Thursday, May 31, 2007

A common cure for the common cold

I used myself as a guinea pig last night in an attempt to find a new and improved remedy for my infected carcass, the idea was like an extreme sports solution, a sort of extreme hot toddy. You will need:
  • 1 bottle single malt
  • 1 pint glass
  • squeeze of lemon
  • squirt of honey
  • hot water

Mix 1 part scotch with 1 part hot water until glass is full. Add lemon and honey. Drink. Repeat until unconscious.

The thinking was that if the alcohol didn't outright kill the virus then it would atleast be too pissed to annoy me until my body had defeated it over the normal course of events.

I was wrong. It would appear the cold virus has hollow legs and could drink anyone under the table so this morning not only am I coughing and sneezing like a drain, I have the great, great grandmother of all hangovers.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007


We've removed the links on the side to other sites. Not out of a fit of juvenile petulance and indifference but because there are just too many sites we would really like to link too but can never be arsed to add to Blogger.

What we will do however, at some point, eventually, in the near future-ish is create a links page on our website with simply thousands of interesting places to surf in no order whatsoever.

Coming soon. Watch this space. Or not.

I'd rather be somewhere else

Tucked up at home on the sofa watching Miami Vice because it's the COOLEST FILM EVER MADE despite having Colin Farrell with a dodgy accent, a Phil Collins song covered by some dodgy nu-metallers and general alround dodgy moodiness but still gets away with it all - magnificently. And because I bet it's not 13 degrees and raining on the day before june starts in Miami which would mean I probably wouldn't have this cold.

Death warmed up

I've felt worse. Not by much but I have felt worse.

Today's the kind of day it would be handy to work for somebody else.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The single life

I'm sure this works the other way around too, women seeking men with...

(C&P is a strictly equal opportunities employer/exploiter)

How would I know?

This from the inbox today - name and address withheld to avoid embarrassment...

I am a postgraduate student (results awaited) from London,
with a keen eye for detail, strong team-working and time management skills seeking a
career in Publishing and selling books.

I have worked as an intern at the prestigious publishing house- Aurum Press, London, and
at the Continuum Publishing Group before that. During my internship period, I was rotated
through different departments and gained basic over-all understanding and knowledge of
books production and publicity.

I have also worked as an administrator and receptionist for nine months, during which I
gained experience in data inputting and provided secretarial services ranging from attending
phone calls, taking messages, writing reference letters, etc.

Is there any job vacancy for a bookseller or administrator available currently or in near future
at Waterstones?

I can be available for interviews at any time with my CV.

Kindly let me know as soon as possible. Thank you for your time.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I was 12... was 1983. Auf Wiedersen, Pet was on the telly and the country was mad for all things german. I wasn't quite sure why I liked Nena but I knew I did. I think the song is much better in german but unfortunately this video doesn't have the leather trousers in it. If you're very good I may post that too.

Tattooed Mountain Women and Spoon Boxes of Daghestan in stock NOW!!!

There's a great blog here

We are hoping to bring some of the mountain women over for an event in the near future.

They are keen to share the ritual meal of boiled mutton in broth with ‘khinkal’ cylindrical sausage-shaped dumplings that is accompanied by crushed garlic sauce and crushed walnut sauce with the people of Waterloo...

Official Secrets

Tony Blair continues his "legacy tour" by flying out to xxxxxx xxxxx this afternoon.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

School Rules

Wow, I had a great time in school. Maybe that's where we really belong? I mean, starting a bookshop is not a very "adult" thing to do is it? What with the internet, supermarkets, chain bookshops etc - you'd have to be nuts or have the mentality of a child to do a thing like that wouldn't you!

But I'm straying off track. The school was great. It's another local primary, St Jude's. I felt very guilty about our Potter offer all of a sudden. There are so many great little schools out there and they all seem to have these libraries that, well, let's just say they could do with some new books...

Eileen Browne was there too. I was asked by a small child if I was Eileen the famous author. "No, that's her over there" I said, suddenly painfully aware I was the only man in the room. (Eileen? Oh well.)

