Monday 10 November 2014

Sunday 26 October 2014

Trainspotting some thoughts on railway books in my bookshop.

If ah git thit kind ah dosh ah'd git ah git train baks fir masel n gie one tae ma auld pa.

The top burds cannae keep away from bak loaded lads in anoraks.

Findin ah woman n hir lookin eftir the bairns, wi mi in mi shed, thit's the scene fir me.

Sorry about that, wrong title for a moment there, I have got slightly diverted into reading about the early days of railways from the perspective of railway books published around 125 years ago.

As there doesn’t seem to much newsworthy going on in Thanet at the moment and I didn’t manage to produce a blog post yesterday, here we go.

Back in the 1960s when I first became interested in and to some extent involved in bookselling, for the most part bookshops and most books were aimed at that part of English society which I will loosely class as above “working class”.

At some point or another, probably in the late 60s people in the publishing and bookselling world realised that book ownership wasn’t really a class based thing, the main mover in this was Paul Hamlyn, who started Hamlyn books. Later on he bought Odhams, with the associated Sun Printers and the associated union problems so he sold out and founded Octopus books.

I guess I think of this as the hamburger effect, Paul originally christened Paul Bertrand Wolfgang Hamburger, revolutionised the cookery book world by introducing something pretty much unheard of at the time the, test kitchen. This meant that at the proofing stage, someone was sent into the kitchen with a newly typeset cookery book and told to cook and test all the recipes in the book.

Another thing he introduced into the publishing and bookselling world was market research. What that meant in practice was that instead of sitting in their offices waiting for authors to come along with manuscripts, the editors would actively look for demand. So for instance, they would determine that there was a demand for book priced at £1.99 on sports cars in A4 format with 200 pages and 100 coloured pictures and then actively go out looking for authors, publishers and printers to produce it.

Previously most of the quality non fiction books had been priced in guineas increments of £1.05, in fact recently I found an example of overstickering publisher madness that suggests a strong desire to return to the past.

Now of course the nonfiction book buying fraternity – those who have interests beyond the obvious universal sex and death interest – to the point of having a collection of books about the subject they are interested in, is pretty much classless.

Anyway back to the railway books, we do have a small railway book section in my bookshop and also some older scarcer railway books, which the more discerning enthusiast has to ask for.

Anyway one of my jobs is called collation, which means with the more expensive books, checking that they have all their pages, hence my diversion into railway books.

Now back in the day when I was at school, the school libraries that I encountered mostly contained books that fall into the category I would describe as boring, but one of the had a marvellous book about trains, which had foldout illustrations showing the plumbing of locomotives.

I am not sure if one of the railway books I collated this week was exactly the same as the one in the school library, certainly most of the books it contained were very out of date, so 1880 to 1900 would be about right, but I suddenly found myself sucked back into the very early days of railways viewed from about this time.

Friday 24 October 2014

Supper at The Canterbury Bell, Westwood Cross, TDC’s Chief Executive Exonerated, followed by my evening of armchair carpentry from my bookshop, a ramble.

Friday evening is when the members of the fairer sex in my family retire to Westwood Cross, I haven’t passed my basic clothes shopping test yet, so I sit outside and sketch.

After this. Is experience the right word? Purgatory comes to mind. We repaired to WC’s new hostelry, The Canterbury Bell, we had several people of the junior persuasion accompanying us and this resolved into one of our better culinary departures.

Sorry about the rather flowery language, explanation further on.

I would say for a reasonable dining experience with children at under a tenner a head then The Canterbury Bell is one I would recommend, however it is very busy and if you don’t book in advance you may have to wait for a table. So use their website

I did the inevitable quick sketch.

The council TDC that is, have accepted the report of the DIP, sorry council speak: The complaint against the council’s Chief Executive, Sue McGonigal has been dismissed as unfounded following an investigation by a Designated Independent Person (DIP).

