Tuesday, 31 March 2009


Although the French throw revolutions like confetti the May '68 riots really were something else. 800,000 students, teachers and workers marched through the French capital demanding the fall of government under Charles de Gaulle and protesting at Police brutality during the riots.
Pictured above are two demonstrators who were among the last defenders of the barricades outside the Jardin du Luxembourg. Cracking maria! Cracking macs! Cracking pins! An arrest has never looked so good. Click the link for more pics of the riots.

Friday, 27 March 2009


Ask any Welsh person and they'll tell you that their Mother or Grandmother makes the best Welsh Cakes. Unfortunately they don't, my Gran did. Having not recorded her recipe before she passed away I had to cobble it together from other family members. The result, a magnificent mouthful full of memories! Not quite the standard of my Gran's but an admiral effort that definitely merit being sold on the van. In addition I shall be doing some Teisen Lap and some Patagonian Black Welsh cake called Torta Negra Galesa.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009


Following on from the last post - it seems that the H van wasn't just used in the Tour de France as a 'broom waggon' but also as company promotional vehicles. Taking advantage of the millions of roadside spectators many companies used the race as a massive rolling advertising carnival to generate public awareness. With them seemingly giving the coach builders 'carte blanche' to achieve advertising thaumaturgy the results are quite surreal if not bizarre. Rolled out only for the two week window the race is on, it's surprising that any of these vehicles have survived. But Bonhams‘ auction at RĂ©tromobile in February suggests that at least some of them hang around, because they sold seven of them from the late Fifties and early Sixties. Although without the livery the H van pictured above and below is believed to be the work of coachbuilders Le Bastard (no relation to Alan). Check the Merc headlights!

Friday, 13 March 2009


One of the Rapha boys swung by the van a few weeks back and over a coffee explained that they have an H van which they not only sell/display their line of cycling clothing and accessories from but also use as an official team 'broom waggon'. This is the affectionate name for the vehicle that follows a cycle road race picking up stragglers (or sweeping them up) who are unable to make it to the finish within the time permitted. In the Tour De France the vehicle used was traditionally a Citroen H Van. The expression broom waggon is a translation of the French, voiture balai, and it was seen first at the Tour de France 1910. The broom waggon of the Tour de France did indeed once carry a broom fixed above the driver's cab - except in the years that it was sponsored by a vacuum-cleaner company.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009


Although not until August Bank Holiday weekend (28th-31st) I'm particularly looking forward to trading at this festival. They've just announced that Grace Jones will be headlining but the rest of the line up also looks spot on! Particular resonance for me will be Grandmaster Flash. 'White Lines' is one of only two tracks that I've ever learned the words to ('Baggy Trousers' being the other). Will also be nice to see the Furries again. Last time I saw them live was in the Afan Lido, Port Talbot in 2005. After a grand stage entrance on a golf cart to the A-Team soundtrack, they proceeded with a mellifluous concert that culminated in the anthemic 'Don't Give A F*%k that sent the 3000 seater arena into madness! Which leads me nicely to the last artist that I'll be dusting off the weejuns for, Prince Buster. One of the original ska, rock steady pioneers Prince Buster will no doubt get all the old rude boys skanking in their birkenstocks.


A few years back I used to do a clothing label and was invited to do the TBC show in New York. Time out from the show I managed to have a look about the city. Aside from the general buzz (the food, the shops, the bars etc) for me, what set it aside as a city were the buildings and architecture. I could have quite happily walked about staring skyward the whole time. But what often made these buildings so noteworthy were the fading adverts that still clung to them. So it was which much beatitude that I ran across phototographer Frank H. Jump's Fading Ad blog. Flicking through the images and I came across this one of an old Citroen garage in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Over the years he has taken hundreds of photos of ads many of which have now been covered up, vandalised or destroyed. Heinous really because in my opinion these ads make NYC, NYC!

Monday, 9 March 2009


Searching for some parts for the van and I came across a wicked little French website that is dedicated to the H van. Almost Colette-like with its animated based design the website not only has a wide variety of vans for sale but it has an amazing gallery of assorted pictures. I found this one in the Les photos d'epoque. I don't know about you but I always thought Spar was British. But no, apparently it's Dutch. 'De Spar': 'Door Eendrachtig Samenwerken Profiteren Allen Regelmatig' which translates into 'We all benefit from joint cooperation'....and I'll have ten Bensons as well please!

Thursday, 5 March 2009


Came across this the other day. It seems that beautiful vehicles were not the only thing that Citroen excelled at designing. Check the cover designs for these vintage car brochures. They're all good but these ones from the seventies are tres sweet!


Sunday 29th March will once again see me trading at the Midcentury Modern Show. Set in the light and bright 60’s concrete and glass Christison-designed refectory and the South Cloisters at Dulwich College, Midcentury is fast establishing itself as the number one destination for sourcing the antiques of the future without the huge retail mark-up.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


Nice bit of press recently. Okay, it was done back in Novemenber but I've never been one to shy away from a modicum of belated pomp. After a phonecall to them to try and generate a bit of exposure it turned out the relevant contact had seen the van and sampled one of fine cappuccinos the day before. To see the whole article.


Just been confirmed that I will be trading at this years Lovebox weekender. Rolling deep in my Michelins with the Sourced Market alliance, I will be part of an ensemble of the finest vendors taken from the likes of Borough Market.
More events/festivals will be posted when confirmed.


Sidle past the DVD sellers avoiding the glare of the Hi-Vis vests and every Sunday you'll find me on Cheshire St, E2. Quite often throughout the day people will ask if they can take a picture of the van but it came as complete surprise when an old friend emailed to say that there was small gallery of pics on Flickr. Having had a look through them I thought this one summed up the market nicely.