the theatre was converted to a cinema to show those new fangled talkies.

In conjunction with The White Bus film company the Palace decided to recreate those brief days and add a sparkle of Deco decadence. With meticulous research and a lot of tracking down they found three feature films that were actually shown during this period. A real effort was made to decorate the foyer of the theatre with 1930s trimmings, including many photographs and posters of the films. The staff were dressed in period uniforms, 30s sweets, (chocolate!) cigarettes and cocktails were on offer and an officious Commissionaire added to the authenticity!

Once settled in our seats we were introduced to the night's proceedings by Cinema Manager for the duration David Simpson and then treated to an hours worth of extras. A splendid blend of Pathé newsreels, Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons, Laurel & Hardy and Three Stooges films and the gripping thriller series The Whispering Shadow starring Bela Lugosi. Absolutely loved seeing my favourite Laurel & Hardy, The Music Box, on the big screen and great to see that 80 years on they are still getting huge laughs from an audience.

The three main features were all excellent choices. The Mysterious Dr Fu Manchu, Secrets of a Secretary and The Rainbow Trail were all very different styles of film. A dark thriller, a New York society caper and a classic Western. All three showed how Hollywood was still getting to grips with sound and still had one foot in the silent era. But they also showed a nod to the future, with Noir elements, snappy dialogue and sweeping outdoor location shots.

Each evening was an absolute joy and so we very much hope this will be the first of many more events like this. With plans for 40s and 50s nights in the pipeline lets hope the Palace has many more vintage nights!

Check out the Palace Theatre 100th anniversary website:

The lovely programme for the three nights.

Poster showing all the delights on offer.

The grand old lady herself - the Palace Theatre.

Crowds already making their way in!

Lovely old Austin to add a touch of class to the evenings!

1930s galore here, Deco trimmings, usherette and scales for the sweets!

Even the 30s press were there!

Film stills from the feature films.

The sumptuous interior complete with new cinema sign!

The mad serial that kept us on the edge of our seats!

The intermission, time for an ice cream!

Dramatic film poster!

Classic 30s feel to this one.

Swashbuckling Western graphics here!

The Commissiomaire bids farewell to the Austin after three memorable nights.
A shameless plug for my very own tribute to the 1930s!