Preview: The Art Car Boot Fair on Brick Lane – May 27 2012

The end of May will see the return of the Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair to Brick Lane’s Truman Brewery.

The fair, which costs a bargainous £3 to get in, will see a car boots brimming with arty deals, including works especially commissioned for the event.

Organisers promise works by more than 70 international artists, including Sir Peter Blake, Mat Collishaw, Polly Morgan, Tracey Emin’s Emin International, Keith Tyson, Chantal Joffe, Jessica Albarn and Billy Childish.

There’s also a handbag disco – which sounds absolutely amazing on its own – but you could also come away from the dancefloor with an exclusive designer or celebrity handbag. When the music stops, you grab a cotton bag, and it’s a mystery which bag you’ll find inside! Bags have been donated by celebrities and designers including models Sophie Dahl, Jasmine Guinness, Liberty Ross, Daisy Lowe and designers Lulu Guinness, Balenciaga, Barbara Hulanacki, with many more donors to be announced soon.

Last year, artist Tracey Emin, Blur front man Damon Albarn, and designer Pam Hogg were spotted at the event in what must have been the East End’s glitziest car park.

Best of all, you can indulge your arty side and enjoy a dance while raising money for a good cause. All the proceeds go to the Just for Kids Law charity, which gives legal help to young people in difficulty.

The Art Car Boot Fair

£3, 12-6pm, Sunday May 27 2012

Brick Lane Yard, London, E1

Helen Lawson


Bernie Ecclestone goes bargain-hunting with new fiancée

So it turns out Bernie Ecclestone is a part time bargain hunter…

He may be a billionaire but, according to this article in the Daily Mail, the 81-year-old Formula One magnate and his 32-year-old fiancée, Fabiana Flosi, were “spotted bargain-hunting at the Lots Road house clearance auctions in Fulham just recently.”

Flosi may have given up her job with Hungarian business man Rohonyi Tamas after meeting Ecclestone ­but it’s unlikely the couple are having money problems. In fact, Lots Road Auctions isn’t exactly cheap, with items advertised on its website for thousands of pounds.

But house clearance sales can be good places for picking up bargains to either keep or sell at the car boot. In 2010 a family found a £43m Chinese vase at a house clearance in Ruislip.

Tom Allsop


The Apprentice goes to the car boot

On BBC One’s The Apprentice, the task this week was to buy second hand furniture and sell it in Brick Lane. Or as one succinct young hopeful put it: “get as much crap as we can and sell it for next to nothing.”

Carbooted regulars will not need to be told that car boots are a haven for anyone looking for vintage and collectible furniture. So surely, only a bunch of idiots could fail to find anything worth buying?

“Here we are – an enormous car boot sale full of everything you can imagine,” says Alan Sugar’s aide, Nick Hewer, following one team around a car boot sale as they hunt out bargains. All the contestants have to do is pick up some choice pieces and take them Brick Lane “home to the young trendy with the gelled hair,” says Hewer.

But soon Hewer is despairing of their inability to choose anything at all.  “They’ve only bought a few items – it’s nuts!” he says.

Later on Jade Adam and Steven are seen storming round the Battersea Boot having a bit more luck. They deliberate over one item for so long that the stall holder shouts in desperation, “have it for a pound as long as you promise you’ll go away.”

For tips on what goes down well at the car boot from someone who knows what they’re talking about, watch this video.

Tom Allsop


2012 predictions week: the top five markets worth checking out this year

Hackney Homemade, Wood Street Indoor Market, Frock Me, Judy’s kilo sales, and Little Chelsea: in the latest post of our 2012 predictions week, carbooted picks out five London markets you should visit on a bargain hunt.

Frock Me and Adams Antiques Fairs

Image via McMuggins

Hackney Homemade

Every Saturday, Lower Clapton Road, E5, 10am-4pm; Every Sunday, Chatsworth Road, E5, 11am-4pm

The Hackney Homemade markets are back up and running after a well-earned Christmas break. On Saturdays you’ll find them in the garden of St John church in Hackney selling good old-fashioned bric-a-brac alongside vintage clothing and books. There’s also a good choice of world food to fill your belly as you browse. Sundays are the artier days, promising ceramics, toys, and furniture in the courtyard of an independent book shop. As the name suggests, there’s a lovely handmade ethos to the markets, and they’re clearly doing something right as Time Out named founder Jane MacIntyre one of their most influential people of 2011. We love the clear advice that their friendly and welcoming website gives for people wanting to sell their wares at the market, telling you exactly what you need to know before pitching up.

