Monmouth coffee in the sun outside Fork in Marchmont St - sublime. Reading Kevin Jackson's Constellation Of Genius, which I've just bought from Judd Books, one of the town's few remaining great bookshops, especially for Art. A random dip reveals that on 16 October (the book is a collection of events from each month in 1922) The Criterion magazine was the first to publish T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land. If that doesn't amount to a hard sell, sorry, but if you get it, you'll be dipping and enjoying it as much as me, I'm sure.
Fit-looking girl in proper Lycra cycling gear whizzes past in the cycle lane - the Great Lycra Conspiracy continues! Girls in Lycra have been sent out onto the streets of London in a (successful) bid to foil my obviously foolish desire not to become a Dirty Old Man. But by whom? Whoever is behind it has organised a cycling division of the 'army', obviously, because a few weeks ago another girl in proper Lycra cycling gear rode in front of me as I waited to enter the street - she happened to be going my way, honest, it's my Work route - so I followed, not too closely, that was impossible because she was a proper cyclist, her lithe frame pushing the pedals with ease whilst I puffed and panted twenty yards behind. Turns out she was a Dulwich Paragon, as stated on the back of her jacket, which was part of their impressive sky blue 'uniform', as I later discovered. Not that I lingered on the site looking for more girls, honest.
A girl pushing a pram goes by - I hear her say "Especially, like, arty literature ones" to the boy she's with. I wonder what she's discussing...books? No, you wouldn't describe books that way...people? Arty literature people? Nah. The more I think about the 'ones' she's talking about, the less I can begin to guess. Presents? Perhaps. Whatever, I decide that she's not the 'arty' or 'literary' type, just because she's overweight, shabbily dressed and pushing a baby. That's terrible, isn't it? In one scan I read her by her size and sartorial choices, plus of course the fact that she's pushing a pram because, as Cyril Connolly said: "There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hallway." Ha-ha. I shouldn't laugh at my own prejudice; loads of artists have kids, don't they? Yes. Still, more than all that, it was the way she said "arty literature ones", as if expressing her prejudice against those, whatever 'they' are. Then again, I don't blame her. Arty literature people can be as annoying as any other type, but I know who I'd rather be stuck in a lift with. Mind you, the other day when I was in Koenig Books on Charing Cross Road a posh woman walked in and proceeded to talk with the assistant about the excellent wine her husband had bought, where he was eating and where was the best place to dine - pah! The indiscreet charm of the bourgeoisie! Made me want to burn the place, even though it stocks some good books, which I make note of and buy online because I'm not contributing towards the maintenance of a front for the uber posh bloody art appreciation squad...no...come the revolution! What? I dunno...the proles will all be artists - yes.
So, to make a good morning complete, the Great Pascal Garnier Hunt (I've been searching second-hand bookshops for his novels despite them being cheap online) at last supplied Moon In A Dead Eye (great title, eh?), found in Skoob, another brilliant bookshop. Why Garnier? Because I discovered him on Amazon, looking around for someone new to read; someone new to me and French, who writes crime novels and who, as it turns out in the case of Garnier, only writes slim novels...because I hate big books. And he's compared to one of my favourite novelists, Georges Simenon. Plus, I have to say, Gallic (or whoever they hired) have done a great design job for these novels. Perfect, in fact - modernist, clean and minimal.
See? Just write for us arty literature types.
(I'm 23 pages in as of this post and already loving it)