Eileen was brilliant. After talking to the children a class at a time she spoke with some of their parents about reading to children. It was great. I learned that schools that spend more money on books achieve better results than schools that put the emphasis on computers. (YAY!) I also learned that the simple act of reading to a child helps their development in all sorts of ways. I thought Handa's Surprise would go over the head of my ten month nipper Finn but according to Eileen he would be fine. I read it to him yesterday and this morning and he did seem to enjoy it.

(When we read We're Going on a Bear Hunt there's a point where they go tip toeing into the cave. Next page the bear appears and they all go running off. Finn turns round to look at me when we get to the cave in anticipation of the scary bear noises I. Great fun.)

So school was fun really and I learned some stuff too.

Get reading to those babies folks - never too young...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Back to School...

I've been up all night shivering and shaking. Why? Today I'm going to school for the first time in years.

I didn't really like school much. It was ok when it consisted of playing footie interspersed with the occasional game of Kiss Chase but when the going got tough, my love for school got going...

In fact I'd better go now or I'll be late!

report back later...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Doctor Doctor - Is there ANYTHING you can do?

I have a problem.

(In fact I have plenty but we're here to discuss just one of them)

I suffer from an irrational loathing of Eggers. Dave Eggers.

Why? I don't understand it. From the first moment I saw A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius come into the shop I hated it. I can't stand McSweeny's. The fact Dave (I shudder) does great and admirable things such as fund non-profit education centres etc is no help.

I just don't trust him...

My ravings have been prompted by the arrival of the UK edition (what took you man?) of What Is The What (Ugh those titles!) and the fact it is weighed down with adoring quotes.

Sorry Dave, I'm sure of two things.

1: You are probably a really good bloke.

2: You don't know (or care) who I am or what I think of you.

But I just had to get it out.


Saturday, May 19, 2007


The latest edition of Smoke - A London Peculiar is in the shop now.

There's a note in the back about how successful they have been in their quest to redefine the phrase "quarterly"...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Top Ten

I haven't done this for a while...

Compare and contrast with the "market share" chasers.

1: What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn

2: On Chesil Beach by Ian McYawn

3: Damned Utd by David Peace

4: Banksy Locations and Tours by Martin Bull

5: Crafter Culture Handbook by Amy Spencer

6: Waterlog by Roger Deakin

7: The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

8: On The Road To Kandahar by jason Burke

9: Ghosts of Spain by Giles Tremlett

10: The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

A list that illustrates the power of indy bookselling I feel. Not only What Was Lost outselling Ian McEwan but Roger Deakin's Waterlog and the Tove "Moomin" Jansson's Summer Book performing well.

...and relax...

The lovely US editions of Chekhov are back in.

Why does that matter? It just does ok. Feels weird without them...

Corporate Scum!

(Quite nice actually).

International accounting behemoth Ernst & Young live in an anonymous brown box on Upper Marsh just tucked behind the railway line. We got a phone call from them just now because they want to support our Harry Potter offer by encouraging staff to buy their copies from us to benefit Johanna Primary down the road.

Bit of a natural fit for them as it turns out as they already do community work with Johanna.

Bit of a natural fit alround really...

Crockatt & Powell/Ernst & Young - partners in crime!

Future, book, the, of

Snaffled from another blog, Bill Gates:

"Reading is going to go completely online. We believe that as we get the smaller form factor, the screen has gotten good enough. Why is reading online better? It's up to date, you can navigate, you can follow links. The ads in the online reading are completely targeted as opposed to just being run-of-print, where many of the readers will find them completely irrelevant. The ads can be in new and richer formats. In fact the only drawbacks of the digital form are the things associated with the device: how big is it, heavy is it, how many hours of power does it have, how much do I have to spend to buy it? But those are things that once you achieve that threshold, in terms of the convenience and the cost, then you see a dramatic change in behavior. Today, for people who read newspapers and magazines, even the most avid PC user probably still does quite a bit of reading on print. As the device moves down in size and simplicity, that will change, and so somewhere in the next five-year period we'll hit that transition point, and things will be even more dramatic than they are today."

And from one of the comments:

"This debate always annoys me. As publishers we need to be thinking beyond content and toward environments and lifestyles - how, why, and where are our customers using our products. How can we make their lives easier or more enjoyable?"

