Saturday, 13 February 2010

A world where no-one had ever heard of Laurel and Hardy

Feast your eyes on this splendid old Stan Laurel money box. Yes, I know it's a bit damaged and it's been glued back together at some point, but it's still a fine item, is it not? I reckon it's 1950s, and it has an Italian look about it to my eyes - Stanlio - what do you think? I've cleaned it up a bit, but didn't want to rub it too hard - for fear that the paint might come off.

I picked this up at a car boot sale. When I saw it on the stall - standing proud and incongruous in the middle of a grimy wallpaper pasting table otherwise adorned with what seemed to the randomly scattered contents of a kitchen dustbin - I was momentarily fearful that the vendor would ask a high price for this, the only thing there that he could possibly hope to sell in a million years.

Feigning careless disinterest I stepped forward.

"How much is the money box?"

"Is fifty."

I eagerly handed over my 50p.

"You want another? I got another. Just like this. Fifty."

Enthusiastic in the hope that further large sums of money might be exchanged, the man proceeded to rummage among some dirty pieces of screwed up paper under the table. Did he have Olio down there? Sadly not: he emerged with some kind of small ornament shaped like an owl.

Smiling and nodding, I noted that it was indeed a fine piece, and undeniably the ideal complement to the item which I had already acquired, but ultimately declined to make the purchase. This seemed to puzzle him somewhat. I made my excuses and left.

As I scudded away chuckling idiotically over my prize, an important and troubling thought suddenly occurred to me: that bloke has no idea that this money box is supposed to look like the famous comedian Stan fact, he has never heard of Laurel and Hardy at all.

Which makes you think, doesn't it? On the one hand, it's a sad, sad world where people don't know who Laurel and Hardy are; on the other, it's not such an unhappy one if it means that, even in these post-Bargain Hunt times, nerds like me can snap up delightful grimy old Stan Laurel money boxes for 50p. I guess it's all part of the great design.

We're going now! Good-bye!

You will find Stanlio in THE HOUSE OF COBWEBS.


  1. Your grinning chum Stanlio seems to have found a home in your bathroom, alongside a parade of miniature horses... is there a greater meaning to this?

  2. Greetings, Jerry. I thank you for your comment. You are most observant. However, your observations re-emphasise the disparity between appearances and reality. They are, in fact, miniature bulls, carefully pulled off of wine bottles, and they parade proudly along the kitchen window-ledge. Who knows why?

  3. They are... Spanish bulls? In a bathroom? With snow on the lawn outside? Was this photo taken in Barcelona during a particularly cold January?

  4. No, not the bathroom...It's actually the kitchen...where else would you display your small plastic bull collection? Incidentally, isn't it strange that I feel compelled to clear this up at 00:18?

  5. Glad you could clear that up - it had been troubling me. Of course, I think Spanish bulls in a kitchen are sublime, but I'm now wondering what kitsch plastic mammals you have in your bathroom. I do hope the House of Cobwebs will open that door...

  6. Can I have that money box please?

  7. Don't let her have it! I know for a fact that she doesn't even like Laurel & Hardy. I'll look after it for you.
    Actually, I reckon that as time goes on you'll regret not getting that owl as well.

    I thought I was pretty well travelled in the world of supermarket vino: what brand comes with free miniature bulls? I want a row of them in my kitchen too.

  8. You may be right. In fact, I seem to recall my dear friend Miss Putti once telling me that Laurel and Hardy was unfunny "boys' stuff" apart from one isolated moment she recalled when "I laughed because the fat one got dragged across the road by a dog".

    However, I will not be passing the aforementioned artefact to you for safe-keeping, either: I suspect that you possess more than enough film-related ephemera to be going on with, young man.

    Intriguingly, discussions with my various nerd friends have revealed that there seems to be more interest in the owl ornament from under the table than there is in Stanlio or Olio. But I can assure the legion of interested parties that the owl was neither a money box, nor a charming piece of vintage bric a brac - it was a beastly pink 1980s item, in gold and pink moulded plastic.

    Mr. Coniam, the brand of wine you require is EL TORO BULL'S BLOOD. I believe it may still be available, but I haven't stumped up for a bottle for a few months now. Intriguingly, there are small variations between the junior bulls - they are not all the same. The little fellas hang on tiny striped ribbons on the side of the bottle. These tiny cloth-strips were surplus to my kitchen display requirements, so I threw them away, but I suppose that they could be used as medal-ribbons for Action Men, if you happened to have a collection of those.

  9. Sorry, don't have an Action Man collection anymore - though I did, AND I retained the one piece of Star Wars memorabilia that you did, from an extensive youthful collection... I can still smell that rigid bubble-gum...
    and okay, you're not sharp enough to spot the magnificence of Night Train to Murder...
    but, thing is -
    I found an old Creative Blogger Award at the back of a cupboard and thought of you.
    The best thing is probably to ignore it.
    But if you're morbidly curious, here's the cupboard: