Aug. 24th, 2002

bookshop

Aug. 24th, 2002 11:15 pm
incandescens: (Default)
While in town today, I spent some time in a second-hand bookshop. One could have said that it was perfect of its type, but then one would have to face a demand to define "perfect of its type", which would involve defining the type, not to mention the philosophical question of what, if anything, can be perfect.

It's the staircase that I remember most. The walls were painted a faded aquamarine, and you could see the bumps and dents and little nicks in the paint and the walls beneath. Little placards with famous quotes about books and writing were interspersed with old prints and postcards. The stairs were wood, with a thin central pale green carpet stripe up the centre, perhaps a metre wide, bounded at either edge with a metal strip to hold it firm to the stairs. They ascended in a tight spiral, perhaps 2-3 metres each way before an angle. Every fourth side faced a back street and had a window overlooking it: sash windows, white-painted wood. The windows were clean on the inside, dirty on the outside.

At every first and second angle (out of every four) one had a room. Of these rooms, the first would be small, 3-4 metres a side, bookcases crammed against the walls in a desperate struggle to maximise the amount of shelf space. The second room would be about twice the size, lying parallel to the first, with a couple of long tables down the middle that would permit an additional display of books.

Of course the books were generally at least ten years old, and mostly older. What else should they have been? Em (Em, if you're reading this, I'm thinking of you) would have loved it; bad books everywhere, or at least books who might have been observed slinking into dens of depravity on Saturday evenings while hiding their faces from the offended gaze of morality. Or, at the very least, books which were not new paperbacks.

I had sushi for supper, albeit the castrated English sushi which is produced from rice and equivocating fish such as smoked salmon, whose duty is to please the timorous folk who get all nervous at the thought of eating raw fish, and which is served in a plastic box at supermarkets.

I am now drinking absinthe, which may account for some of my descriptive turns. Someone point out a building, I feel like driving the English language into it and watching the flames and carnage.

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