Tuesday, January 31, 2006

More Media!

This morning the Compendium was featured on BBC Radio London's Breakfast Show with Jono Coleman and JoAnne Good. Ben came round in the radio car (i.e. a big estate with an enormous aerial that rises through the roof) to chat about the collection and the experiment this morning, although the interview wasn't broadcast until later on in the show.

Unfortunately for me, this meant I actually ended up missing it because I was at work. Doh!

As well as this spot on the radio I've also seen last week's interview with Kelly Armstrong at the Wimbledon News crop up in a couple of other places. It's so far appeared in the freely distributed Mitcham and Morden Guardian, and the Wimbledon Guardian under slightly different guises. For some reason, The St. Albans Observer also featured the story...despite the fact I live on the other side of London!

It also appeared, in slightly edited form, on This Is Local London - a website dedicated to (obviously) local stories in the captial.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Introduction to The Shopping List Experiment


Many thanks to those of you who have been in touch since my appearance on Richard Hammond's 5 O'Clock Show. I had a fantastic time doing the show and Richard, Mel and the production team were fantastically friendly and welcoming to this "extraordinary man who collects shopping lists".

Since doing the show I've had many people contact me through both list comments and email to ask more about The Shopping List Experiment. While I get myself ready to update the site with my full shenanigans, I thought I'd upload an edit I've done of the video diary I kept during the two-week long Experiment to give you an introduction to what the Experiment was all about.

Just so you know, it's a Windows Media File and is just under 2.5MB in size. Ready to watch it? Well then...just hit play, and wait for it to buffer (about 10 seconds on a broadband connection).

(p.s. the music is The Clash's "Lost In The Supermarket" and "Mum's Gone To Iceland" by Bennet).

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Compendium Hits the TV!

Hello all,

Regular visitors may wonder why the Compendium has not been updated in the past few weeks. Well, it's not because I've been stalking the Celebrity Big Brother House but rather that I've been working on a very secret, but very exciting, Shopping List Experiment.

I can't say too much at the moment, but can reveal that it's all to do with abandoned shopping lists (predictably) and what I eat.

All will be revealed live on today's (Wednesday 25th January) "Richard Hammond's 5 O'Clock Show" on ITV1. Tune in from 5pm to find out more!

A busy day!

I've just got back from doing a very fun interview on Shane O'Connor's mid-morning show on Radio Derby where I spoke about the Compendium and plugged the TV show I'm on this afternoon. The surreal thing about it was that while Shane was in his studio in Derby, I was sat in a tiny little room in Broadcasting House in London - yet it sounded like we were in the same room. Ah, the wonders of technology, eh?

In addition to touting my wares on the radio this morning I also made it onto the front page of the Wimbledon News, my local paper! And all this before I've even had time for my breakfast of pancakes and strawberry syrup. The caption under the photo asks whether "Collector Scott Allsop" is "Off his trolley?" That's genius.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

263 - Mexican Tonight?

What if the answer is "yes"?

Having gone to the effort of writing a list for various food items, it really surprises me that this shopper is tempted to discard it in favour of asking "Mexican tonight??" That they clearly need to use a list to remember such basics as "2 x Bread" and "Milk" suggests that the shopper doesn't stand much chance of getting the correct ingredients to make "Mexican tonight??" without a prompt.

However, perhaps the list has been written FOR a shopper, not BY the shopper. In this case, the list may be the items noted by someone left at home, who has also suggested to the shopper that they could get "Mexican tonight??"

I'm also a bit confused by the indentation for "Ham", "pizza" and "Mince" under "Ravioli". Indentation usually suggests the inclusion of itmes that fit under a subheading, or are related to the left-aligned item above. On this list, though, this isn't the case.

My mind boggles.

262 - Pencil and Pen

The erratic noting of items (see how "clear candle bulb" takes up the width of the paper, but "Box for champagne" is squeezed into the top right corner) suggests that this list has been created as an when items have been required in the home. The is theory is supported by the various writing implements used - blue biro, black biro and even pencil.

