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.


Reopening Monday 29th June

The fateful day is almost upon us, and we still have much to do. Nevertheless, we will be open tomorrow at 10 am, and we be closing at 3pm.

Our full hours for next week are:

Monday: 10 – 3

Tuesday: Closed

Wednesday: 10 – 3

Thursday: Closed

Friday: 10 – 3

Saturday: 10 -3

Sunday: Closed

We will see how that goes and make any necessary adjustments in due course.

Fingers crossed and stay lucky!

Well, it’s been a while…

Were I to trot out all the excuses for not updating our blog over the last however long (I dare not check), it would no doubt appear that I had a very large dog with an insatiable appetite for homework. This is not the case (although I do have an ever-growing child with an infinite aversion to homework).

Anyway, as you have all no doubt noticed, things have been in a strange state (no, not Kansas) of suspended animation since the Coronavirus lockdown started on 23rd March, and since we are now looking towards reopening on or around Monday 29th June, it seemed as good a moment as any to reanimate this blog and provide some thoughts, and hopefully useful, information on where we’re at and where things might go from here.

First of all, I have to say that lockdown has been absolutely brilliant. Not having had a holiday since November 2018, the global pandemic could not have come at a better time for me personally. I appreciate that some might see this as a rather selfish view, no doubt compounded by the fact that I have, for the most part, been able to do what I normally like to do on holiday: stay inside, read books & avoid people.

Now, with the new environment in which we find ourselves, it is quite possible that we’ll be able to continue to do all three of those things once the shop is open again! In fact, we’re still being positively encouraged to avoid people.

This brings us to some of the logistics of reopening. Those of you who know that shop will be well aware that it is not the most spacious of premises. Waterstones Piccadilly it is not. If we are all still being expected to maintain a six foot distance (I find it helps to think of it as a coffin’s length), it will probably mean that we can accommodate a maximum of two customers in the shop at a time. This is double the number we normally have in at any one time, so we should be able to cope.

Hand sanitiser will be provided at the entrance to the shop, and any further relevant instructions will be prominently displayed. Whichever bookseller is working/reading/avoiding people will be behind a glass or perspex screen. Frankly, this is something I should have done to them years ago.

We will only be accepting card payments when we reopen, although this is only likely to be a temporary move. We are charged by our facilities provider on a percentage basis per transaction, so there is no minimum payment requirement.

We will not have any bags available for purchases, so please remember to bring your own.

Our opening hours are likely to vary, and it possible that the hours we’ve kept for the last four years may need to be revised. Unlike this blog, we do try to keep our hours up to date on various listing sites, but our  Facebook page  is usually the best place to check for anything that’s happening at short notice – this note should also appear there and on our Twitter feed as well.

We will probably have more information over the next week or so as we finalise our plans, but in the meantime, stay safe and keep reading.

The horror, the horror…


This is all because of my ex-father in-law, Gus. Gus is a  good egg, a fine chap, a decent bloke, and (as indeed is his daughter these days) a man’s man. He likes his fiction red in tooth and claw, the bloodier the better, and, preferably spiced with a modicum of sexual deviancy. Needless to say, occult religious practices and a glowing review from Colin Wilson are de rigueur if a book is to come up to scratch.

About a month or so ago, Gus phoned me. I’d not spoken to him in several years, and I knew his health had not been great, so I did initially wonder from which side of the grave he was calling. To cut a long and slightly repetitive phone call short, we now have in the shop more works of horror fiction than I could ever possibly want (no word of a lie there). Hence, for the first time, a dedicated space for horror. Note that the picture only shows the first thirty or so titles that have been sorted out – there’s about another 150 to go.

The sale of these books (mostly at £2 each) is going to fund Gus’s continued supply of (and reliance upon) Lidl’s finest Queen Margot blended scotch. I reckon another six to eight litres should see him right.


Isn’t it about time you updated your website?

Well, yes. Yes it is. A couple of weeks ago we celebrated, almost simultaneously, the second anniversary of taking over the shop and the first anniversary of our last posting on this site.

There hasn’t really been much excuse for this (apart from Events, dear boy, and all that sort of thing), and there’s no real guarantee that our next appearance will not be another year away.

However, we are still here, in all our Luddite glory, selling books without the aid of an e-commerce site (one day, eventually, don’t withhold breath).

As you were.


Robert’s been working for the book squad

Bob, our moral conscience and wine-imbibing voice of reason, was out on manoeuvres this weekend. I arrived at the shop this morning to find these three bags of books, the fruits of his hunter/gathering efforts.


It’s only been a couple of days since we took in about 150 books on ornithology. I think it must nearly be time to build a book-based exoskeleton.

The Behemoth


This is the Behemoth, a soul-eating radiogram. It gurgles and snarls on its mantle-piece in the shop and occasionally picks up Radio 3 or a small child. It has always been here, and probably always will be. The shop itself has been hewn out of the very web it wove about itself in the primordial swamp of unconscious existence. Or Dorset, as the natives call it.

Its manifold voices, those of the damned and other light entertainers, baffle the air with their whispered demands – I’ll have an E please Bob – and coil in the dusty beams of bookshop half-light, echoing like disdaining bells calling the unfaithful to prayer.

I’ve had too much coffee today and I don’t want to do my paperwork.

Sod off, farewell…

It’s been a while, but as my regular reader (hi mum!) will remember, we were encountering a little local difficulty with the company who were supplying us with card payment facilities. To avoid any embarrassment, I’ll simply refer to them as “SodOff” from here on. (If you’re that interested, you can read the extended correspondence here: ).

Anyway, having been invited by SodOff to register a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman, it was with a heavy heart that I proceeded to do so. Not because of any reluctance to complain, but the simple foreknowledge that if an organisation invites you to complain to their regulatory body, they must be reasonably confident of the likely outcome.

Even so, if the email I received from their director of Risk & Compliance was anything to go by, SodOff still appeared to think that my complaint was about their T&Cs, whereas it was almost entirely to do with the way in which their “support” team had dealt with my account.

I was however unsurprised when, as surely as night follows day, the Ombudsman’s report found that although “the level of customer service [SodOff] provided could have been better”,  in terms of adherence to their T&Cs, SodOff had done nothing wrong. Which is a bit like saying that the celebration of the Passover in the Third Reich “could have been more enthusiastic”.

The Ombudsman went on to say that SodOff “admitted that their responses could’ve been better and [they] have agreed to apologise  via email”. I suppose it was too much to hope for something with emojis and a dancing gif signature, but there we are.

I am relatively sanguine about all this because in the interim we have arranged for card payment services to be provided by another company (iZettle), who in distinct contrast to SodOff, were able to set up an account, verify my identity and get the whole thing rolling inside 48 hours.

What does still concern me (even if it doesn’t concern the Ombudsman) is that SodOff’s “support” team have (as can be seen from the correspondence) lied, dissembled, prevaricated and simply refused to answer relevent questions. Which is, I feel, hardly conduct becoming of a financial services provider.