Thursday, July 31, 2008

The End of the World is Nigh

Luckily the future is in safe hands...

The Lesser-Spotted Spacey

A rare sighting indeed, the Spacey stopped by Waterloo for a brief peruse and a purchase. Obviously on his summer migration who knows when the Spacey will return to the C&P hunting grounds...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Sun Is Shining, "F" Came By With The Beers...

...and I'm working on a blog about space travel!

(Stephen Hawking and Richard Branson go into faux orbit with a bunch of Russian oligarchs and Branson Brand Bimbos and probably Bill Gates or some other SUPER NERD but following an Arthur Ransomesque WE DIDN'T MEAN TO GO TO SEA style incident they discover they are in fact en-route to Mars.)

Chill with Santana while I work on the details...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Trouble cycling

As a keen and regular cyclist we have many near misses and occasional run ins with irate drivers who, for some reason, hate us! But it's a whole other level entirely when even the police offer their opinion:

Now, I'm no real fan of the Critical Mass rides here in London but really, isn't that a little over the top?

Sunday, July 27, 2008


...will people start to take us seriously?

(Maybe the lovin' spoonful sends out the wrong sort of message? Is it a crime to have fun and run bookshops? But we can't be that bad at it if we're onto our second shop in a mere 3 years. And so far we have not wasted sh*tloads of other peeps money.)

As you can see from the link above we've been dead keen 0n this for some considerable time and now Blackwells are in there.

Gadzooks if we had the money we'd be Printing on Demand already.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - anyone out there with a few quid to spare drop us a line...

Forget e-books. The revolution starts here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

That's Better

I love the lovin' and the uke but this song just needs nothing - it's perfect.

A Crazy Ukulele Hippy Version

What Did I Do To Deserve...

...customers (ok friends really - but we met through the shop) who bring me beer on a hot afternoon?

Is this a job?

All the financial anxiety and precarious relationship to money in general is worth it when the likes of "F" are around.

"F" - we salute you!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On A Lighter Note...

Claire and I were photographed by Barry Lategan on Saturday morning. He read about us in the Evening Standard where Simon Sebag Montefiore mentioned our "charming" bookshop in his Londoner's Diary.

And this week Timeout have us in a battle of the books.

It's Chelsea VS Peckham.

Our Chelsea top 10

1: Sashenka by Simon Sebag Monteifiore (It really is our no 1 cynics!)

2: The Owl and the Pussycat (lovely US boardbook)

3: Ottolenghi The Cookbook (Signed)

4: Selected Letters of Julian Maclaren-Ross

5: The Pledge by Friedrich Durrenmatt

Review Bookshop (My real local bookshop)

1: The Brother Gardeners by Andrea Wulf

2: Drinking for England by Fergus Linnane

3: Derelict London (Selling well at C & P Lower Marsh - itself an ex-Derelict London website location)

4: Careless by Deborah Robertson

5: Uncommon Arrangements by Katie Roiphe

Is my life weird these days or what?

Monday, July 21, 2008

A note to the BA

If you want me to do something for you for which I am not receiving payment or frankly, have any interest in, then it is neither URGENT! nor ESSENTIAL.

Kind Regards

Friday, July 18, 2008

Something For The Weekend

I was reading Paula Fox in the Paris Review when she mentioned walking into a friend's apartment and hearing this...

Youtube - I salute you!


I've had a flash of inspiration thanks to those retail geniuses at Asda

In order to increase C&P's market share to a very tasty 0.008% and therefore a great investment target for all those hedge funders out there this week coming all books at C&P stores are reduced to ONE POUND* Yes, that's right folks you heard correctly, ONE POUND ONLY*

You see, it's footfall is the name of the game, punters through the door. Bugger this profit nonsense...

*stickered items only

Thursday, July 17, 2008

When was the last time you backed up your data?




I'm Reading two Great Books... before drinks and one after.

Before drinks (this is a book that demands concentration and attention) I'm reading The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser. It's a brilliant narrative that works on several levels. On one level a man loses his dog and sets out to find it. On another level he thinks about his relationship with his elderly and increasingly decrepit mother. On another level we're thinking back to his childhood in India. On another level he thinks back over a failed marriage and the failing relationship he is having with an artist. On another level the artist may be a murderer or insane or perhaps just weird. Then there are discussions of art, reality, painting, writing - the main character, Tom, is writing a critical book on Henry James. There is an air of generalised menace that permeates the whole book - as though all of these layers are just a distraction from some vast and deadly something that is going to happen...If I had to mention books that this is a bit like I would go for a blend of Siri Hustvedt's What I Loved and JM Coetzee's Disgrace.