My favourite item on this list is "nice ham". The vagueness of this, combined with the erratic nature of the list, reveals someone who has begun the new year with a distinctly confused bump.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

261 - Just the Two?

"eggs. x 2." What is this strange code? One would think that this shopper means to only buy 2 eggs, but such a feat is impossible on our modern supermarkets. Nay, eggs come in a minumum of a half-dozen, right up to batches of 36. And so, I assume the shopper requires 2 half dozen boxes of eggs. I doubt anyone could get through 72 of them.

The apperance of "bubble bath." halfways down the list is quite funny. Its placement after "g almonds." makes it seem like some kind of high class bathtime ritual, but I suspect the shopper simply remembered, "aaah, I need bubble bath!" while considering the ingredients for marzipan, or whatever they were getting the ground almonds for.

"Walkers", I presume, are crisps. I'm quite sure that even my local (but enormous) Tesco has not developed an in-store range of ramblers just yet.

260 - Chips, and More Chips

What beautiful handwriting. Really, I mean it. Mine looks like an inebriated spider has stumbled across the page, but this shopper has lovely handwriting. What they don't have, though is any shame.

The list begins reasonably sanely, as a combination of necessary homewares, and then moving onto food for the cupboard. It all goes wrong after "chips" though. "ketchup" is fair enough: chips and nice with ketchup. But what is with "chips vinegar"?

There could be three possible explanations. Firstly, the shopper wishes to buy chips specifically to eat with vinegar. Second, they want vinegar that is specifically to eat with chips. The third option is that they want chips pre-flavoured with vinegar. If the list arrangement is anything to go by, I reckon it must be option three...but I've never known of chips that are pre-flavoured with vinegar.

The problem is that the shopper has maintained a system of one-item-per-line down the whole of the list, even going so far as to separate "chips" from "ketchup". "Chips vinegar" MUST be a single item. Wow!

Monday, January 02, 2006

259 - Starting Badly

Compared to the first shop by the owner of list 258, this shopper is starting 2006 badly. I must admit that our first shop today wasn't the best example of healthy eating (bread, naan bread and carrots were the constituent parts, but we did eye up a big chocolate cake for a few minutes before deciding that our drawer of chocolates was more than enough to keep us going).

This shopper, though is clearly wanting to put on a bit of weight this year. In fact, the potentially healthiest thing on here is "cocoa", which while not strictly fattening in itself can be lethal when given to...well...me to mix with full cream milk, plenty of sugar, and sit and get a chocolately moustache. Mmmmm.

I think I'm going to have to raid that chocolate drawer...

258 - New Year Cleaning

The first list of 2006 is absolutely perfect. Just as we begin to think about tidying our houses after the onslaught of the holiday period, this shopper is one step ahead and has actually bought their cleaning wares. "J Cloths", "Disposable cloths" and even a pair of "Rubber Gloves" are there, but not before they've had a strong cup of "Filter Coffee" to ensure they can face the awful mess.

Perhaps they've made a New Year's resolution to keep their house clean...and then decided that a great way to begin was to get a bunch of flowers to make the place smell nice as well? If you look carefully, "Flowers" are in a slightly different coloured pen, proving that they were an after-thought.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Greetings, listophilists, and happy 2006! The Christmas season has gone and, I must admit, was a bit disappointing for this list collector. I expected there to be hundreds of the little things around but, despite visiting the supermarket (or at least the supermarket car park) a number of times over the break I found very few.

My theory for this is twofold. Firstly, there were considerably more trolley blokes on duty than normal, and so rather than trolleys beign spewed all over the car park as normal, they were stacked in neat rows from which it is almost impossible to retrieve lists, even if you can see them.

Secondly, I think people are a bit more protective over lists that they have spent considerable amounts of time creating.

But now the New Year is upon us I'm hoping that list quantities will soon return to normal and I'll be able to hit the 300-mark before the site's first birthday in April. Here's hoping...

And so, without further ado, onto the lists!