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“I’m getting déjà vu, I saw you in the last one!” Once again we were following the same charity shop route as a host of fellow browsers, with similar hopeful faces popping up in shop after shop, as the gentleman above observed. Sometimes charity shopping really does feel like déjà vu, sleepwalking through emporia of errors and regret, drowning in a hiccup of pastel viscose. More Atmosphere (Primark’s label) than a Joy Division best of and a Russ Abbot comeback gig combined.

Hallowed be thy name

Hallowed be thy name

“Deeds not words” is what’s written on Emily Davison’s gravestone. She was the suffragette who worked as a teacher in Worthing and died under the hooves of George V’s horse at Epsom. We pad out our hollow hearts with tat and trivia and aesthetic effluvia and continue on our rounds. Oh look – an “Every Loser Wins” photo love story from Blue Jeans circa 1986! Budge over, matey, I saw it first!

closed for christmas

closed for christmas

Worthing apparently has 14 charity shops and today’s quest was to find them all, this time accompanied by another friend of the Lost Prom, Dave. In the end, we found 12. But maybe we’re getting jaded by the thrifting action, Tamsin is now looking such a fixture of the shops that a middle-aged lady started asking her for advice on what to wear to her daughter’s wedding – Tamsin counselled against lime green.

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Connaught Corner House

In times like these, you need a classic seaside café, and blimey, there’s a beauty in Worthing – Connaught Corner House Restaurant. A glorious mid-century survival, all padded red leather banquettes, green faux marble walls, Tiffany lamps and neon trim. The waitress looked like Billie Whitelaw, the menu included liver and bacon with mash, the tea came on individual silver trays, and to top it all, it was licenced. We guzzled Welsh rarebits and banana milkshake, debated the difference between a trilby and a fedora and pretended we were in Amelie or Vertigo or other films with red and green colour schemes.

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After that, Worthing Pier felt like a whole different mood – peaceful, creamy and domestic, it’s like a sleepy cat – all art deco curves and purring satisfaction. The amusement arcade was dotted with surreal mottos like ‘No fish can’t swim’ and ‘A pig bought on credit is forever grunting’. Tucked right at the back was a flea-bitten mechanical monkey band that played ‘Last Train to Clarksville’ for 10p. For some reason nearly everybody on the pier seemed to be in a wheelchair. But in fact demographics show that Worthing’s elderly population has decreased in recent years, while there’s a boom in the numbers of 25-45 year olds here. No-one can afford to live in Brighton anymore so towns like Worthing and Eastbourne are gradually being colonized. I just hope Worthing doesn’t completely lose its innocence – there is nowhere like the Connaught Corner House remaining in style-obsessed Brighton.

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We promenaded along the front and heard some kids shout “Emo!” We spent some time admiring an interesting 1960s car park. Nhung went into a shop called Nubian World of Hair to enquire about extensions, and was advised to buy something called ‘Horsetail’ to make her hair grow. We found a good second hand bookshop called Badger Books, looked at the pictures of unwanted puppies and kittens in the animal shelter shops – picking our favourites, and watched people skating at the open air ice rink for a bit. Then we went back to the Connaught Corner House and had steamed puddings and custard and more tea. Sometimes tat and trivia and aesthetic effluvia are the only things that keep us going.

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Lost
One of Tamsin’s red hoop earrings
Remaining 2 charity shops
Chloe’s Antiques – intriguing looking shop full of Victorian nighties that was closed by the time we reached it
Youthful ideals of progress and revolution

the back way

the back way

Found
Tie with pictures of unicorns
7 records (ranging from Hans Christian Anderson stories to German trance)
‘Game of Life’ 1980s board game
‘Every Loser Wins’ Blue Jeans photo love story
Pair of khaki wellies
Red and yellow tulip print scarf
Polka dot headband
10 Agatha Christie novels
8 more assorted books (ranging from Just William to a guide to Art Deco)
Long brown check tweed skirt
Hair advice

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