There's a quote from James at the start "The whole of anything can never be told" and that holds true for descriptions of this book. Let's just say that in my opinion this is Literature.

Then after drinks (because this is a book that makes being sober seem kind of wrong) is what I'm convinced will end up a kind of warped classic - the awesomely messed up Knockemstiff by Donald Ray Pollock.

The dude worked in a meatpacking plant after leaving school then moved up in the world to a position in a paper mill where he remained for thirty two years honing his literary skills.

The stories are DARK but very funny. You will giggle like an evil sprite then feel all guilty when you are more sober. All the best jokes are a bit evil aren't they? Oh, that's just me is it? Well look - if you thought We Need To Talk About Kevin was more darkly comic that outrageously offensive then you'll probably like Knockemstiff...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I'm going to regret this...

...but picture the scene.

Boy meets girl or boy meets boy or girl meets girl or boy meets sheep or (just picture a pre-romantic encounter that suits your preference ok?) and one of them is reading a book.

Instant potential conversation (less likely to give you cancer than a cig more to talk about etc). Marie blogged a while ago about two people who met after they saw each other in the park reading Gods Behaving Badly.

I mean who hasn't (at an earlier stage in their development) wandered about with a book under their arm or sat in a cafe reading a book because they thought it made them look cool/sophisticated/intelligent etc?

Now what happens when it's an e-reader? You go to the park and sit on a bench?

Mobbed by geeks.

You are on the tube?

Mobbed by geeks.

You are in a cafe?

Mobbed by geeks.

Forget the book - it's romance that should be on the endangered species list!

And another thing:

Two geeks meet. They both have their e-readers. They "shock horror" compare libraries! Now there's no opportunity to pretend you have read all of Thomas Pynchon's work then rush out to your friendly local bookseller ask who the hell this Pynchon dude is then buy books and sit at home reading for years in preparation for the first date...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Respect the books...

When I used to go out...

I would know everyone that I saw,

Now I go out alone if I go out at all...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Too caught up... remember young Master Finn's 2nd birthday. Public apologies Mrs M Crockatt and happy birthday to your (and Matthew's) lovely boy. He has a fine right foot on him - a potential Bullard for sure.

Who said it was gonna be easy

It's been a long day...

I honestly, properly shouldn't but it's just not as much fun as it used to be when we were young, whipper snapping upstarts. Too much money at stake, too many responsibilities. The next and the biggest challenge - how to channel the spirit of Lower Marsh into the next biggish thing.

Maybe more pop music would help!

Moan, moan, moan. Ignore me, it's late...

Hopefully Matthew will delete this post before anyone gets a chance to read it.

Geeks - I Surrender


The world is flat.

I surrender. Get back to me when the book is dead and my bookshops are betting shops.

I should be having this argument in a stuffy dusty room not a blog eh?

I am looking for some printer paper for an Epsom blad di blah printer...

..."and why do you think I would have some?" I enquire?

"You don't have printer papers?"

"No, we are a bookshop. We sell books."



At last...and Matt's bringing them direct from home again...

That's Peckham library on the front there.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

GEEKS - Look away now...

Ok, I'm fed up with sensible arguments.

Here it is:

e-books don't work, will never work are just a stupid idea.

There will be no I-Pod moment.

Forget it.

Move on.

In the future people will still use forks. Why? Because they do the job.

Same for books. Sorry geeks.

Is It Ever


Where's the summer?

I want A REFUND!


Simon Montefiore came in to sign his novel Sashenka yesterday.

More usually known for his journalism and excellent history books (Catherine the Great and Potemkin, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar and most recently The Young Stalin) Simon has now turned to real storytelling and produced a novel.

I love the Russian classics (we once had a promotion that involved buy one get Crime and Punishment free - take that Waterstoners etc!) and I have a heart of Steel. (In other words only two books have ever made me cry - The final part of Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy and Watership Down by Richard Adams) Initially I thought I would give Sashenka a miss as it looked a little bit too "family saga" for my taste. But I opened the book, started reading and have been captivated ever since...