(Thinks) Hmm... Think beyond content... Environment v. lifestyle... The Customer/Product dynamic... Make reading easier and more enjoyable...

No, sorry. That is just one of the stupidest bloody things I've ever heard anyone say.

And I can see the pitch from Gates...

New! Improved! Windows Eugenic edition 2028.

Download your personality onto your hard drive!




We have created a unique 'human' style interface where you can make the most of your amazing self. Tired of organic material? Simple, your brain on our hard drive means never having to go to the toilet again!

Oh gawd, it's only 10 o'clock but I already need a lie down...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Did you order Pizza?

It was the students upstairs.

But now the smell is kind of lingering. Hmmm. Pizza.

Maybe I should have said yes? Do they pay in advance these days? By the time the kids found out the shop would be closed and I would be stuffed. But then the last time I had pizza from Pizza Hut I nearly died...

Do you sell paper serviettes?

Erm, no.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bolano - why I love it - why it won't sell (or maybe it will)

Roberto Bolano's The Savage Detectives is still bloody brilliant, despite the fact I'm taking my time over it.

Having initially predicted massive sales I now have to step back slightly...I love it, but then it is about a bunch of madcap poets/writers. (I just read one of his short stories from Last Evenings on Earth - a collection just published by Harvill/Secker. It concerned two writers who corresponded. They would let each other know about provincial writing competitions they came across. They would enter in the hope of winning some prize money. Soon they were entering the same stories in several competitions, sometimes winning several prizes with the same story. There is obviously a theme emerging - Bolano writes about what he knows!) Just about everyone in the book is involved with books in some way. I obviously live in a little bubble where most of the folk I come into contact with are book fanatics - out there in the wider world there are other things that (quite rightly) concern people. I also think the Savage Detectives is a book that demands concentration and time - once again how many people really want to spend large slabs of time reading and concentrating hard. Having said all that it still could sell loads of copies and just sit around on coffee tables looking like it has been read, the fate of huge swathes of literary fiction I suspect...

David Peace's Tokyo Year Zero, the first in a trilogy, is another matter.

I love David Peace's writing and recently made the bold statement that he was among the finest writers working in the UK today. I have a proof of Tokyo at home. I was avoiding starting it 'cos I'm still immersed in Bolano but last night I thought I would take a peek.


How many writers can grab you by the throat with such delicious savagery? This isn't prose we're talking about it's something new, somewhere between poetry and prose and pure, hearing voices, madness. Terrifying. Superb.

It will sell in massive quantities because folk just will not be able to resist it...

Monday, May 14, 2007


Friday afternoon we caught the train from Paddington down to Bodmin then rode in a taxi all the way to the edge of nowhere (I'm not going to say where because it was SO BEAUTIFUL and one of the best things about it was there was HARDLY ANYBODY THERE)

The journey there and back was long and draining but the complete day, the Saturday, was just perfect. It poured with rain either side but that Saturday was sunny and warm. We saw a gravestone in a churchyard with the legend:

It's a warm wind, the west wind, full of birds' cries;

a quote that says it all really. (Think it's a John Masefield poem that comes from)

A lovely day - Finn climbed his first stairs. He didn't use to be able to climb stairs but now he can. He fell down them on his first attempt while I was immersed in The Savage Detectives but thankfully he was unharmed. Otherwise I would be dead by now, torn to shreds by an angry woman...

Saturday, May 12, 2007


It's that time again. I shall be dipping in and out this evening as I carry on reading the excellent God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens.
One thing's for sure though. I bet whoever wins tonight will not go on to write one of the great breakup songs of all time.

Friday, May 11, 2007

For no particular reason

For reasons too convoluted to bore you with I've posted this short film by Czech animator Jan Svankmajer, The Ossuary. I saw it years ago and eventually got round to visiting the chapel it's set in a few years ago. My jaw never lifted from the floor...

Men are pathetic

So, the Actress was back in. The one Matthew didn't recognise. We've ended up ordering a second-hand book for her from Abe. Normally we charge a fiver 'handling fee' for such services. Are we going to charge her? What do you think? She really is just too damn pretty and we want her to come back. Every day. Oh god we're pathetic.

