I am indebted to a story on the back page of the latest Times Literary Supplement for telling me what is happening on my own street. Naturally I knew that two venerable Charing Cross Road bookshops closed in the last few months but I had not noticed the 'blue plaques' displayed in their windows until the polymaths at the TLS pointed them out (and incidentally gave our shop a bit of a puff**.) Here are the 2 plaques below...
Hopefully with rents kept at their present levels ( surely this is a very bad time to increase rents with commercial property values in freefall) and shoppers still willing to put on their clothes and leave home to walk down the streets into real shops, the remaining bookshops will be here well past the Boris Olympics, and into the roaring 2020s. Farewell Murder One ( finally booked) and the great Shipley Art book emporium soon to re-open in fancier premises, I am reliably informed.
The Shipley plaque says - ' A mecca for art lovers frequented by the likes of John Berger, Peter Blake, Annie Leibovitz and Susan Sontag. After 25 years of trading it closed its doors at 70 Charing Cross Road on Christmas Eve 2008' and the Murder One notice reads 'The UK's first and only specialist crime and mystery bookshop owned by the acclaimed author Maxim Jakubowski. Here it thrived for 21 years before being forced to close due to internet competition.' However as J W Dunne was fond of pointing out 'Nothing really dies' and Shipley will continue (see above) and as the little yellow notes around Murder One's plaque proclaim - 'Don't despair call Murder One ... for collecting books at our new premises located at Hoxton Square...' Their website proclaims that '...we are only an online bookshop and mail order, and get books in only for customer orders. So, if you stop by looking for books, the best we'll be able to offer you is a cup of tea!' From bricks to clicks.
** '...under a blueish crowd, we reached Any Amount of Books. Once occupying two neighbouring shops, it is now crammed into one, but of the best kind: higgledy - pi=ggledy, serendipitous, bargain-bountiful. We could fill a bookcase with flotsam and jetsam from the pound-a-book barrows outside...' TLS 3/4/09. 'Higgledy - piggledy, serendipitous, bargain-bountiful...' As Smashie and Nicey used to say 'wise words indeed...'