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Friday, April 30, 2004

I went to Manningtree this afternoon, and naturally found myself in the town's one and only charity shop, where I decided to be overly optimistic and buy a pair of shorts. Whilst chatting away at length to the two old ladies behind the counter (women over 65 are my biggest fans), one of them suddenly lowered her voice and said...

"Do you watch videos?"

I replied that I did, only for her to continue with...

"We've got some 18-certificate videos which we're not allowed to sell. Would you be interested?"

At this point alarm bells were going off in my mind at the realisation that I was about to become the first person in Britain ever to be offered under-the-counter hardcore illegal porn by a couple of old dears in a charity shop.

But I played along with a non-committal "Um..." while one lady went out the back and returned with eight videos, placing them on the counter with the words:

"We don't have a licence to sell this sort of stuff."

I almost didn't dare look. I'm quite sensitive. But fortunately they turned out to be perfectly legitimate 18-certificate films like 'Fargo' and 'Misery'. The ladies informed me they have to throw out videos like this, because they're not allowed to sell them or even pass them on to someone else. They were practically begging me to take them for free.

Embarrassingly I had to admit to already owning four of the eight videos, and couldn't bring myself to accept something for free from a charity shop, so we compromised, and I agreed to take 'Big Brother Uncut' off their hands in return for a 50p donation. A goodwill gesture which went down so well with the old ladies, that I'm expecting a plaque in my honour before the week's out.

But since when have Sue Ryder shops not been allowed to sell 18-certificate films, that's what I'd like to know. It's an outrage. But still, I look nice in my shorts.


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