When I worked in Islington the actress Saffron Burrows used to come in to the Waterstone's quite a bit. My colleague Michael was truly smitten. He used to literally turn to jelly when she was around and never quite managed to get his words out. It was very funny to watch but I understood his pain. We really are useless in the presence of beautiful women and any man who pretends otherwise is a damn liar or, a sociopath.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Hi Lia - here are details of how you can reach C & P from your home in Luebeck, Germany...(I could have put in your postcode and it would have given directions right to the door but I wasn't sure how you might feel about C & P pilgrims from Lambeth coming to visit!)
The map adam added to our website a few days ago is brilliant. It can tell you how to reach the shop from anywhere in the world...

Echos Drown the Conversation Out...

I had a lovely bank holiday weekend. I've been meaning to blog about it ever since but loads of things have prevented me...

What did I do? Very little. Having said that I was at the football on Saturday watching FFC beat the European Champions. Finn was given a free fanzine (There's Only One F In Fulham) for being the youngest fan the bloke had seen that day. The nipper has now seen us lose to Man City, draw with Blackburn and beat Liverpool. I am going to approach the fanzine and see if they want me to write a Knee High view of life at Craven Cottage, written by me but from the point of view of Finn.

Then on Sunday we did hardly anything. I sat in a chair in the kitchen and read every minute I was not needed for acts in aid of a happy family life.

On Monday we also did hardly anything. I sat in a chair in the kitchen and read for every minute I was not needed for acts in aid of a happy family life. But Finn went to sleep during the middle of the day for about three hours.

Bliss! Mary and I were looking at each other at one point during this unheard of period of infant sleep - this is what life used to be like! We did what we wanted to do! (I read books while Mary created Eden out the back door)

So there I am, there were three elements to my pleasure.

1: Alternate drinks of coffee and green tea. I have a new coffee system that involves grinding my own beans then producing the ultimate stove top espresso. Then I drink pots of green tea out of tiny glasses. The Tea is called Moon Palace (like the Paul Auster novel) Then more coffee, then more tea - eat a few dried apricots in between. Fucki*n great.

2: Music. Scott Pack bought an Internet radio ages ago and blogged about the joys of listening to Chinese radio etc. I now have one of these superb gadgets (thanks Mike Leigh!) and am loving listening to Moroccan radio.

3: Books. Three of them. The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano. When I got bored of Mexican poets I would switch to Streetwise by Mohamed Choukri for some Moroccan street life. When that stopped doing the trick it was back to Bolano - coffee for Bolano, tea for Choukri. At the end of the day, now with a glass of wine in hand, I had Platanov's The Fierce and Beautiful World to delight my mind.

Just a perfect weekend. Premiership survival (mid-table mediocrity again next season please!) family stuff and some fantastic reading...

The Potter buzz is building...

We've had a really good response to our Harry Potter 'Buy one get nothing free and no money off' offer. (But half the money is given away!) Lots of pre-orders already - to the extent that we've had to work out a system for collecting names and numbers. This may sound like a simple task but if you knew us...

We also had an e-mail from an author who visited the shop last week and wishes to remain anonymous. Here is an extract,

'...what I wanted to say was I LOVE your Harry Potter campaign, not least because I'm horrified about the lack of books in schools and try to do as much as possible for my own kids schools. I also believe my independent bookshop when I started buying books properly helped me become a writer because I trusted the choice of varied and particular books on offer, and so came across writers I would not normally have picked up.

However as I won't be buying a copy of Harry Potter, I wondered if your local primary school would accept a cheque for £60 which is my fee for a poem in the upcoming Virago Book of Shopping.'

Gives you the warm-fuzzies, doesn't it? I think I'm going to enjoy this...

And here's a link to the recipient of half the Potter money,
Johanna. They're quite chuffed.

And here's our homepage with the offer...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

You there. Yes you. I know what you're doing.

I just love it when a 'customer' blatently stands in the middle of the shop tapping the titles of books into his mobile so he can go home and get them on amazon.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bond Girl? What Bond Girl?

Adam is still laughing at me...

