The Aardvark Blog
All the Fun of the Fair, May Car Boot
All the Fun of the Fair, May Car Boot
Incredibly it has been nearly a month since my last blog (I sometimes feel about blogs the way Catholics feel about confession - I really don't do it often enough and when I do there is never enough time and space to get down everything I want to say).
Last week Ethel and I had our annual London Book Fair experience, which was greatly enlivened by our being helped by the inimitable Peter Burden, long-time friend of the shop, whom I had lured to the fair on what turned out to be an entirely fraudulent basis. Great talking to publishers and meeting up with old friends, but the current building works make getting in and out of Olympia almost impossible. So bad was it that even the security guards were sympathetic when they saw me helping to dismantle stands and carry panels out of the fair. Ethel did the BA conference part of the fair - including the BA AGM - and she tells me that the numbers of bookshops continue to grow. This is fantastic news as I confess a few years ago we thought we might be the last bookshop standing - I had visions of Charlton Heston in the Omega Man (don't ask - my boarding school showed a very strange group of films every Saturday night, of which this was one of the better examples). But now lots of young people are rashly opening bookshops across the country and bringing the light and cultural sunshine that only a bookshop can to the gloom of the modern-day high street.
Still, we didn't get back until 2.30am on Friday morning so my apologies to anyone who encountered the Arthur apparition in the shop on Friday. I realise that I was making even less sense than usual, but fortunately Ethel and Lucy were in good form which I hope evened things up somewhat. Our trip to LBF does however mean that the piles of books for me to process are even larger than previously. However I have managed to start on the wonderful selection of British Library titles that we acquired, so visitors to the shop will no longer be confronted by P G Wodehouse (those books have gone upstairs), but instead find themselves gazing at tons of vintage crime, horror and science fiction. Also, a marvellous new Women Writers series which has some fantastic titles like 'A Pin to See the Peep Show' and Penelope Mortimer's follow up to The Pumpkin Eaters. Utterly fab.
But now to business. We have our first full car boot on Bank Holiday Monday the 1st of May. We have a good number of stalls booked already, but there are still spaces so if you have never done one of our Car Boots before, why not give it a try? There will be a second chance to boot on the last Sunday of the month (28th May) for anyone who misses out on the 1st. A full list of events, including our brilliant H.Art exhibition is available on this website in the events section. Be there or be quadrangly.
But I want to end by going back to Peter Burden. Peter has had many decades of experience as an author and ghost writer with the publishing industry and it was great to hear about publishing from his side of the fence. Just as all good bookshops are built from the stardust of shops that have preceded them, so publishing houses have a heritage in terms of people and books that are the 7/8ths that you can't see from ground level. Hearing him talking about deals made and opportunities missed made me think about my dad who was also an inveterate bookman, and also my godfather Allan Prior, who was probably the only person I have met who could match Peter for an anecdote. There are a million stories in the big city and it has been one of the privileges of my life to have heard some of them told by people who knew the value of a good story.
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