Wood Street Indoor market

Wood Street, E17

Open Monday – Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, from 10am-5.30pm

We’re really excited to check out the goods here after organisers ran a competition to find 21 brand new shops for empty space in this Walthamstow market. The winners get three months free rent, and there’s a love-themed launch party on February 11 to say a big hello to the new kids in town. There’ll be flowers, homeware, records, costumes, and plenty of vintage to browse as well as performances in the indoor market, which used to be a cinema.

Frock Me and Adams Antique Fairs

Frock Me: Chelsea Town Hall, King’s Road, SW3. Next event: Sunday 12 February, 11am-5.30pm

Adams Antique Fairs: Elverton Street, SW1P. Next event: Sunday 5 February, 10am-4.30pm

Matthew Adams runs an antique fair at the Royal Horticultural Hall as well as the fun vintage Frock Me fair in Chelsea. Frock Me is excellent for celeb spotting (Hi Kylie! Hi Kate Moss!), and the prices do get a little steep at times. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do well on a budget as you explore the range of vintage clothing, burlesque items, jewellery and accessories, and there’s a tea room to quench your thirst in retro surroundings. The antiques fair attracts 140 stallholders so you could easily spend your entire Sunday lost among some real gems.

Judy’s vintage kilo sales

Moves around! Next event: The Rag Factory, Heneage Street, E1, on Saturday 11 February, 11am-4pm

Load up on a kilo of clothing for only £15 – bargain! You’ll need your rummaging arms at the ready for this sale, run by the team behind Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fairs. As well as finding your new favourite shirt, this one’s a great opportunity to get crafty as you can turn old cloth into new togs, or rework a fantastic fabric into an e-reader cover/purse/neck scarf/pillowcase…

 Little Chelsea Antiques Fair

Chelsea Town Hall, King’s Road, SW3

Next event: Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 March. 3-8pm on Monday, 11am-6pm on Tuesday.

This one calls itself “the affordable antiques fair”, so it’s a great way of making your first steps into antique buying for as little as a tenner. Steer clear of the items they say could cost as much as £30,000 – unless you’ve come into some incredible good fortune – and get haggling in the surrounds of Chelsea’s Old Town Hall. Here’s a long-running fair for furnishings, porcelain, glass… You name it, it’s probably there.

Helen Lawson


Poll: What kind of carbooter are you?

bargain, deal, cheap, gold

We car boot fans have lots in common; we all love a bargain, a good deal or a great sale. We all, however, have different reasons for heading down the car boot.

carbooted have identified the three ‘booting  cliques – which one are you in?

1.       The professional carbooters

Attending more than one car boot a week, at various different sites, the serious professional is out for a profit. They buy at the car boot, but usually only to sell on. They’re the first at the ‘boot in the morning, trying to bag a bargain for resale, and usually have a well organised and pre-priced stall and focus on selling one type of good.

Professionals should be very aware of consumer law and should also try to get involved with fun aspects of the car boot community.

2.       The hobby carbooters

Tending to stick to one weekly patch (be it their local or the best ‘boot they know about), carbooting at the weekends in their free time, the hobby carbooter loves to buy to collect and keeps things a while before selling them on. They’re great at pricing, knowing their stuff, but their stalls tend to be a mishmash of all sorts of bits and pieces. They’re out to break even, but aren’t too concerned about profits and love being a part of the car boot community.

Hobby carbooters should remember that they have the knowledge and the stock to make a profit, so shouldn’t sell themselves short.

3.       The necessity carbooters

Usually only down the car boot once in a blue moon, the necessity ‘booter tends to pop by to sell off unwanted household goods after a clear out or when cash flow’s short. Usually they’re only selling, but they’ll come down to browse and pick up a bargain sometimes. Often unaware of which ‘boots are the best they’ll head to their local and won’t be sure of the value of their goods. It’s unlikely they’ll make a profit.

Necessity carbooters can easily get taken advantage of by those more experienced at ‘booting. They should make sure they follow the lead of the hobby ‘booters and professionals, getting involved with the community and doing their research.

Kate Lloyd