Saturday, June 28, 2008

yes! Yes! YES!

There is a special pen called a 'Money Checker Detector Pen' and oh, the joy to see the look on the scumbags face when I tell him his £20 note is a fake and I'll have to keep it. The pure joy! Ha!

Foot in Mouth Disease...

AA Gill strolls into the shop and I pounce.

"Fancy a spot of writing?"


"Just a signature or ten?"

He signs Breakfast at the Wolseley and is charming and funny. Then he asks to have a look at our collection of Edward Gorey books. I grab a stack.

"My favourite is The Gashlycrumb Tinies" I say, brandishing the deadly alphabet.

"H is for Hector, done in by a thug! Hah! hah! hah!"

"I have a son named Hector" says Mr Gill.

Ahh...not again!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Credit where credit is due

Moving house I decide to get my credit score just to make sure everything is fine for setting up all the infrastructure and what not. I've been living off-grid for 7 months and was somewhat nervous at the result. Remarkably, amazingly, almost unbelievably, my credit rating is excellent! My parents will be so proud! After all these years does this finally mean I am a grown up?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Madeleines? Gone baby...these days it's all about the peas...

I just ate a curry (my third of the week!)

Is there anything more delightful than the unexpected pop of a pea in your mouth? There is? No there isn't!

I remember at school they served a dish called curry. It bore very little relationship to the beautiful minced lamb curry I just devoured but they shared one ingredient - peas. I loved the peas then too. The way they would be hidden amongst the mince and then - pop! Yum. I also used to love cheese pie. And the white sliced toast that had been sitting around in melted butter for half an hour. I used to fold the toast over and stuff it full of grated cheese. We used to have spam at school as well. I never ate spam anywhere else but at school we had it all the time. You could cut little shapes in it - make faces or whatever. Like the mash potatoes they had that you could make sculptures out of. It was heartbreaking to see the dinner ladies scaping my mash masterpieces into the slops bin...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wimbledog...People Plays Tennis!

Small children are VERY VERY FUNNY - probably funnier if they are yours but...

...have you ever seen a nearly two-year-old boy pretending to play tennis? And making euugh errg eui noises as he does so?

It's almost as good as watching a small child play the ukulele whilst some magaheavysolidgrungerawkdadmusic plays in the background!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Where to begin...

The whole e-reader thing is such a non-story for us that we've successfully ignored it now for ages. Occasionally however an article is thrust under your nose that just has to be addressed and exposed for the inanity, ineptitude and stupidity it represents; from the Washington Post.

Life is actually too short to repudiate this piece and after reading this quote:

Weinstein starts with the handiest analogue: iPod and MP3 player sales. He notes that between 2003 and 2008, digital music sales grew from 2 percent of the US market to 33 percent

Do I have to explain? Do I have to?

Monday, June 23, 2008

I think this article is interesting...

...but I stopped reading after the third paragraph.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Perspective for the weekend

Trust The Onion to get right to the heart of the Tiger Woods matter.

And this is just brilliant and wicked satire:

Study: Most Children Strongly Opposed To Children�s Healthcare

In My Finest Victor Melrew Voice "I DON'T BELIEEEEVE IT"

Finn loves books and one of his favourites is Ladybird classic version of The Gingerbread Man with the refrain "Run run as fast as you can, you can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man" - Finn loves to run.

Jane suggested I try him with a brilliant book called Jasper's Beanstalk and he loves it so much it is very hard to read it to him just once.

At the end Jasper's bean does grow into a huge beanstalk and the final picture has just the stalk and Jasper's tail as the daft animal climbs up looking for giants...

I thought I'd try Finn with Jack and the Beanstalk next and picked up a copy today. But guess what? Instead of Fee Fi Fo Fum I smell the blood of an Englishman the giant says Fee Fi Fo Fum watch out everyone, here I come.

What kind of a soppy giant is that?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

More Free Money...

My Booker tip (so far) is Tim Winton's Breath - another superb slice of storytelling from Australia's finest.

Signed copies at C & P next week campers...

Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

More Facts Here!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Early Booker Tips...

Just two authors in at 345 today...

Jonathan Coe
was in yesterday to sign some copies of his new paperback The Rain Before It Falls. He had an early Booker tip - Sebastian Barry's The Secret Scripture. A tenner on it when you're placing yer Royal Ascot bets eh? He left his sunglasses behind so was forced to return today.

Then Peter Porter the poet popped in (alliteration they call it!)

He seemed pretty astounded we'd opened another shop.

(Starting to enjoy the whole MY GOD BUT WHAT ABOUT AMAZON THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE response. Crockatt & Powell - quietly doing impossible things - AGAIN! I had to apologise to our main supplier the other day for selling too many books - they just didn't seem to believe we were doing so well)

Don't worry though - we'll probably go bust next week and prove the mongers of doom correct. Boring bas*ar*s.

Until then, some jazz...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Kebab, beer and footie

The gf is away, the kebab shop's open, the wifebeater's cold and France play Italy. If I could write down a word that sounded like two hands rubbing together, I would.

