EVENTS: Memorabilia 96

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Memorabilia 96 takes place at Earls Court Olympia Sun 20 Oct. Enquiries can be made at the Festival Box Office (01899 221622)

What , with Mission Impossible, the Star Wars prequels and the constant revamping and recycling of pop-culture classics, memorabilia has never been cooler, or more quick to appreciate in value. Like the rest of fashion, however, the self-ingesting cycle of nostalgia is getting shorter. While a few years ago it might have been old Beatles covers, vintage Dinky toys and perhaps a rare Beta video version of Slade in Flames, today's collector can accrue almost anything. All right, those colour- supplement "limited- edition" plates with furry animals on are probably never going to be of much use for anything but a Greek wedding, but the field is still almost limitless. The thing to do is to focus on one area and obsess. Europe's largest nostalgia-fest on Sunday means that novice consumers and old hands alike can indulge their cultural necrophilia with a mind- boggling array of goodies: rare records, comics, prints, gold discs, film props, jukeboxes and bubblegum cards are just some of the goods, along with fashion displays from the 1960s and 1970s should you lose your grip on reality and actually decide to live your life as a punk or flower child. As an added bonus, visitors will be able to bring along their own items for free valuation. Those pricing your treasures range from Auction House Establishment to the UK's only collector of 1960s Psychedelic Underpants.

WHAT TO BUY

007 and X Files bubble-gum cards (up to pounds 90) are all the rage. Just don't expect any chewy stuff, even new cards don't come with gum anymore. Watch out for old boxes, sweetie wrappers or concert tickets. Since these are disposable goods they can fetch a high price. Vintage autographs are a solid investment, Laurel and Hardy's signatures cost up to pounds 700. Or go for the wild card: last year a 1970s variety packet of Rice Krispies (empty) with Spock on the side went for pounds 120.

WHAT TO WATCH

If you need to be reminded just why you felt compelled to shell out a month's salary on an original script for The Clangers, CULT TV will be there with its 30ft screen to refresh your memory. Shows from the 1960s and 1970s will be spooling away all day, showing rare footage such as the Beatles performing on ATV's 1963 Morecambe and Wise show, and Pogle's Wood.

WHAT NOT TO BUY

The original Aston Martin from Goldeneye. It's not for sale and you couldn't afford it anyway. You can take photos.

WHO TO SPOT

Ingrid Pitt, Hammer's famous "Countess Dracula", will be signing autographs along with Lois Maxwell, Miss Moneypenny in the Bond series. You might also like a chat with Bond scriptwriters Lee Pfeifer and Dave Worrall who'll be signing their latest books.

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