Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fashion Advice

Well we've been in Vogue twice haven't we? I thought it was about time I let you into the secrets of fashion.

It's easy really. I call it the "stopped clock" theory of fashion. Pick a style, any style, then stick to it. Do not change. Most of the time you will be hopelessly off trend. You may even feel like a total dick when you're out in the trendy places. You might even find yourself being invited to parties then turning up, seeing everyone else walking in and just thinking "NOOOOOO I CAN'T DO IT!" and going home again. But these minor tribulations will be compensated for one day. Trust me.

Fashion goes in cycles. Eventually you will be ahead of the trend. You might notice people peeking at your shoes on the bus or glancing over their shoulders as you walk past them in the street. (Note: You might also get this in the complete dick phase)

Next thing you know your work colleagues are wearing similar shoes and stuff. Then you open a magazine one Sunday and LO! You see a picture of a lovely looking bloke (or lady if you're one of them) dressed just like you.

It's time to party. Get out there. Age is no barrier! Get down the clubs and tell the kids what it was like first time around. (Note: It may be worth going to the gym or some crap like that first or you may find you get yrself a hernia.) Strut your funky stuff (or whatever) get chatted up by teens (ok, maybe that was just someone asking directions) and live the fashionista dream.

Sadly, like all good things on this forsaken planet, it will not last. You will be off trend again soon. By then though, you will be fed up of setting trends and being a fashion superstar. By the time your style comes around again you will be ready - older and more enthusiastic - and less able to feel shame!

At present I would describe my style as "lumberjack pretending to be someone dull working in a bookshop". Think Hugh Grant crossed with Neil Young. I am wearing walking books and a plaid shirt combined with a thin woolen jumper and green corduroy trousers. Hair styled by my own fair hand raked through it this morning...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bargains! (Or, Credit Crunch Redux)

We have some bargain books on sale - £5.99, reduced from £10.99.

We have a customer - 'If I buy two can I have them for ten pounds?'

Canny haggler or tight-fisted c***?

You decide!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Espresso Book Machine

Well anyone who has followed this blog over the years will be aware of our long standing interest in the Espresso Book Machine - finally unveiled and printing at Blackwell's on Charing Cross Road.

£120,000 it set them back. We don't have that kind of money. We don't have ANY money.

Still, it is the future for bookshops as we've been saying.

Come on Blackwell's - we're counting on you guys to make this work.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ok ok ok - Just Knock Me Out and Do A Good Job - Where Do I Sign?

So I'm back from holiday and off to hospital. As previously noted I am not too hot on Hospital/Doctor etiquette but I'm obviously not the only one...

(When I arrived there was a man shouting and swearing. "I 'ave an appointment right. In FIVE MINUTES! For a FU*KI*G ERNIA! AND YOU'RE TELLIN' ME ME NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER IS WRONG? Then security arrived. The nutcase was calmed.)

I had a letter to say I should attend Kings College Hospital on 20th April for a "meeting" with the surgeon. Twat that I clearly am I assumed this would be the day the dirty deed was done, that they would shove something into a keyhole, push my guts back into the right place and I'd be out and selling books later the same day. Oh no. When they say a "meeting" what they mean is a meeting. I met the surgeon. She began to describe what she was going to do to me. I went white and saw spots in front of my eyes.

"Are you feeling ok?" she asked.

"Er" I said "I think I need a glass of water."

I hung my head between my legs whilst this skilled and highly trained person went to find me a glass of water.

"Are you feeling better?"

"Yes thanks..."

"Right. So I'll make a small cut about here, push whatever it is - it might be a section of gut or perhaps just a lump of fat..."

"Erm, I'm sorry to interrupt but...I have a very active imagination - can you just tell me where to sign?"

"You don't want to know about possible side effects?"



"No no no"

"We'll have to shave..."

"Please! Just knock me spark out and do a good job ok? Where do I sign"

So now I have to wait two to three months. Two to three months to worry about that "small cut" and the "deep sleep" I am to experience. Not to mention the bruising and the shaving...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Le Marshe Francaise

The French market is down the Marsh again today...

There is a Paella and Tartiflette stall RIGHT OUTSIDE THE DOOR...

He's just started frying the onions...


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

You Gotta Larf!

Customer holding a £7.99 pb of the Murakami running book:

'I dunno whether to get this. Do you know where I can get it any cheaper?'

