Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Stalking Authors, Smelly Bookshops and Conversation

Spent quite a bit of time yesterday in Richard's ( favourite secondhand bookshop; the Oxfam bookshop in Hastings. I can confirm it really is rather wonderful, and the people working or standing there like they work, but would not want to confirm it do have rather peculiar conversations. Yesterday it was about a variety of topics including how health and safety checks are there to catch you out, the danger of carrying too many books (topical given the location) and what they were going to have to drink; tea or coffee and when. I did notice that the fact that is is not a normal Oxfam, but a bookshop meant that more men worked there. Which is nice as they should not feel excluded from voluntary sector retail work.

However, it was slightly smelly, well actually very smelly, of course I couldn't say for sure whether it was staff or customers that needed a good wash. And maybe, there were valid reasons for not washing, like, um, living rough or, not having access to soap or something. But it was a bit off putting. I did find that the back of the shop, away from the customer/staff people was more manageable though.

And I was delighted with the selection in there. I bought a copy of 'Our Bodies, Ourselves', the seminal women's health book written by the Boston Health Co-operative. Fascinating, but rather scary stuff. I also bought a very old book called 'Doing up a Dump', which was great, very early eighties ideas but lovely for budget decorating tips. Might start a collection of old decorating books actually, do love them, and plan to learn to make own rag rugs this winter, or next.

Finally I bought a diet book that I'd heard of the other day by India Knight and Neris Thomas. Now I'm turning in to a big India Knight fan, I read her in the Times; I've got both her novels; and I adore her frugal living book. This diet is just great, really it is a combination of all low carb but high fat diets but with a slightly healthy living slant, some real tips (i.e. it allows you to drink wine and vodka in the second stage) and accepts pizza cravings as normal (you can pick the toppings off and eat them). So I'm going to try it, soon, do need to have an awful lot of vitamins first though, so might have to save up for them as seems a bit rubbish spending whole family food budget on butter and cream with vitamins and nothing for the rest of them.

If it works I really will be tempted to make friends with India Knight; reminds me of when my friend Rach and I realised one of our Sociology lecturers was actually mildly famous, and we used to walk past her office frequently so we could bump in to her. Weirdly enough she left soon after, and we never met the mildly famous lecturer. Possibly due to strange eighteen year olds who were over impressed at idea of meeting a real live feminist sociologist and muttered outside her door, possibly after drinking Snakebite and Black.

Anyone met an author hero?


Richard de pesando MA(RCA) said...

yes, yes, yes - but what is that terrible smell???

Its much worse in the religion and classics sections, near the door that lead upstairs ....probably to Dennis Nielsons flat.

Anonymous said...

I have met Arnost Lustig. Very interesting person. Have also met various other authors though dare I insult them by saying they only tended to write popular fiction. Terry Pratchett is probably the one I'll say is least like that I imagined.

As for the smell in Oxfam its been there for yonks, reminds me slightly of rotten cheese. Maybe the mice have stashed some?

Richard de pesando MA(RCA) said... of my mates looks after Patrick Gale's house and dogs in Cornwall when he is away, but he works in publishing and has met loads of flashy publishing people, I've never met any proper writers...they probably see me coming.

tattyhousehastings said...

Oh, now I feel bad - I thought it was the people who smelt! Or at least one of them.
I also met Terry Pratchett - not keen on his hat, or his need for if I remember it correctly prawn sandwiches from Marks.
And you've met many other famous people so you win on the famous by association account Richard. Oh, and I met Edwina Curry once and liked her a lot. Although found her legs quite scary.

tattyhousehastings said...

Oh, and this is weird - looked up Patrick Gale thinking I'd heard of him and connecting him to Tales of the City. Weirdly he is friends with Armistead Mauphan (or however you spell that). Would have liked to met him too, but harshly probably a few years ago...

Anonymous said...

Got to ask, why are her legs scary?

tattyhousehastings said...

She wears, or used to, in the early nineties anyway, smart tops like jackets, pencil skirts, then high heels. Her legs are technically very good, but too small for a square - ish top. Plus they have visible lumps in them, like, well muscles I guess, but still scary.