THE £20 CHALLENGE (Week One)


JC writes…..

Blogging wise, I haven’t been able to do much this past few weeks for one  reason or another (this week it’s been about looking after some very welcome visitors from Canada). The postings, as is my habit, are all written ages in advance so that I can keep things going in such circumstances. It also meant that I wasn’t reading or replying to e-mails but  this has worked quite well…

Yesterday’s guest blogger was Charity Chic, whom I’m sure you will know, from making your own visits over to his corner of the internet, specialises in writing about music he has mostly picked up from browsing around charity shops.

Today’s guest posting is also about charity shopping and it features the long overdue return, to these pages, of the adventures of S-WC and Badger. So without any further ado……here’s S-WC to set the scene.

The £20 Challenge –Week One (where Badger and S-WC do some sterling work charity but don’t like to talk about it. Much)

What follows is a mostly true account of an actual conversation that Badger had with me last week. I was at work having just got back from my lunch time run. I ambled back to the office to see an obviously excited Badger run up to me. Readers, if you are a Blackadder fan – think of Series 2 when Blackadder needs cash fast to pay off the Bishop of Bath and Wells and Percy decided to turn metal into gold and succeeds in making ‘some green’. He bursts out of the door, massively excited – it was a bit like that.

“You’ll never guess what I’ve just found” he shouts at me – considering he is standing next to me I thought this was rather rude, it may also be because I still had my headphones in – but anyway. I think of a clever answer, largely because it always annoys Badger.

“Erm, you’ve found the chemical formula for the mind altering drug that ITV pumps through the television on to an unsuspecting public that makes them think that Keith Lemon, Ant and Dec and Vernon Kay are talented television presenters?”

He looks at me blankly and then says “no, I mean obviously that would be a wonderful thing to find, largely because I can’t stand Vernon Kay, I mean he is just so plastic. So plastic that I actually think he doesn’t have any genitals…..Erm…No, I found £20”.

I have to say that as an answer that was rather underwhelming. I mean its nice to find £20, its free drinking money or free food or some free music, or in my case, some new toys for my daughter. Oh I say, and start to wander back to my desk. “I found it in a book” he shouts. “In a book that I just bought”. He continues “from a charity shop”. I am suddenly interested.

“Which Book?” I ask.

“It was Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas” came the reply. A high brow choice I thought to myself. It was wedged in the end of Chapter 8 and the start of Chapter 9 apparently. Badger went into shop to drop off some stuff, had a browse found this book that he has wanted to read for ages, bought it, and the rest is history…For those of you who are interested it was the Rycroft Hospice shop on Totnes High Street, you should probably check it out – just in case there are other books in there filled with cash.

I looked at Badger and said – so we are going to the pub then to get pissed on free cash? (Obviously it would take us more than £20 to get pissed, considering its like £4 a pint in Exeter) but it’s early and we could always mug a granddad to get more free cash a bit later.

“No” he said and handed me an A4 envelope, which jingled as he passed it. “We are going to do this instead”.

This ladies and gents is an important moment in history – the very first ‘Excellent Idea’ Badger has ever had. The last time he thought he had an excellent idea we ended up in Rochdale.

Inside the envelope was £19 in cash and a CD by the band Mansun. Badger was bouncing up and down when I pulled the CD out of the envelope.

“Do you need the toilet?” I asked him in my most patronising voice.

“No, no, no…Look he said, I can’t take money from a charity shop and spend it on me, it’s not right. So I thought that we could make it fun”. I looked at him with a sense of dread – “by playing Mansun CD’s” I said raising my eyebrows wisely.

mp3 : Mansun – Stripper Vicar

He sighed. “Every week we buy a CD, until the money runs out, we have to buy them from a charity shop, we can’t spend more than £2 on each CD. I buy your choice – on this occasion Mansun – and you buy mine – so next Tuesday you present me with a CD, and the remaining money – and the CD has to be something that you think that the other person won’t already have. I know you don’t have that Mansun CD because you mentioned it once on one of our cricket trips – that bloke who you hate, Frank, stole your copy when you were DJing somewhere.”

This is a true story. When I was a student, a guy called Frank, who was a dickhead (probably still is) stole my copy of ‘Attack of the Grey Lantern’ along with an Acid Brass CD, ‘Kellys Heroes’ by Black Grape, and ‘Let Me Come Over’ by Buffalo Tom. It wasn’t all bad he dropped my copy of ‘Anarchy’ by Chumbawamba in his rush to get out of the DJ Booth. Strange lad.

So you paid £1 for this CD. Wow. I was genuinely amazed as I had only two days ago considered downloading it – I didn’t. It’s a brilliant idea I said. Does it have to be the same shop every week.

“No, let’s spread the love” he said.

Can I buy you anything, anything at all in the shop, that you won’t already own. Meatloaf, Mantovani, Phil Fucking Collins….I let that hang in the air and then chuck in The Stereophonics, Nickelback, Orson….

“Well, make it something I would enjoy” he said and then his phone rings and he is off back to his desk.

I stood there trying to remember which charity shop I saw the debut album by Moloko in the other week.

So here folks are some tracks from Mansun’s excellent debut album ‘The Attack of the Grey Lantern”. Please enjoy them. I have no idea as I type what Badger will get next week, but he’ll let you all know.

mp3 : Mansun – Egg Shaped Fred
mp3 : Mansun – The Chad Who Loved Me
mp3 : Mansun – Taxloss


JC adds…..

I’ve most of the early Mansun singles in the collection.  If any of you like, I could make the b-sides available in a future posting.


13 thoughts on “THE £20 CHALLENGE (Week One)

  1. What a fabulous idea. You get extra sounds and the charities benefit. Magic

  2. As much as I love S-WC and Badger’s own blog, I love it even more when they give us a piece of extended writing. You guys are the blogging world’s Ant & Dec, except that a) you are actually talented; b) you are actually funny; and c) you don’t make me want to commit an extreme act of violence on either of you.

    Have to say that Mansun’s debut is a pretty darn fine record. What struck me most though is that as much as Frank was/is a right dickhead, he had a strangely good taste in music. ‘Let Me Come Over’ by Buffalo Tom is a ridiculously great record. I’ve never met a dickhead who had such fine taste.

    I do think one of you should pick up something by Manuel and his Music Of The Mountains though……

  3. An excellent read SWC and an excellent idea Badger
    Will All Saints feature?I’ve yet to enter a charity shop without seeing theor lovely faces starinf out from the shelves

  4. My CD’s were in alphabetical order on a pile and frank took the first five I’m not sure he knew what he was taking. He is an arse.
    All saints, Keane, Travis, and strangely lots and lots of U2. I bought Badgers CD yesterday.

  5. Charity shops round my way are full of Easy Listening and the free CDs given away with MOJO, etc. – and of course All Saints, as mentioned above.

    Loved that first Mansun album and the preceding EPs. I was less keen on the second album though – as I think many people were. Maybe that’s why they don’t get mentioned that much these days.

  6. Bugger … there ain’t no charity shops in Germany, there might be one or two in big cities perhaps, but not where I live. This means no charity chicks either, which might or might not be even worse ….

  7. You’ve just reminded me there’s a charity shop not far from where I’m currently sitting. All Saints here I come.

  8. I’m waiting for Paul Draper’s fist solo single to drop. Hoping it’ll be as good as the first Mansun album, and not as patchy as ‘Little Kix’. We shall see

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