I shit you not. 

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Recession Bites Hard In China?

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

I Worked In A Factory

Yeah, I did.

It was a small place that made springs of all shapes and sizes.
At one point they offered to take me on as an apprentice - after a few years I would have been a toolmaker and earning more money than I have ever earned in my life. But I said no - I was going to write books in those days...

I learned many things from working there. I learned about fighting against President Marcos in the Philippines from Ruben. He used to ride around on a motorbike with a friend on the back shooting at soldiers. He also taught me how to break into cars. He had to leave the Philippines in the end - it was too dangerous for him to stay.

I learned that gambling is a bad idea. I learned that reading the Sun every day actually changes you into a see you next Tuesday.

I also began to appreciate machines. Machines sound great. They get into a rhythm and just keep going and going...subtle changes in the sounds from time to time. If you have a room full of machines they each have their own rhythm and tend to go in and out of phase. I used to fall asleep as I worked on a fairly regular basis. A few times I fell asleep to be woken by the sounds of a machine grinding and clunking itself to a halt. Then I would get yelled at "All you have to do is fu*k*n* sit there you daft muppet - just feed that wire in there ok?" Once I woke up because I had drilled through my thumbnail and into my thumb. Ouch. My love of extreme coffee dates from this period in my life - had to stay awake somehow.

But what I'm trying to say is I fell in love with machines...and their music.

Will Montgomery is also in love with machine music. His latest can be heard here.

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night...and other reasons why if you love books then FFC is the place to be!

The man above penned the immortal phrases "It was a dark and stormy night"; "The great unwashed"; "the penis mightier than the sword", (er I mean pen is) and where did he live? That's right Craven Cottage - that hallowed patch of grass by the Thames where Fulham Football Club are based.

The Premier league Reading Stars initiative has seen Wayne Rooney plastered over the papers with a copy of Harry Potter but the real star of Reading Stars has to be Fulham Goalkeeper Mark Schwartzer. He hasn't just promoted a book or two - he's written one!

Schwarzer: "Scarves & Sombreros is a book I've co-written and it's the second one of a five-book series. From my point of view it's a great book based on football. It's based on a lot of our experiences as kids growing up in Australia. It's about an English kid who emigrates from the UK to Australia and I think a lot of people can relate to it because it's based on football, how you fit into society, stick together, form friendships and go through the trials and tribulations of everyday life."

Brilliant stuff. I was also chuffed to see the book has Sombrero in the title as these two Mexican looking fellas were instrumental in keeping Fulham in the Premier league last season with an inspirational display at Fratton Park on the final day.

(Nah, that's not me! I don't have a 'tache...)

Then there are the stories confirming Roy Hodgson is a reader:

...the only form of stimulation Hodgson will be seeking can be found within the pages of Schultz, by J.P. Donleavy.

“I wouldn't need to celebrate,” Hodgson said. “If we were to win and stay in the league, there would be such satisfaction for me that I would quite happily go home and have a glass of water and read my book. I found Schultz in an antique shop in Brighton. I've read it about five times.”

Can there be a more cerebral footballer in the Premier League right now than Fulham's Norwegian defender?

Asked to name the last book he read, Hangeland revealed: ?I read quite a lot, the last one was a Norwegian book which you won't know. But the last English language book was Underworld by Don DeLillo.?

So not only is Hangeland a fan of 800-page Pulitzer-prize nominated literature, but he also reads books in two languages.

Two languages eh?

So there you go - the Highbury Library has gone, soon to be forgotten. If you love books you really should start supporting the right team...

Friday, April 03, 2009

Holiday Reading

This was supposed to go in the bag for my holiday next week but I picked it up and couldn't stop. Finished it in one sitting which for people who know me Never. Happens. At. All.

Ok, so I'm a cyclist. I don't race but I do go on the occasional 70 mile trip through rolling home counties countryside but this is a book about cycling much as The Damned Utd is about football - may be useful to know about footie or cycling but not essential. (I also happen to think this a better book than Utd - sorry Mr Peace)

Anyway as I never finish a book in one go Ever. At. All. This one comes as recommended.

"Meyrueis, Lozere, June 26, 1977. Hot and overcast. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from sidewalk cafes. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me."

ps It took 24 years to get translated into English. Don't you just love our attitude to books in other languages?