Just been chatting to a friend I used to work with in the bookshop in Canterbury. She, by a strange coincidence, was also from Falmouth, and has now moved back down here, where she now manages a local bookshop. Anyway she asked if I could help her out with a few days a week, but unfortunately I would be even less reliable than I ever used to be, as I'm constantly having to vanish up to London to... well, buy comics really.
I did, for just a few seconds, consider helping out unpaid for a few hours a week just for the pleasure of hanging around a bookshop again. Then I remembered: customers. Ew. Still, I've helped her out with a list of proper decent graphic novels and SF stuff which would turn round a rather moribund section, and more importantly, Actually Sell.
But the whole conversation did remind me of an excellent conversation I had once with one of a group of workmen who were redecorating the Canterbury bookshop after hours. I was tootling about reshelving, doing returns and so forth, only to become aware of a Workman, gazing shyly at me in a working class sort of way* from the other side of the True Crime section.
WORKMAN: Mate- while I've got you, I was particularly looking for ‘Mein Kampf’.
ME: Errr... okay.
WORKMAN: Don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with the ideology.
ME: Oh. Well. Good.
WORKMAN: No, what interests me is the forcefulness of his phrasing. The rhythms of his diction. How one man was able to sway a nation, if you like.
WORKMAN: I’ve got nothing against the Jews. My last wife was a Jew.
WORKMAN: Mind you, I fucking hated her.
ME: (weakly) I’ll go and see what they’ve got.
I run away.
* Mind you, as a skilled tradesman he'd be earning probably twice as much as me at this point. And still does, I suspect.