Archive for April, 2012

We had an ‘Antiques Roadshow’ moment today sorting through an old box of stock when we discovered we had the original idea for sliced bread. All the museums have been down, the local news team and Biker Squid from down the pub, although he only wanted to know when I was going to buy him back that drink I owed him. So I showed him the sliced bread idea and told him we’re even.

sliced bread

He weren’t having none of it, got the right hump. Showed me his own idea. Argued it was better than sliced bread and I still owed him a pint. I disagreed, I told him straight off his idea was dead in the water but he wanted to float it out and see if it had legs or something, to be honest I didn’t quite understand what he was on about, I just know it was a bad idea. I don’t want to get involved in an arguement. You lot sort it out:

What is Biker Squid’s idea?

There’s a lot of stuff up on the internet right? Right. And still over 60% of the world has never been online, so they’re missing out.

Can you spot the gap in the market?

I think we should create a magazine about the internet for people that don’t have access to, or have never used the internet.

Why don’t these people use the internet?

I know, it’s mad, in this day and age? Some people can’t relate to computers, find them scary but magazines aren’t scary – everyone can operate a magazine plus you don’t need electricity or a broadband connection to read one.
©Biker Squid

Do we have to vote on whether the idea is good or bad?
No actually, I already took the liberty of advising him to stop being so stupid but he didn’t listen, the silly sod remortgaged his house and went ahead with it anyway. Biker squid published his first issue.

I thought he’d be knocking on my door later tonight wanting to kip on the sofa but no, he surprised us all – the magazine bloody well took off. It’s massive all over the world but especially amongst the village peoples of the rainforest. They gave it the big thumbs up. Apparently the magazine is faster than broadband, slight hitch with playing the video but Biker Squid reckons they can get round that in a few issues.

There’s also a wealth of associated businesses that have sprung up on the back of this printed internet phenomenon – on the high street you got the cafes, in the business parks there’s the ISPs providing the blank pages to create your own presence, then you got the shopping sites – Biker Squid’s rolling in it.

Are you jealous of other people’s success?
No, I’ve still got this idea for sliced bread.

mind clearance offer






If there’s stuff you want to clear out of your head, leave it in the comments box. It’s cheaper than therapy and someone else could make good use of your old Mindstuff.


A lot of people ask me why my blog posts sound so funny. At first I was flattered until they pointed out not funny ha-ha but funny-sounding peculiar – your posts read just like you speak only with better spelling. Bloody cheek! But the question has been asked and so, as a legit. trader I am obliged to reveal all.

For people like me that say what they think, there’s a Plain English filter in the text editing software that puts what I say into proper English. Simple as that, sort of. To tell the truth, the Boi deals with all this electronic media stuff I’m just the brains of the business, voicing the intellectual content.

copyright symbol

Who has the copyright on the copyright symbol?

This software ain’t perfect though, the Boi tells me that it struggles with some of my words and phrases. He tried to explain to me how it works: like a cross between a spell-check and a translator. To be honest, I don’t care how it does it, as long as it works. Mostly it does. One phrase it can’t get the hang of:

What is ‘aat back’?
Some woman asked me, and when I replied: “So much stuff you don’t want to know.” She just looked at me. So I clarified: “It’s the warehouse, ‘aat back’s’ the warehouse.”

“Oh,” she laughed (at me) “you mean ‘out back’.”

“Yes, ‘aat back.”

How do you pronounce something spelt o-u-t anyway? Oot? O-ut? Owt? Aat? Who’s to say she’s right and I’m supposedly in the wrong? It’s the way I speak.

Is it unPC for anyone else to say ‘aat back’?
Absolutely not, the more the merrier I say, but the lawyer – yes, I got a lawyer –  he says I have to copyright the phrase ‘aat back’. Apparently he’s heard kids on the street using it, reckons it’s an infringement of copyright, especially that when pressed, the user of the said words refuses to add acknowledgement of the phrase’s source – i.e. me.

The lawyer said this is all covered by the domain of intellectual copyright. Now I’m not claiming to be an intellectual – I haven’t read enough books to qualify and I still can’t answer anything on University Challenge but the lawyer should know about law as he did read enough books on the subject at college and was actually on University Challenge. (I don’t know how he got on though.)

Anyway, to be honest with you I weren’t too interested in completing all the necessaries – paperwork and stuff – it’s only a piddly little copyright afterall but when the lawyer told me it would earn a few pennies every time it was used, I dug out my pen and got signing. So we now have:

‘aat back’ ®™ ©2012

So feel free, use it as much as you want. It won’t wear out.

We came across some reminders today. I hadn’t seen stuff like this for years, fascinating it was, although the Boi weren’t too interested. I says to him: “Why ain’t you interested, what’s the matter with you?” He just looked at me like I was from Mars, the planet, not the chocolate bar – although that would’ve impressed him more.

Just goes to show, one man’s treasure is another man’s tat – neither one can appreciate the other’s viewpoint. The Boi just thinks I’m a sentimental old git.

What was it like in the good old days?
There weren’t too many of us doing this sort of thing, I started the business from the back of a van when ideas were cheap, I knew my stock was tat –  all style over substance but I was genuine and I made a real go of it. It was the 80s, a time of excess: people were changing their minds on just about everything around then – boom time, I did well. Then the less scrupulous caught on.

Suddenly it was a free-for-all, the market weren’t regulated – we didn’t want it to be, we had a code of conduct already but the cowboys don’t take notice of the rules. You could easily tell a bad operator because they were the ones selling dreams, an easy market, people are more likely to part with their cash in pursuit of a dream than affording the luxury of a golden memory or the challenge of a new idea. Shame.

Well, the dreams didn’t work did they. Course they wouldn’t. Gave everyone a bad name and dragged the market right down. To be honest we’re still paying the price now.

Are there guidelines in place today?
This business is so tightly regulated even a fart couldn’t get through. But having rules won’t stop the cowboys – the law only affects the law-abiding, not these whizz kids you see in their white vans, hard sell too – lots of shouting. The other day some bloke pulls up and tries to offer me some advice out of his van window. I weren’t having any of it. I flew straight back with a bit of received wisdom I was carrying. You should have seen his face – but then he just threatened to punch my lights out.

Can we learn anything from the past?
Well what do you think? You can only learn from experience.

Does anyone listen to you?
Cheeky sod of a question. Look, I never trained as a teacher and if I had’ve done, I would’ve been a teacher. I’m just trying to instill a few tricks of the trade, handing down knowledge. You don’t have to listen but I ain’t going to stop talking.

What’s the difference between the past and today?
About fifty years. There is no difference, it’s just perception. But people are definitely cheekier today, some bloke came in today, nicked some stuff from right under our noses that wouldn’t’ve happened in my day but I said to the Boi: “It’s alright son, we don’t need reminders.”


Posted: April 7, 2012 by Harry Moonbeam in Early days yet...
Tags: , , , , ,

We haven’t had one single customer today.

I’m here, what’s the latest?
Yes, well, I’ve spent some time ‘aat back’, getting me hands dirty – I hate doing that. This should have been a fun day but it was one of the worst times I’ve had in years.

Why so?
Me and The Boi, we opened up this old box marked ‘Pleasant Surprises’ and it weren’t. Instead, it was full of moans. You have not seen anything so rotten in all your days. Oh! putrid it was. And the smell! Well, we couldn’t sell any of it so it turned into a disposal job – easier said than done. Especially after we’d accidentally tipped them over the floor.

'How long do I have to sit here?'
She never knew when to stop!

That’s not the end of the world, surely?
Normally The Boi is good-natured and we’d have a laugh about a situation like this but it was different today – moaning everywhere. You see moans are like that bit of sticky tape that clings to your fingers and you can’t seem to get rid of, except for on someone else – that’s not stopping the problem, it’s merely passing it on. You moan, someone listens, you feel better but the listener now needs to moan to someone else.

Is that why I’m here, because there’s been no one else to moan to?
Well no, there was a couple in earlier. I told them to watch where they were treading on account of the moan spillage but they didn’t listen. Stepped right in it and then started complaining about how expensive everything was.

How do your prices compare?
We’re the best, of course. The thing is, the public has fallen in love with cheap goods but when cheap goods break down really quickly, what does everyone say?
“They don’t make things like they used to.”

Doesn’t the phrase: “You get what you pay for” mean anything?

This moaning has affected you badly, isn’t it time to ‘cheer up’…
Sometimes I almost lose the will, you know what I mean?

Oh come on, surely it can’t be all that bad?
No, you’re right, we have had a few people in, but they’ve all been tourists – no paying customers. I mean, how would you like it if I came round your house, wandered about a bit, looked through all your stuff, asked some stupid questions and then just left?

You’re moaning again, this is a shop and isn’t that called browsing?
No, browsing is what people do on the internet, not in real life. No one shops for real these days, it’s all e-this and e-that, electronic commerce.

Shouldn’t you ‘get-with-the-times’?
Let’s just say I prefer to deal with people face-to-face and not through an interface. Shopping online – eCommerce – it’s all a big con anyway, The Boy got scammed the other week, sent off for an ewok.

And it didn’t arrive?
No, he got sent some Chinese frying pan.

Groan!! I should have seen that coming. Are you happy now?
Yes, I suppose.

award,Winning this award is not something I’d normally boast about but the fact is we got it and no one else did. (…) I’m nearly speechless.

So now we’re in business: we’re award-winning, the shop’s open and the blog is live – I know that to be true because we’re getting the comments in, mainly stupid ones admittedly but at least people are talking to us now.

Do you only deal in ideas?
This is by far the most popular query, so I can’t have been very clear about the nature of the business. Yes we are one of the top purveyors of ideas but we don’t stop there: our range also covers memories, along with thoughts, the ever-popular dreams and the other usual mind stuff.

If you still haven’t got the foggiest idea, come down to the shop and get fitted up – we’re doing a two-for-one special at the moment. All size IQs catered for.

How do you keep all your stuff?
This is a good question because a lot of people think you can store memories and the like in a jar. No, no, no, I tell ‘em, that’s a common mistake the novice makes. I’m not saying that memories don’t store in a jar, they do and very nicely but a jar ain’t safe, glass breaks.

You drop a glass jar and your contents is all over the floor and most likely in about as good a shape as the shattered glass – dustpan and brush job – except now you’ve got the extra problem of ethical disposal to consider, you can’t just go throwing everything in the bin and hoping the council will deal with it. No, don’t use glass. Use plastic boxes.

Yes, we use plastic boxes because they don’t break if you drop ‘em; they’re waterproof and weatherproof; they store nice on the shelves and you can label ‘em. You can even bury them – they keep underground for years.

Where do get your stock?
Wholesale contacts – strictly trade only I’m afraid. But through our newly offered ‘Mind Clearance’ service, we are getting a few more local suppliers which I need to have a word with you about…

I had the same bags left overnight by the front doors problem again: mess everywhere, only this time it weren’t foxes – a couple of ‘up-against-the-deadline’ “creatives” from a well-known ad agency were rummaging about furiously. Desperate they were, clinging to any old idea. Course they just ran off and left me to clear up again.

So, lads, you know who you are. We’re all trying to make a living round here – stealing ain’t clever, don’t take credit for someone else’s idea.

If there’s stuff you want to clear out of your head, leave it in the comments box. It’s cheaper than therapy and someone else could make good use of your old Mindstuff.