Anyone who has forgotten all this, we are looking at the time when the council’s last solicitor went and his notes on the activities of the chief executive leaked into the public domain.    

Next to what I hope will become regular bookseller’s rambles, or perhaps at least the ravings of a deranged shop assistant.

I have moved on from canals to carpentry and am busily engaged in armchair carpentry, I am reading “Practical carpentry, joinery, and cabinet-making [by P. Nicholson. by P. Nicholson, revised by T. Tredgold.” The edition we have in stock at the moment is the 1847 one. So in case you haven’t a copy to hand here are a few pictures from the book. 

Something that occurred to me was just how primitive the tools of this period were. Unfortunately this book doesn't have pictures of the tools and the only book I have in stock that does is a little earlier. However I hope the pictures from it will give you some idea. 

As you see it is written in a rather condescending tone so probably won’t be reading this one. 

Thursday 23 October 2014

Blog from the bookshop some sketches of Margate, dodgy till receipts that give you cancer and anything else I can think of to ramble about.

First off I should like to stress that I don’t use thermal printing anywhere and certainly not in the till so you stand no risk of getting cancer from the bookshop’s till receipts  Granted there can be dangers in buying books, but this isn’t one of them.

I also don’t use one of those UV money checkers which I am fairly convinced can give you cancer of the retina.

My day off today and I went to Margate to look at some books, went to Turner Contemporary to look at the Jeremy Deller exhibition again, this is a bit like Chinese food, you have a meal and after a fairly short time you are hungry again.

I had a Children's Ploughmans in the gallery cafe which is a fancy cheese sandwich which costs about £5 but does give a particularly good view for sketching, although the sketches didn't come out very well so i didn't bother to colour them.   

There is also a Platform Graduate exhibition (new Kent artists) here are the pictures of their artworks

Then a sketch from the car in Margate

It was at this point that i realised I had a problem with my felt tip pen and went to Lovelys the art shop in Northdown Road where i bought a different pen.
 The one I had been using is the one in the middle, it started out like the one at the top, but the tip gets pointed making it very difficult to sketch with, I am hoping that the one at the bottom, much more expensive won't do this.

What are you reading at the moment? I am reading a book about The Great Ouse, this is a river that I once had a boat on. Well to be honest it's much more a canal, one of the most canaled river systems.

There are a few canal books on the shelf in my bookshop at the moment so I may read another.
It has a fairly large Maritime section.

I am starting to get the feel of the new felt tip I think, it's an Edding 1600 that says 01 on the end.

I also bought this
 which is the business end of a watercolour brush
I am vaguely wondering if you can repair a worn out one.

Inevitably on to Manston apparently a team from RiverOak are in Thanet and there is both an new page on their website about Manston and there isn’t

So here is the RiverOak website with no plan for Manston and here is the RiverOak new UK website with a plan for Manston and even more bizarrely here is where the new plan for Manston was yesterday

Perhaps there are now two RiverOaks in the way that there were two SFPs however what this all means is anybody’s guess. 

All of the pictures of aircraft that were on their .com site earlier in the week have gone as have all the stuff about airport on their alternative assets page.

I will ramble on here

Wednesday 22 October 2014

A bad moment on the blog

Sorry about this but I have just inadvertently deleted the last 100 comments, about four days worth, I ticked the wrong box on the computer screen and selected the whole page of 100 comments instead of just the one comment I wanted to delete.

Anyway as I have been saying recently I am very busy working in my bookshop at the moment and frankly I really haven’t got the time to manage the blog comments.

The comment isn’t particularly bad at the moment, it’s just that I don’t have time to read it all carefully, so I have just set it on registered users only, the idea here is that combined with moderation this should mean a considerable reduction in comment.

The underlying problem at the moment is that I have been buying more books than I usually do, I can’t chose the amount of good books that I get the opportunity to buy, and like busses you don’t get many for ages and then a lot turn up at the same time.

I will leave it there with a few pictures around my bookshop which will be closed tomorrow because it is Thursday