Saturday, May 21, 2011


I found myself back 'home' a few weeks ago and for the first time in forever this visit landed itself on a Thursday. Thursday in Chesterfield means one thing, well two things if you include the tradition of getting into a fight in a shitty nightclub after an evening of buy one get one free drinks based offers. Anyway, the thing that it means mostly is the 'Flea Market'. For much of the week the towns two squares play host to a good old fashioned market: cheap curtains, crockery, fruit and veg etc. But once a week on a Thursday (but then you already knew that) the once legendary 'Flea Market' erupts from beneath the cobbled streets.

For those reading from outside the UK a 'Flea market' is not quite as rancid or moldy as it sounds and as a rule insects are not involved. It's basically a communal garage sale.

Anyway I say once legendary because record shopping wise the Chesterfield Thursday Flea Market has suffered from exactly the same blows that the rest of the world has. The internet, Ebay the birth and death of the CD. These factors also seem to have effected the quality level of the rest of the junk on sale. Interesting military collectibles have been replaced by piles of clothes based jumble that would not look out of place stuffed in bin liners left outside the Spastic Society. The 'mucky book' man has cleaned up his act and now appears to focuses soley on yellowing Mills and Boon novels and crossword puzzle books and 'Video Nasty' seems to have vanished.

As for the record guys. There used to be three of four, a couple of whom also had stores on the legitimate Saturday market. The stock was of varying quality but always reasonably priced and you could pick up anything from recent Cure bootleg albums to much of the Vertigo back catalogue. I have a memory of seeing the COB album for about 4quid sometime in the mid 80's. I distinctly remember laughing at the shit album sleeve, which serves me right.

In 2011 there are two intrepid peddlers of plastic left. There are of course others with the obligatory torn and tattered plastic record box crammed with scratched copies of Paul Young's 'Non Parlez', uninteresting Deutsche Grammophon titles and Christmas albums but they would just as soon sell you an antique horse brass or Andrew and Fergie royal wedding mug so they don't get counted.

As you can see above there isn't too much left, a few crates, nothing to get exciting about but in fairness what is there is still relatively well priced. What's most upsetting is that 'Moustache guy' has thrown in the vinyl towel completely, I did try taking a picture of Moustace Guy' but he kept staring right at me, perhaps recalling a younger version of myself, school uniform minus tie excitedly thumbing a copy of Kiss' 'Music From the Elder'. Anyway, Moustache Guy is strictly CDs and DVDs now. Poor Moustache guy, given the recent resurgence of interest in records it looks very much like he backed the same two dud horses that are about to sink HMV.

So is it worth a trip to Chesterfield's once fabled Thursday Flea Market? I would say no, unless you still have a VHS video recorder in which case there appears to still be an unusually high selection of big box Warner and Entertainment Vide titles for you to get lost amongst.

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