Saturday, 31 October 2015


Yes folks, it's that time of year again, let's do the MONSTER MASH!!!

If you fancy visiting a particularly scary place this Halloween, then go to Knowlton Church, reputedly one of Dorset's most haunted sites.

It is a ruined 14th century church placed within an ancient Neolithic earthwork. Built there to outdo the old beliefs, it looks like the church has given up to the superior powers of the ancient ways! Halloween, despite the Americanisation of the event, is essentially Britain rediscovering its pagan roots.

When we visited the place, on the ground next to the church there were the remnants of a pagan ritual, probably held there the night before.

The place certainly has a strange atmosphere, go if you dare!!!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015


In my unit at The Customs House in West Bay, Dorset, I've got these lovely old maps for sale!

The French Michelin maps are world famous and these early examples are fantastic. All dating from the 1920s, you can imagine some bright young things jumping into their jalopy for a quick tour of the wonderfully French names of Chalon-sur-SaƓne, Saint-Etienne and Troyes!

They all feature the cheery Michelin Tyre Man or 'Bibendum' logo, who in those days was allowed to smoke a crafty cigar, can't imagine he'd be able to now!!

Inside they have wonderful colour details and you can imagine yourself driving around looking for the nearest estaminet!

Bon voyage !

Saturday, 24 October 2015


This week I've been watching old Buster Keaton movies and they've been an absolute joy to watch!

I well remember as a kid seeing his contemporaries Laurel & Hardy and Harold Lloyd regularly on TV, especially during the summer holidays, but somehow Buster never seemed to get shown, so I've never really seen his films.

To watch his short, silent epics of the early 1920s though, you can see a genius at work. As with Charlie Chaplin, he always played the down-on-his-luck everyday man, which appealed to audiences in those tough times.

With his unique looks and laconic expression he took his background in vaudeville and his music hall stage craft to these films.
They're a fantastic roller coaster of ideas and stunts, sometimes involving manic car chases on virtually empty Hollywood roads or gloriously clever set pieces filmed inside purpose-built houses.
The sheer invention and daring in these films, where Buster would do all his own stunts, takes your breath away. But there can also be time for a quiet, poignant moment as well.

He enjoyed a long career after these silent classics and was still working right up until he died in 1966.
His legacy and influence lives on today and we can still marvel at his kaleidoscope of ideas in those pioneering early films.

As a bonus, just recently I found an amazing set of 1920s film star cigarette cards at the brilliant Mrs Minivers unit at Battlesbridge Antique Centre in Essex.
The first card I noticed was the enigmatic portrait of Buster seen above. With his trademark dead-pan stare, I was immediately captivated by them. What a lucky find!

This lovely set of cards, includes another silent movie star Harold Lloyd.

Sunday, 18 October 2015


Recently the combined forces of ArtPix and Arcane Publishing had a staff outing to Kent, to seek out the famous Deal Braderie!

As we are only a stone's throw away across the Thames Estuary it doesn't take long to get over to the Garden of England. However the street market in Deal is so popular we couldn't find any B&B in Deal itself, so it gave us the opportunity to explore a bit more of Kent, eventually finding a place down in Dover.

Within a couple of hours of leaving ArtPix Towers we had already reached Folkstone and decided to pop in to the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne. Just as we entered the brand new visitor centre a Spitfire flew over, what a perfect moment!
I first went there about 20 years ago and it still has the power to move you, especially as this is the 75th Anniversary of the battle. A simple memorial of a seated pilot looking out to sea, which is sited on an original World War II anti-aircraft battery.

We moved along the coast a bit after that, to St Margaret's at Cliffe. A steep path takes you down to the sea into St Margaret's Bay and you are dwarfed by the huge white cliffs. There are amazing houses, especially the Art Deco ones right on the sea, museums, gardens and tea rooms there. A very pleasant place to pass the time. We climbed the steep roads and paths again to reach the top of the cliffs and walk along the fabulous coastline. First reaching the South Noreland Lighthouse, then recently renovated World War II tunnels, and finally the port of Dover. A constant flow of ferries going in and out. Fortunately the day was perfectly sunny, so you could see the coast of France clearly in the distant as the ferries trundled across the Channel.

After our night in Dover, under the shadow of the famous castle, we rose super early to get to the small town of Deal for the Braderie. By our standards being there by 8-30am was a minor miracle, and it was certainly worth the effort. It was already packed and people were wandering home with all sorts of weird and wonderful things they'd found!
Again we were so lucky with the weather, as this is a full-on street market, any rain would've been a disaster! There were brilliant stalls all along the High Street, and we had great fun rummaging. Also, looking up at the gorgeous buildings everywhere was a treat as well. After a long time vintiquing we headed to the seafront, which is just how a seafront should be. Old buildings, lovely pier, fishing boats hauled up onto the beach help create a lovely relaxed and dignified air to the place.
We walked along the flat, shingled beaches as far as Walmer Castle, where you can see the cliffs start to rise again to start their world famous display at Dover.

After leaving Deal, we drove along to the north Kent coast to see the stunning Reculver Towers. An abandoned church built on the site of a Roman fort, for generations a handy navigation marker to boats sailing in to the Thames Estuary.
As the sun set over the huge towers we finally made our way home.

We thoroughly enjoyed our mini sojourn to Kent and will be back soon!

The simple but stunning Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne.

Close-up of the lone pilot sculpture.

He has a perfect view of the Channel. In the background you can see original features of the anti-aircraft battery that was housed there.