Ideal scenario? The frogs and the eyeties throw the kitchen sink at each other, 3 players sent off, France to win 5-3 then Romania score in the 5th minute of injury time to secure a 1-0 victory and progress to the quarters anyway.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Borges Etc

We had a visit from Alberto Manguel today.

Crockatt & Powell are the new suppliers of his beautiful library and we were surprised - but very pleased - to see him stroll through the doors of our own "infinite library" this morning. (You need to come to the shop to appreciate the effect but, thanks to a couple of well-placed mirrors - we do have an infinite number of books in the shop)

First we asked him to sign some of the many books of his we keep in stock. He was pleased to see a Hardback copy of his recent "biography" of Homer's The Iliad and the Odyssey. There were several "terrible typos" that he proceeded to correct! Needless to say that particular book is now mine...

We then moved on to discuss translations of Borges. We keep an edition of the Collected Fictions on the table at all times and he proceeded to tear the translation to pieces. I asked what folk should do if they wanted to appreciate Borges properly and he replied "learn Spanish".

I was extremely chuffed to have such a bibliophile in the shop and hope to take him up on a kind offer to visit his wonderful house in France at some point in the (sadly distant) future when I am able to take holidays again...

Not bad for Friday 13th.

It's my party...

So, it's the inaugural Independent Booksellers Week starting on the 1st of July and running to the 8th. Needless to say it's a party we won't be going to.

I've never signed up to this idea of 'celebrating' independent bookselling, you're either a good bookshop or you're not, it really doesn't matter where the money comes from. A semi-regular customer this morning who commutes into Waterloo was moaning about his local independent that he'd like to buy from except they never have any interesting stock and the staff are rude. What's to celebrate there then?

There seems to be a real hand-wringing whininess among certain independents that they somehow deserve customers just because of their independence. Nonsence. You need to have a nice shop, great staff, top stock and a willingness to listen - all attributes of C&P, OF COURSE! (And dare I say it, some branches of chain bookshops in selected locations...)

And can someone please explain to me the logic of having exactly the same point of sale material for a promotion in 320 independent shops up and down the country? Isn't it the total opposite of whatever independence might stand for to be confronted by the same displays in every bloody shop?

Anyway, rant over. Shouldn't get wound up. Must concentrate on our party...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We're all going on a...oh...we're not? Oh, ok then.

Legend has it some folk go on holiday...

Bullard's Staying - It's Official...

Well my wife just had a call from Jimmy Bullard (who is on holiday in Portugal at the minute) and he said he's going to stay, that he "loves it" at Fulham.

Why is Jimmy Bullard calling my wife? Good question but a rather long answer...

Bizzy, bizzy, bizzy and beer

Lots of work running a business. Lots of paperwork. Lots of tax work. But when you get a day like yesterday - 50% up on projected cashflow targets - then it all seems worth it...

And a rare thank you I'm sure to HMRC. Their CDRom for new employers rocks!

A welcome day off yesterday involved a pint of ale on a bench looking at this view -

I'm not going to tell you which pub it is because it's a secret, so hands off.

Anyway, back to work...

Friday, June 06, 2008

Crockatt Ampersand Powell

A blog after our own hearts.

An amusement for the weekend

Nice. Best viewed on a mac in this.

The Robot's nearly in place...

All systems are goooooooooooooo!!!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

This one's for you mum...

Home, home on the Marsh...

Ah well, back on the Marsh.

Since I left there has been a brutal murder just around the corner. A fifteen year old girl stabbed to death by a madman/stalker. Just awful.

The students upstairs had a party out on the flat roof over our "office". They partied so hard the ceiling collapsed. ("You can see the sky" Adam said to me on the phone.) Then it rained. A lot.

Then they're digging up the street outside the shop. With REALLY LOUD DIGGERS THAT CAN CUT THROUGH CONCRETE.

No place like it eh?

A Visit

from Stacy

Came to check us out thanks to this excellent bloke.

The blogosphere eh?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Jan's dropping off a few finishing touches tomorrow morning to the Fulham shop and I've invested in some nifty Polaroid film so we'll try and put up some comprehensive photo coverage on thursday.

Things have gone better than expected so far, a real result and the new customers seem to have responded. I think it helps that 4/5ths of the staff are ex-pan so the continuity element has been a bonus. It also helps that 3/5ths of the staff are uniformly excellent at their jobs so well done Stuart, Jane and Claire. Those three have been looking after the joint today while Matthew has a day off and I take care of Waterloo. A real credit to them that we trust them with the shop after only a week and a half! (Although if sales aren't up to muster we'll have a Shinawatra-style Sven-clearance!)

The twin enemies of hubris and complacency are never too far from our thoughts and although we're dead proud of what we've done so far it's a long long way to go... As ever, watch this space.


With the absence of England from the euros we must turn our attention to other sporting pursuits. Let's leave the politics to others but if this guy makes it to Beijing this year then the 100 and 200 m finals will be something to savour.