A Voyeurs Guide To Shopping Lists


I just have to include this shopping list of Billie Holiday‘s. Yes, we’re still harping on about the legendary blues singer. Don’t fret, it’ll be all out of the system in a day or two. Now, as far as I’m concerned, all shopping lists are interesting, but the one I’m about to present, just happens to be Billie Holiday’s.

Post punk singer and highly talented musician Kirk Brandon, front man of Theatre Of Hate, Spear Of Destiny and Dead Men Walking, autographed one of my shopping lists, I had nothing else handy and even he appreciated another person’s shopping list. He apparently made a favourable, jokey comment about the last things on the list, beer and vodka. You see, everybody loves everyone else’s shopping lists, and in this case, it was also a good talking point when looking for something to say to a legend. Although, I never spoke to him, I sent my husband to do the deed because I was too shy/chicken shit, whatever. I’ve since lost the treasured autograph, never knew what happened to it. I never have anything disappear in my life, hoarders simply don’t allow things like that to happen, and yet, it just disappeared off the face of the earth. I haven’t seen it for fifteen years and I’ve moved house three times since then. How much do you want to bet that it’s gone forever ? Incidentally, the autograph from Paul Rutherford, of Frankie Goes To Hollywood fame, who was in the audience, at the time, also went missing. Oh he’s a lovely man. He signed his autograph for me twice. I sent my husband to him, the first time, in the venue, and then later on, I approached him to get an autograph for my friend, who was also a big FGTH fan. Twenty years had passed since FGTH had been in the charts, yet we were both still loyal fans. In fact, that’s how we met, through that common denominator. So, I approached Paul Rutherford as he was leaving the venue, alone, late at night, walking down an alleyway. The poor man just wanted to get away, as you can imagine. I actually had the balls to approach him the second time because I was getting the autograph for my friend and not for me. It’s easier that way isn’t it? Granted, he did look a bit scared but he was brilliant. Calm, cool, yet friendly, like someone trying to humour a serial killer. It looks like I’m dropping names now, but if I do name drop, it’ll be because the people in question deserve it, because they’re nice people.

I don’t drink vodka any more and I didn’t really drink it then. A light beer or two still slips down easily enough. But yes, bad stuff vodka. I don’t recommend it. Slippery slope.

I’m in danger of becoming some kind of taller, female, non Scottish version of Ronnie Corbett, during his armchair monologues, so I will just get on with it. Get on with it! I’ve built up the shopping list. Drum roll. Now, let’s enjoy. Here goes, Billie Holiday’s shopping list;

’75 watt (2)

60 bulb



12 eggs

4 tolit (sic) paper

1/2 ham

1 comet

2 bars Camy

2 bars Lux

1 large Lestol

not too small chicken roasting’

A Billie Holiday grocery list, sourced from ‘Billie,’ by Julia Blackburn.

I can just imagine Billie cracking open those eggs and putting in those light bulbs.

So next time you’re out and about, scour the floor, or a lone shopping trolley or the inside of a library book and you might just find gold. Don’t tell me you don’t do it. Who can resist ? It’s a bit like a car crash. Not as nasty as a bum cleavage but even nicer than an septuagenarian’s long lithe tanned legs in shorts.

Oh, there it is, you’ve seen the shopping list, it’s a bit crumpled, a bit sweaty, ‘cos it’s been in somebody’s clammy little hand in a busy supermarket. Maybe it’s folded up once, twice, or just a bit scrunchy. It doesn’t matter, you swipe it with your trembling hand and begin to read. And here is where it gets interesting…

Is it written in pencil, soft or hard? Or biro? Then, in that case,  what colour is it: blue, black, red? ‘cos people are sick enough to experiment. So many combinations..and it says so much about the shopping list writer. You will get valuable insight into their psych right there. It speaks volumes. They may as well have just taken off all of their clothes in front of you and bent over.

Coffee, Bananas, Chocolate, Cereal

Really? Okay, fairly innocuous, fairly normal shopping list. Fairly sane. Sounds like a decent law abiding person. I mean who doesn’t need coffee and chocolate now and again, and the potassium in those bananas!  You’ve got to have it haven’t you? It’s good for you. Sensible, normal, non perverted person. So, what else, what else did this person want to buy today…

Now, at this point, would you stop reading? I can’t imagine you stopping now, What? Half way through? Surely you have a spare twenty seconds to read the rest of the shopping list? It’s not like you’re Bill Gates or Richard Branson. It’s not like you’re a high powered business man juggling a dozen companies at the same time. Even if you are, you’re on your lunch break and lunch breaks last two hours for the really big ball breakers. So, with this in mind, you read on…

Nuts (2)

Now do they mean two peanuts? Of course they don’t. They obviously mean two packets of nuts, or they could mean two six packs. but what type, what anally messy person would just write nuts (2)

Now you’re intrigued. What other brain teasers do you have for me? How does your mind work? Are you a sicko or just a normal person? I’ll read on.

TV guide


Sicko! A small ‘g’, when capitals have been the norm throughout? And why have you started writing in capitals halfway through the word? You mad pixie.

Half pound lucheon meat

You’ve got to be kidding me. And where’s the N? And why luncheon meat? I mean who does that? Why half a pound? Any sane person would just buy a quarter, wouldn’t they, wouldn’t they?  (screaming now) Are you some kind of serial killer? What’s next on your list? I’m scared to read now. You’ve actually made me scared.

Big black dild

And that’s when you scrunch it up and realise it was one of your old girlfriends/boyfriends/partners/flatmates shopping list. The one you couldn’t get rid of, felt hopelessly trapped by and you still get beads of sweat breaking out between your shoulder blades at the thought that they might actually live on the same continent as you.

But wait there’s something else…P.T.O and that P.T.O has gone from red serial killer’s biro to green biro. I mean, have you ever seen a strangers shopping list written in green ink? I have and it’s not pretty.

So anyway, you turn it over and there’s nothing there. So why did they say P.T.O ?

Why are they playing with your mind? Do they have an agenda? Is this a conspiracy?

Have you found any interesting shopping lists lately? Send me your favourites at A Voyeurs Guide To Shopping Lists, Strange Fetishes Limited, Blackpool. Lancashire. A prize will go to the person who finds the most interesting shopping list.




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