I was wittering on to someone about Patrick Hamilton. We were agreeing about what a great writer he was an then moved on to discuss the coming production of Gaslight (Hamilton's most famous play) at the Old Vic.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a tall, slim woman browsing the fiction section.

I carried on waffling away and the person I was waffling at eventually paid and left the premesis. By this time the tall, slim woman was at the till and Adam was helping her with some research on Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey. I paid enough attention to notice she was rather good looking, but I'm a married man and a bit of a shy lad so I did my usual thing of NOT looking at her...

Of course it was only Rosamund Pike.

Not only is she STARRING in Patrick Halilton's Gaslight at the Old Vic she was a BOND GIRL. A bad one (as in Evil) but still HOT.

Who will I fail to recognise next? Watch this space...I am becomming a running joke!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Little amuses the innocent

Google have let us have a little map so you can find out where we are. If you head here, then click on Find on the left, click on the old map and a new fangly map should pop up.

The cool thing is you can zoom in and out of it and scroll around like a normal google maps thing.

Goddamn if that wasn't the best hour I ever spent fiddling with the site.

(And for more Bank Holiday boredom here is a map of the cycle ride I went on yesterday morning)

Update! If, say, my uncle in Ballymena wanted to find his way to us, from the map page he could type in 'Ballymena' into the search bar at the bottom, he could then click on the 'directions' link on the result and he would get something like this. Just how cool is that, I ask you. Go on, try your own home town and find out how to get to Crockatt & Powell!

This is if you happen to live in Vienna.

How about Malaga?

Or, New York City! (Scroll down to no.38 in the directions)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pottermania comes to SE1 (Thanks to Marie)

So, here's the deal.

The last Harry Potter book is £17.99. WaterstonesTescoAmazonAsda are selling it for £8.99 or thereabouts - pretty much what they pay the publisher.

Here's our offer (as discussed on the 'Lunacy' post below)

Buy HP7 from us at £17.99, we'll pay the publisher and then give £9 to the primary school at the end of Lower Marsh to spend on books for their library.

What an offer!

C'mon folks, cancel you pre-orders at the giants and help us give a little back.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Crockatt & Powell Go Bananas


Tiny bookshop Crockatt & Powell today announced they would be selling bananas for 2p each, making a bunch of five a staggering 10p.

Shares in Tesco plunged 40% at the news.

"If we sell bananas that cheap we will never make any money" moaned the chief exec. I wish we'd never tried selling books...


Event Horizon (and are those really what his nipples look like?)

My sister was up in Liverpool the other weekend. She obviously had a great time as she has been attempting to convince me that I and all my family are Scousers ever since. (The idea seems to be that since my dad lived near Liverpool for a few years when he was a teenager and my auntie hung out at the Cavern club that the whole bunch of us Crockatts are therefore Scousers - Sis I'm a London boy, no doubt about it!)

While she was up there she went to the beach and saw Another Place, Antony Gormley's haunting installation on Crosby Beach. (My mum and dad in their courting days once went for a walk on the beach near there. My mum said to my dad "What are those things that look like sandy turds?" My dad replied "Erm, sandy turds...") But Crosby Beach has clearly gone up in the world and instead of raw sewage they have lovely art.

Anyway she came back to London and arranged to meet Finn and I on the South Bank. Crossing Waterloo Bridge who should she meet but Antony Gormley - or rather a bronze cast of the man, naked of course. Having just encountered the Crosby Beach installation she was a little surprised. Was he following her? (Quite a looker my sis!)

Well we sat down on a bench by the river and Finn proceeded to WOW her with a display of standing up, clapping and falling over. Whaddayouknow but next thing we start seeing Antony all over the place. The river, London skyline and all these Antony Gormley statues staring out over the city...

...brilliant stuff Antony! But are your nipples really that shape?


Sheer bloody lunacy.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I've got a bike, you can ride it if you like, it's a present from mike

It's carbon fibre and it's really, really fast.

Bills? What bills?

Web 2.0 an' stuff

Can anyone explain to me what essentially is the difference between Second Life and Dungeons and Dragons?

Maybe this will help.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I'm trying to write a newsletter...

...but too many people want to chat about books!