How long have you been collecting Smurfs for?
Since about ’77.
How did you start?
Someone at school had one and I was transfixed. I was like, “What’s that?” So I went to the National garage just outside of Hazel Grove where they had a box full of different ones and I started working my way through them. The more they made, the more I wanted to collect, and I just got hooked in on them. They’d do Olympic ones and all sorts of different ones to do with whatever was going on at the time so it just got worse and worse for me.
After a while I stopped because who the fuck wants kid’s toys? Who wants to collect Smurfs? You want to go to The Haçienda and spend your money on trainers. And then when I was about 30 I had a dream about Smurfs. I dreamt about this Smurf windmill. So I went to my mum’s and opened the box and I was straight back into it — straight back to being a kid again.
What’s your favourite piece in your collection?
There is a Smurf that looks like my wife. Smurfette is blonde but my wife has got dark hair, so there’s always been a slight problem there. But this one is a Native American squaw and it does look like her. There’s also a frogman Smurf with an all-in-one frogman outfit and there’s a skydiver with a lilac boiler suit. And then there’s an old geezer with the goggles and the scarf who races classic Ferraris. He’s quite good.
Where do you get them from?
Now I get them from the internet or collectors fairs. Mostly the internet though. I’m closing in on having the full set.
Where do you think man’s need to collect comes from?
It’s escapism. It’s some stupid thing to do that doesn’t make you think about this or that. It probably comes from when we were living in small villages and we went out to forage for things. And sometimes you leave something behind in childhood that you really, really liked. Like with trainers, everyone says, “my mum would never buy me these.” So you go back and collect them.
What else do you collect?
Over the years what have I collected? Munch Bunch fruit pencil tops, Star Wars bubble-gum cards, these weird little plastic Paddington Bears, Top Trumps, Dinky cars, Corgi cars, recently I’ve become super-obsessed with these 1:43 die-cast miniature cars. I collect adidas trainers, Nike trainers, Clarks shoes, Lacoste polo shirts, corduroy jeans, crew neck jumpers, patterned shirts, extreme conditions parkas... I just buy a lot of things that I like and then all of a sudden I think, “I’ve got too many of these, I better start collecting them.”
When will you stop?
The day that I die.