Ampersands, et cetera

You really can’t beat a good ampersand. Or a bad one for that matter. As with many endangered species they’re protected by law. They no longer flourish in their native habitats, and web page addresses and online forms appear to have barred their use. “Your password must contain a mixture of upper and lower case letters plus a character. No, not an ampersand”.

We happen to like ampersands, and now that the summer has arrived with its welcome and familiar sights and sounds – flying ants approaching in squadron formation like the RAF over Dresden in 1944, the gentle thwack of leather on widow (and the gentle ripple of applause in appreciation of a well-made stroke), – the time is at hand for us to do our bit for the ampersand. Hence this:

As with all our design stuff, this was worked up for us by Laura & Bob at Sheenan Bright – Bob did the original signage for the shop eleven years ago, and it is testament to the soundness of his original design that it still works extremely well for us.

We are not ampersanding up just for the sheer rock’n’roll hell of it (although, naturally, that did play a small part in our deliberations). Things are planned for which this ampersand is needed. Of which more at a later date.

Not that new, but not that normal

By about lunchtime last Thursday, I was beginning to realise that not much had really changed. The first day of the cricket season had been punctuated by rain delays, and England had then staggered to 87-5, having won the toss and chosen both to bat and also to leave our arguably most effective bowler in such conditions out of the starting eleven. Discussions can always be had as to whether individual batsmen play better off their front or back foot, but when decision making is concerned, the long history of English cricket tends to devolve to the question of whether to put the bullet in the right or left foot.

On the other hand, the fact that I was following the Test Match on a mid-week day off from the shop was a reminder that not everything was as before. We’ve now been open for two weeks, but only for eight actual days’ trading. It still seems like a sort of holiday (bookselling: more of a vacation than a vocation). We’re not alone in this; a quick stroll up and down South Street showed that most of our fellow independent businesses have chosen to limit their opening hours, settling for the most part on an entirely civilised 5 hours or so of opening per day with many, like ourselves, not reopening for the full 6 days a week of retail hell customer-facing fun.

It’s certainly doing wonders for the work/life balance, if not yet the business account balance. How long this brave new world will last is anyone’s guess, but some things are inevitable. As surely as night follows day, the West Indies wrought a fine victory in the opening Test, and the very first person through the shop door on reopening day asked “are you buying books at the moment?”

Tom Gauld – The Snooty Bookshop

20200704_115407Ahoy there Guardianistas! Some kind soul flogged me a copy of Tom Gauld’s excellent postcard book “The Snooty Bookshop”, which I didn’t properly check, and which I now find is several postcards short. Caveat Emptor! (Oh, the irony).

Anyway, we’ve now got about 48 lovely Tom Gauld postcards which have been filleted from the book. Literary humour at its finest, 50p per card, haggling available for multiple purchases.

Situated on the counter between the Magical Card Payment Device and The Homunculus.