Wednesday 1 February 2012

Dangerous times in east London's Benelux magazine collecting community

Did you know that the first ever edition of Private Eye magazine is worth £1 million? It is also small, the size of a Mr. Men book. However, when money like that is involved, you know that magazine collecting Dutch gangsters won't be far behind.

My source of information was a former Belgian track athlete, whose family had emigrated from the Belgian Congo in the 1950s. He was in Whitechapel in hot pursuit of the magazine, which he was planning to acquire from the less financially-aware and then sell at auction. However, he was not that familiar with the mean streets of London's east end. This is where I come in.

Thanks to my intimate knowledge of the Jack the Ripper case, I was the ideal candidate. Especially seeing as I never do any bloody work and therefore wasn't busy. We tracked down the volume in a small shop (I am not sure where exactly, in reality I don't know London from the arse end of a donkey) but that was where our trouble started, as well-organised Dutch gangsters and magazine enthusiasts descended upon us on high-performance motorcycles. They knew exactly what they were looking for.

Fortunately, perhaps the last remaining broadsheet copy of The Independent was lying discarded on the pavement, principally because London is a filthy hole that needs cleaning (vote Ken Livingstone, folks). Concealing the valuable magazine within the newspaper I was able to saunter away unsuspected.

We crossed the river and went to my Belgian contact's riverside flat in Thamesmead. It was a strange issue of Private Eye. Although smaller format, it retained much of the modern day structure: political journalism followed by more satirical pieces. However, vast swathes of the back of the issue were dedicated to a multiple page Garfield comic strip adventure set at the Battle of Rourke's Drift. Luckily for me, my decisive action was rewarded by my Belgian partner, who agreed that without my quick thinking the magazine would have been lost to the Dutch - many of whom were trying to phone us to pinpoint our location - and agreed I should receive 75% of the proceeds from selling the magazine at auction.

The risk, of course, was that we would again have to head out onto the streets away from the safety of our hideout to get the sales process in motion. Good fortune struck again, however, and I woke up before I had to go through any of that. Although my pillow was gone.


Betsy said...

The other night, I dreamed 5olly got fleas.

dotmund said...

This is my favourite ever blog comment. I will never not find this funny.

5olly said...

For the whole of this week I have been dreaming about vegetables. Monday night was beetroot and last night was potatoes. My name was Prince Edward and I had grown the best potatoes in the land! The dream involved me escaping England to France because no one agreed with me about my potato revolution. The French however also disagreed with me as well so I escaped France and went to the the Netherlands. There I raised an army and invaded England to become King Edward and name the potato after myself. When I woke up, my pillow had gone.


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