Out and about this week – distributing flyers for the new series of seminars on book-collecting, which kicks off at Senate House (London University) next Tuesday with a session from the well-known and formidably articulate Rick Gekoski. In a trade full of good talkers, he is still the best.
Not part of the safari proper – too many people away at the book fair in California – and flying visits to too many ABA members’ premises to write about properly. A list rather than a blog for this week – began at Jarndyce – no-one there yet – stuffed some flyers through the letterbox. On to Senate House itself, where I exchanged a bundle of the flyers for an equivalent number of similar flyers for the London Rare Books School. On to Stephen Foster in Bell Street – flyers left, quick chat about the ABA. Tried to persuade him to stand in the forthcoming elections for the ABA Council – something I would ask you all to consider (we badly need some new blood).
Down to Jonathan Potter’s new premises in George Street, between Baker Street and Marylebone High Street. Descended from his eyrie above Bond Street, Jonathan returns to ground-floor retail premises in an interesting part of the world too long neglected by the rare book and map trade – we all wish him well. Southwards to Bond Street and more flyers dropped off at Marlborough Rare Books and Pickering & Chatto – the size of their lift makes me seriously consider a diet. Onwards to Maggs Bros. in Berkeley Square – quick cup of coffee with Carl Williams in the Maggs tea-room (think downstairs rather than upstairs). Going to Maggs is always a bit like visiting royalty (which in the book trade they are) – and not just because they hold the royal warrant as Purveyors of Rare Books and Manuscripts to the Queen. But no time to stop. A quick word with Rachel Heslop at the splendid Heywood Hill in Curzon Street. Speedy stop in Sotheran’s – and pop upstairs to the ABA Office in passing. Across Piccadilly to Thomas Heneage and Sims Reed in Duke Street. Round the corner to Daniel Crouch Rare Books in Bury Street. And then across the dug-up Leicester Square to see our nine ABA shops in Cecil Court. More than enough for one day – a glass of wine (or two) with Tim Bryars, Ken Fuller (Marchpane) and Angus O’Neill (Omega Bookshop) en route for home.
Out again in earnest on Saturday. Leave a hundred flyers for our friend Tim Pye at the British Library. Down to Victoria. Amble into Sangorski & Sutcliffe in Rochester Row – Rob Shepherd’s away in California, but a quick chat with Kim Pooley. Across to Classic Bindings in Cambridge Street. Circle Line round to Adrian Harrington’s in Kensington Church Street – slightly odd conversation with Pierre Lombardini about what we might call a tête-bêche binding in English. Back to Robert Frew – Robert away in Pasadena, but his assistant greatly looking forward to Tuesday’s seminar. Down to Peter Harrington – try to sell Ian a copy of British Map Engravers. Across the road to Charles Russell (Russell Rare Books) – interesting conversation about how the rare book world has changed in our time – the demise of the runner – the loss of certainty as to what will sell and for how much. Food for thought – a topic to return to. Buy a book and bump into Barry McManmon down for a bookfair. And – by now seriously footsore – one final stop at the World’s End Bookshop on the King’s Road. Bus home in time for tea. Feet up by the fire.
Do come along and enjoy the seminars – and if you would like some flyers, there are some left. Just let me know.