Classic white cliffs scene down at St Margaret's Bay.

And the stunning Art Deco houses right on the beach.

Perfectly pristine South Noreland Lighthouse.

You can sit and watch the ferries all day, with the backdrop of the French coastline in the distance.

The port of Dover where all the action takes place. A fascinating spot to watch the world go by.

Walking along the top of the famous White Cliffs, you sometimes get a little glimpse of them!

Someone had been waiting a long time for this year's Deal Braderie!!

Already packed and it's only 8-30am on a Sunday morning!!

So many amazing vintage treats were there.

And not forgetting to check out the gorgeous Georgian buildings along the route as well.

Wow, the perfect retro ceramic set!

The unusual Time Ball Tower Museum on Deal seafront.

A sadly empty old Art Deco cinema.

The simple but effective 1950s pier at Deal.

Classic English seaside architecture add to its charm.

And interesting independent shops.

Fabulous 50s Space Age seafront shelter!

Colourful fishing boats remind you this is also a working seaside town.

Henry VIII's Deal Castle, with its very low and menacing appearance.

Perfect Autumn sunshine along the beach, with the ferries cruising along to Dover in the distance.

Looking back towards Deal, with Walmer Castle just behind us.

Stunning Reculver Towers along the coast, almost falling into the sea.

Perfect end to a glorious weekend...

Thursday, 8 October 2015


Tomorrow DEVILISH PRESLEY begin their last ever tour....

So make the most of it and see this fantastic band while you still can!!!

I had the very big honour to design and typeset Johnny Navarro's debut novel KILL DEVIL DELTA.
And lucky you, it's available to buy on the merchandise table throughout the tour!!
So go along and get your copy and support the band one last time!

Also buy their last ever album, The Electric Ballroom!

Here are their dates:

9th October: NOTTINGHAM @ The Maze

10th October: LONDON @ The Pipeline

16th October: YORK @ Fulford Arms

17th October: GLASGOW @ Official 13th Note

18th October: KETTERING @ The Prince of Wales

14th November: BIRMINGHAM @ The Rainbow Venues

21st November: NEWCASTLE @ The Globe

We'll be there at The Pipeline on Saturday!!

Check it all out HERE

Sunday, 4 October 2015


Had the very great pleasure to see PIL at the Shepherd's Bush Empire last Friday.

To anyone who is a serious music fan, it was one of those gigs you just can't miss.
It would be impossible for me to explain, without rambling on for hours, the importance of John Lydon and his band PIL. 

It's an awful shame people still today associate Lydon with his Pistols days, his work with PIL far outstrips anything Punk could have possibly achieved. His experimental, dub driven, jittery sound was a massive influence on anyone interested in finding the other side of the musical coin.

And there in London we witnessed another special night, Lydon as always the mischievous and independent spirit. Too many amazing moments to mention, but Warrior, Religion and Rise were titanic.  Public Image still has a rawness and freshness, and is for me, the one song that symbolises the moment alternative music's sound changed forever. A shame the Empire's sound system could barely cope with the massive, throbbing bass throughout the night!!

For anyone still unsure who or what PIL are about, go and check them out on YouTube!!!!
Either this or some of their early performances. I recommend watching them on Top of the Pops doing Death Disco in 1979 and some footage of a staggering version of Careering from the TV programme Old Grey Whistle Test in 1980. Lydon just looks so calm, knowing that his band is producing an incredible sound and that he is leaving Punk far, far behind. 

Thursday, 1 October 2015


Hi folks!

Had a cracking time in Dorset, stocking up the unit at The Customs House and getting a bit of walkies done.

And as promised we made it to the fantastically named Hell Lane!

Just round the corner from the iconic Colmer's Hill near Bridport, is the lovely village of Symondsbury. If you walk passed the hill and carry on heading west, you enter the incredible holloway of Hell Lane. These holloways are ancient pathways and roads that have literally sunk into the ground from hundreds of years of use.

They are fascinating places, with an air of mystery and history swirling around. You can hide away from the world as they are usually covered in trees and foliage. And Hell Lane is easily the best one I've been to. It starts as a normal holloway with a single track road, then the further you go in, the more impressive it becomes. It gets deeper and deeper to look like a huge cavern, with the walls covered in strange faces and carvings. It gradually levels out again and if you turn back on yourself at a tiny crossroads you get a stunning view of Colmer's Hill, perfectly framed by the overhanging trees.

A wonderful place!

Also spent time at my unit at The Customs House in West Bay. Tidied up and did a bit of dusting, then added some more exciting vintage items and a new pile of Retro Football Packages. So get down there now and check it all out, then if you are feeling daring, go up to Hell Lane!!!

Here are a few piccies of the lane and the new stock....

The start of Hell Lane, with the single track road.

Then it becomes this amazing cavern like place.

Trees are bent into crazy shapes to get to the light.

Strange faces are carved into the sides of the lane.

This one looks like a medieval stone carving.

Then at the top, this perfect view of the stunning Colmer's Hill.

Great to see it from this unusual angle, and bathed in glorious Autumn sunshine.

I've plonked a huge pile of brilliant Beano comics in the unit!

And some classic Commando comics from the 70s.

This is a close-up view of St Helier from a 1950s map of Jersey.

Stunning 1904 Bartholomew's map of Liverpool and Manchester.

Super Soccer Star magazines from the 60s!

A lovely selection of vintage tins, ranging from the 20s to the 50s.