I think we have signed first editions of a massive bestseller in stock!


We have signed copies of the Ottolenghi cookbook in the Fulham Road shop now.

Are you an Ottolenghi type?

An Ottolenghi type has a certain irrational commitment to a cause, professionalism that goes well beyond formal duties, a deep caring for what they do and the people around them and heaps of energy and vitality.

Yes, we're Ottolenghi types. "a certain irrational commitment to a cause" sounds familiar. The main reason you should buy the book is the great food they are pushing.

Another reason to buy the book is that Yotam and Sami were such charming gentlemen when they came to sign. Good blokes, doing something they love...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Can I have one of these please

Or, the geeks shall inherit the Earth...

Oscar the Grouch

Please, please can people just do the bloody job they're paid to do.

One of those days...

Sorry, we don't take payment on Saturdays

So, you're the biggest wholesaler in the country dealing with hundreds of bookshops delivering thousands of boxes a day and work in collaboration with one of the largest US wholesalers. You also fulfill orders from amaz*n, run a template website for small bookshops and co-ordinate home deliveries for individual customers.

But on a saturday it seems there's only one person in the office who can log on to the system and take a payment over the phone, so they don't bother.

THIS ISN'T THE 1950'S!!!!!!! WAKE UP!!!

On a similar theme, we're currently getting our deliveries from the marvelous Baker & Taylor in America approximately 48 hours after ordering them. Many UK distributors are still quoting 7-10 days. And that's just across town. Jesus, I could walk there and pick up the books myself if it's really too much trouble...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Modern World

These days I always seem to be around a computer and a printer but when I want something as simple as a ruler I can never find one and Rymans will be shut. Luckily we have the internet.

How cool is the modern world? Or is it a tragedy that I'm surrounded by a computer and printer and not something as simple as an old wooden device for measuring things?

In an aside and related to a post below about e-reader stuff here are a selection of things which I reckon means there won't be an 'ipod moment' for electronic books (general trade like what we sell, not educational or academic or journals or newspapers for which the e-reader is destined). They are all things for which the ipod is a genius bit of kit:

  • You can't dance and read an e-book
  • You can't go for a run and read an e-book
  • You can't ride a bike and read an e-book
  • You can't go to the gym and read an e-book
  • You can't ride a skateboard and read an e-book
  • You can't go rollerblading and read an e-book
  • You can't go hiking and read an e-book
  • You can't do the washing up and read an e-book
  • You can't do the ironing and read an e-book
  • You can't do the hoovering and read an e-book
  • You can't drive a car and read an e-book
  • You can't just lie back and listen to music and read an e-book
  • etc.
And can you think of a single instance where you'd be reading your e-book when you couldn't be listening to your ipod also/instead?

In a nutshell then, the ipod is universal, the e-reader is specific. All of the above and more are why there was an 'ipod moment', it's not transferable to books, it's just not the same and surely that's obvious and those are my thoughts until the next time.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


A while ago I posted an outraged rant about the excellent Virago Modern Classics 30th Birthday Hardbacks.

But they are lovely and everything? "Why the outrage?" I hear you sigh.

Well they were EXCLUSIVE weren't they...To Waterstoners...

When is exclusive not exclusive? When it's a Waterstoners exclusive dummy!

Fab News!


* * * *

Now the "serious" bit - my 2p worth.

Waterstones sold all the stock they had very quickly. Hatchards had 20 of each and sold them all, re-ordered and sold them all again. These are (whisper it) Hardback books we are talking about. Not only Hardback they are "Classics". You mean people went out, in these crunching times, and bought Hardback books? When they were all available in paperback? When they could have bought them cheaper? WHY!

Have you been shopping recently? There are savage sales everywhere - 75% off. Nobody is buying stuff. But they bought these Virago classics? WHY!

Because they are great books. They are £10. And that's a bargain. All of a sudden that Primark top with the sequins stitched on by little children reeks of what it is - devilish crud. But good books are good books are good books.

Dare I say it - Books are worth paying for...

And the winner isn't...

Tee hee...

Felt very bad for Tom, but since Dannie Abse won and he launched The Prescence at C & P last year - kind of pleased.

That's the kind of thing you have nightmares about eh?