The Aardvark Blog
Vagaries of Summer
Vagaries of Summer
Every year I go into the summer thinking that I can get lots of long-term projects done, and each year I am reminded again how busy the summer gets and how difficult it is to attempt new initiatives when the shop is full of people. I am aware that this could be described as an unproblem, as the whole point of having a shop is to welcome people in. All retailers are really still playing shop in the way that we did when we were children, and actual people are much more fun to serve than recalcitrant teddies and stuffed orange monkeys.
And then there is another problem that stems from the very peculiar personality of Mr Aardvark. How shall I put this? I like people and I like talking to people and learning about their lives, and in the summer the shop is full of really interesting people who represent a kind of temptation that is far more tempting than the proper work that I am meant to be doing.
For instance the other day I took a call in which a charming voice reminded me that I had agreed to take some books that she had for sale and that I was meant to call back and arrange a time for this and that since I hadn't, could that time be today at 2.30pm. And when the said person arrived and started to unload the boxes of books out came 8 copies of a Cyril Hare book in German, at which point I discovered that I was in the presence of no less an eminence than the granddaughter of Cyril Hare himself. Now I completely understand that to most people this would mean very little, but to we poor besotted creatures whose hearts beat to the drum of between the wars Golden Age crime novels, there is no greater name than Cyril Hare. Yes, Cyril Hare, author of 'With a Bare Bodkin' and 'An English Murder' ! Now I know that there are some poor fools out there who, as they read this, will rudely come forward and seek to make the case for Michael Innes, or Margery Allingham or even (God help us) Edmund Crispin, but let us take pity on such fallen and wayward souls, look upon their works and despair. No, Cyril Hare was and remains the non pareil. I was thinking at this point of quoting from C Porter's 'You're the Top', but truly one can weaken any case by showing off too much.
But actually all the above is not really the point of the story. The P of the S is that as we got talking I asked the lady how it came about that a senior Crown Court Judge - which CH was - had come to lower himself from his Parnassian state to become the scribbler of detective stories. And guess what: it all came about because CH was in danger of being seriously embarrassed in the readies department by having been sued for £5,000 by a Swedish opera singer for breach of promise. Yes, how perfect is that? Take that in your pipe and smoke it, Edmund Crispin.
And my point, ladies and gentlemen, is this. How can proper work ever seek to compete with learning stories like the above.
Before I go, I need to point out that a) we have a brilliant Vide Grenier on the 28th of August at which there will be 40+ stalls and live music from the incomparable Jack Brett and Red Madog and b) that less than a week later we are opening one of the most interesting H.Art shows that we have ever put together. Cover your walls in post it notes, or tie knots in hankies, but whatever you do, do not miss out on all the fun.
Published by Aardvark Books Ltd on (modified )
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