Charity shopper is a weekly blog post. The rules are that I have to visit a charity shop every week and purchase something from it. I cannot leave the shop without making a purchase and I must use the purchase at least once. I will report every week on what I buy.
It’s more fun if you play at home: this week you have the opportunity to win all of the items I purchased. This is partly to spread the word about the Charity Shopper blog and partly because my wife has threatened divorce if I bring anymore stuff home from charity shops. To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is contact me on twitter @TmhoLudek or email: firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll enter you into the prize draw. If your name is pulled out of the hat then you win: 3 vinyl records by the incomparably smooth Sacha Distel, a bizarre book about a nose by Nikolai Gogol and 2 lovely postcards that you can send to friends (if you have any) or turn into decorative features to stick on your bedroom wall. Or the fridge. Or anywhere else…
Date: Mon 15.02.2016
Shop: Oxfam, Unit 3, 2 Railway Street, , Pocklington , YO42 2QZ
Purchase: 3 Vinyl Records by Sacha Distel, 2 postcards, 1 book – The Nose by Nikolai Gogol
You brought home three records by someone called Sacha Distel. Some kind of German techno DJ?
Hmm, not quite.
Distel was one of France’s greatest cultural exports.
Along with Bridget Bardot and camembert…
He was an internationally recognised crooner in the Tony Bennet/Dean Martin mould. Interestingly Distel and Bridget Bardot were an item towards the end of the 1950s.
It didn’t work out?
He went on to marry a downhill skier.
Bardot was a bit piste off?
Hmm. She went on to…
Do you get what I did there?
Yes. She went on to…
Piste off! Ha ha ha. Because he married a skier…
Well, au contraire actually…
A little early for a drink isn’t it?
It means on the contrary. Distel apparently learned of their break up in a press release issued by Bardot in 1959, so if anyone was, ahem, piste off, it was him. Bardot has had a turbulent personal life: married four times and a string of public affairs with high profile celebrities. Says her biographer Marie-Dominique Lelièvre: “She is the first woman to have publicly displayed her sexual freedom. Before Bardot, a woman who changed lover at the slightest whim was called a bitch, a salope. After Bardot, such a woman was simply seen as libérée.’
They make a handsome couple…
You were saying?
Weren’t we talking about Sacha Distel? What became of him?
Well he went on to score numerous international hits as well as a staring role in the West End stage production of Chicago but is probably most famous for his rendition of Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head, his cover of the song from the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Shall we talk about The Nose?
Do we have to?
Well you bought it. You didn’t enjoy it?
Erm… well, it will certainly stick in the memory…
To summarise the plot: a man wakes up without his nose and realises it has been cut off. His nose is at large around town (literally – it has grown to the same size as an adult human) and attains the status of a minor celebrity…
This sounds bonkers!
That’s putting it mildly. At various points in the book the narrator interrupts and during the closing paragraph admits that not even he/she (what do you call the omnipresent narrator in a book – it?) can make sense of what’s going on.
This chap’s first attempt at writing something was it?
Hardly. The Encyclopedia Britannica says ‘his part in Russian literature was enormous.[…] Gogol was among the first authors to have revealed Russia to itself.’ The Nose is a satirical work about… erm… something.
Sounds absurd. Why would anyone pay money for such clap – trap?
Well indeed. The narrator of The Nose ponders exactly the same point. Interestingly, the copy I bought from The Oxfam Shop in Pocklington had the corner of page 17 turned down, as though whoever owned it had got that far through the book and given up. The entire thing is only 35 very short pages long!
Gone for a lie down no doubt.
And the postcards?
They were just on the counter by the till so I bought them on a whim.
Shall we finish on a quote from The Nose?
‘Strangely enough, I mistook it for a gentleman at first. Fortunately I had my spectacles with me so I could see it was really a nose.’
I think that says all we need to know about that.
To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is contact me on twitter @TmhoLudek or email: email@example.com and I’ll enter you into the prize draw.
If you’ve enjoyed this week’s foray into secondhand land then check out the previous blog posts here: