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Blogday at Charity Shop Tourism

I’ve just noticed that Charity Shop Tourism is celebrating its first blogday this week. To celebrate, I’ve posted a top ten of the best charity shops I’ve visited this year, and tomorrow I’ll do a top ten of the best towns I’ve been to: that covers the Charity Shop and the Tourism bit, then. Do read, stop by and say hello, add your own recommendations and the like.

Charity Shop Tourism: Top Ten Charity Shops Of The Year


“just take a look at this garbage from the above article”

The New Statesman commenced a new blog on Monday, the succintly-named God Blog. In its introductory remarks, Sholto Byrnes puts forward a concept which isn’t about whether or not religion is right, which one’s best, who’s to blame; but rather dealing with the fact that religion is, and blogging about this. I like this as a concept: in a topic where only the most histrionic voices are heard, it’s nice for some reasoned debate to be heard.

But it immediately shows up the blog (at least the national/international press style blog) as a flawed format because no sooner does Brynes finish a fairly reasonable abstract, then the commenters join in and immediately make it what they want to be. Nobody who joins in a debate is in the middle ground on the internet: it’s all dramatic anonymous screechers arguing with God, Dawkins or David Hume, for some reason, and invariably invoking Godwin’s Law. It would be nice for once for the meek centrists to post their nice thoughts, but that’s not the way it goes.

And so, a tirade of angry types of which Speak You’re Branes would be proud. I don’t tend to join in these debates: firstly, who cares what another blogger says? If you know me, maybe you’ll know where I stand; if you don’t why would you be interested? I’m not in any sort of position to make educated comments for or against either side, so I’ll just stick to what I know, minding my own business.

Personal blogs are different: those like diamondgeezer, or kottke, or I Like, or whatever. These add personality and depth to online opinion. But when you’re supposed to be an opinion maker, for example writing for the Staggers, it’s not about feedback or user participation, it always ends up shrill and annoying. Stick with columns and be happy.

Turn and Facebook the strange

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook: always have, always will. Like Twitter, at the first I couldn’t see the point: you just upload a picture of yourself and type in your favourite books, and bob’s your uncle. Then you just sit there and look at it a bit. It starts off very narcissistic, just to gawp at yourself and wait for friends to come a knocking, even compared to MySpace which is really a little website of ones very own.

Then phase 2 is where your friends find you, and you find them, and the novelty is all very exciting, and you post some photos and look! tag your friends, and you’re tagged and so on. It’s all nice, you  have a small but select circle of internet friends and you have fun talking to each other – like email, but public.

Then the next phase is where the creepiness starts and a whole swaggle of horrible people from your past crawl out of the woodwork by scanning your schools and work, etc. Then Facebook add applications which enable you to judge what kind of cushion you are, or which X-man you’d most like to snog.

Finally you’re at the stage where you’ve gone back to the heady narcissism of the early days. Why comment on one photo of someone when you can judge a hundred, and even better judge them by other people’s photos of them, and the number of them. It’s not just the friend count that’s important these days, it’s the quality of interaction: you’re no-one unless you can demonstrate your interaction with your friends in a real, meaningful, provable way – it’s empirical social judgement at its peak.

This doesn’t suit me. I’m not antisocial, or particularly misanthropic, or socially retarded, or even very shy. I’m just happy with either my own company or that of one other, and even that doesn’t involve anything worth photographing, or commenting on in meta fashion. My life would make a deeply uninteresting memoir: “stayed in again tonight: read a book, blogged, watched The Wire.” But I don’t care: I like it. So though I keep coming back to you, Facebook, I don’t want you to judge me; I want to enjoy you for what you are, a very limited, frothy, silly little thing with no real substance, and not be carried away by your demands for my time and energy and devotion. Alright?

News way to waste my time

This time by counting things. I’m rapidly turning into Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets. I’d need fresh bars of soap stacked in the bathroom if I ever got round to washing. So, if you want to find out how much water I’ve been drinking lately, or how many charity shops I’ve visited since starting to count, Daytum is your place. 

At the moment it’s in private beta, which means you have to put your name on a waiting list for an invite. I did and it came through in a couple of days. It’s not perfect and it has a bit of a clunky interface if you ask me, but it’s purdy, at the least.

I can see my house from here




So: Google Maps is another level more exciting today, with the addition of extremely comprehensive imagery for London, as well as numerous other parts of the country. So, naturally I’ve spent my entire day so far avoiding work and playing with maps. And thus I present, the life of ohsimone, presented in Google Street View.


Noel Park

I live in “a very special place,” Noel Park in Wood Green. Here’s me walking home from the tube: hello.

Some other local features:

Places I’ve lived previously:

Local landmarks

Places I’ve Been

Where I’ve been around the world

Where I’m going

“Is this too complicated? Switch to Basic View”


Forum, Pula, from my own photostream

Forum, Pula, from my own photostream

I had a massive hike in visits to Charity Shop Tourism yesterday, and following the link I came across the reason why: a forum post on an Amazon sellers forum. Because these are sellers, I think the idea was that it was posted as maybe a useful resource for people who like to scour charity shops for things to sell – not really why I do it, but an interesting angle nonetheless, one I might pursue in the future (I actually have a bucketload of stuff to sell off, I just haven’t found the time to do it yet).


If you write on the internet, you have to be a little thick-skinned, I suppose. After a first reply about how the blog seemed to be about designer clothes (?!), affairs rapidly descend into some sort of reverse class snobbery debate, in which I was variously described as naive, middle-class, trendy, and worst of all, not an ordinary bloke. If I recall correctly, this is the first time that I’ve been slated directly (although off in a random forum, not that it’s much better for me to respond in kind, in private), so I don’t really take it personally, it’s just interesting.

I think the denizens of this forum were expecting something different. I blog about charity shops because that’s what I like doing – I like to go to a new town and have a look around, get a cup of coffee, see what’s there, visit the charity shops. The tourism part is just as important as the charity shops, but it’s all part of what makes a day out for me. I don’t get why it would be worth a class, financial, or geographical snobbery which presumes to know about me because of what I write in a very niche blog. 

I suppose in writing a response, I’m revealing myself to be a touch offended. Maybe so. I’m withholding the impassioned response to the forum at large, at least. I’m not going to change what I enjoy, or how I write, for the benefit of a handful of internet weirdos, but it’s an interesting commentary on life, don’t you think? Why respond at all when something comes up that you don’t like? Just leave it alone – in life in general I find this to be a wise maxim, and particularly on the world wide interweb.

It’s hard to be a saint in the city

I’ve gone on a bit before about school’s blocking access to certain sites, and while I’m grateful that it’s not really the case for me, I still don’t have the ability to install things. Not so bad, of course, and I quite understand it: as my manager put it so succintly recently, the majority of people are not that intelligent. The ire of a few techheads is little to deal with compared with the massive scale disasters that could occur if you let someone retarded download what they want.

What this does mean however, is that if I want to install something new (today, for example, Ginipic) I can’t. That is, until I have to call IT Support to get something fixed and they give me temporary Administrator (emphasise the OR) Powers. Then I can go nuts and install what I want.

The upshot of this lengthy preamble is that I now have TweetDeck (not as productivity-destructive as I’d imagined) and the epic win of Spotify. Using this system I’ve ended up listening to exciting things again in the last few days, after falling a bit out of love with music for a time. It remains to be seen if my new music interests ever rekindle: we’ll see.

So today, I’ve been mainlining The Boss, and yesterday was all about Olde U2, controversially. It’s such a great way to discover those things that you always heard about, but were never motivated to buy. I hearts it extraordinarily.