Thirty Thousand Streets

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Back in SE5

Well it was a good break. Nice to see Manchester and catch up with a bunch of people I've not seen in a hot minute,

Having got into town on Friday, I went to get my hair cut by the legend that is Jimmy at City Barbers on Newton Street. He's trying to kick the cigarettes, though twice nipped out for a couple of cheeky drags. After that, I went for a wander and bumped into Vina on Tib Street, on her way home from work. After that I went to meet Peed at the Picadilly, which is much less grimey than it was as 'The Goose'. Vic popped in too, briefly, before we left and I went to meet Simon in Trof bar (terrible name).

I crashed at Peed's that night, and on Saturday did the usual sweep of Charity shops and Mr Sifter's place in Burnage. From here I roamed down to Zero records in on Barlowmore road, which I used to go to a fair bit when I lived up there.

It was usually fairly rubbish to be honest, usually because they had 'zero' records worth buying, and I'd usually come away empty handed, having browsed racks of cheap bottom-of-the-barrel secondhand vinyl that wasn't going anywhere fast. Now however, it has a really decent selection of CDs, along with some vintage Avant Garde Polish film posters, which aremuch better than I'm probably making them sound.

The bookshop out the back seemed to have a lot more stock. Ever since I saw the Alan Fletcher exhibition at the Design Museum in Shad Thames, I'm always on the lookout for a copy of their book 'Graphic Design: Visual Comparisons' which dates from 1962 and was something of a classic, though I'm not holding out too much hope of actually finding a decent copy.

I asked the old boy who ran it if there was a graphic design section, and he pointed me toward a shelf stocked with general books on art, before remembering a box of books on print someone had brought in a couple of weeks previously, and guiding me to them.

There was some good stuff, some of it from the sixties, and all in good nick at bargain prices. I got two books on the typographer Jan Tsichold, a couple on the history of type, and other assorted odds and ends, amongst them a Mouldtype specimen book, which is a handsome thing in itself, being deep and narrow in format and backed in blue linen. It's got quite a few classic faces in there at different point sizes, which might be quite useful as a reference tool. I pretty much cleared them out of that particular seam of gold – though they were a bugger to carry.

That afternoon I walked past my old flat, and saw that someone had hung an 'England' flag in one of the bedroom windows. It was one of those cretinous flags where the name of the country is actually emblazoned across it as an aide memoire, and I have to say: anyone who needs to be reminded what their national flag looks like can't love it that much.
I suppose I'm all far a bit of national pride, but broadcasting it like this is pretty unimaginative. I remember being on holiday in Corfu the other year and groaning inwardly at the sight of grade one tonsured lads draping similar banners everywhere like a conquering sunburnt army. Fe why lads? Why the need to demarcate territory when you're a guest in someone elses country? That said, I don't think the Greeks cared that much. As long as everyone paid up they were all smiles.

Anyway. Saturday evening I went to Chorlton and caught up with Gabriel, Fran, Ben, Dan, Emma, Crenan and Jo whose birthday it was on the Saturday. I also popped into Bar 480, where Ben DJs on the Saturday to say Hi, before heading to town to The Attic where Vic was DJing (I know quite a few DJs). Returned home to the welcome embrace of my brother's couch at around three, after scarfing a toasted bagel with vegemite.

I returned home today on the train. I was in first class too, which was nice. It's back to the grind tomorrow, in Soho. I must say, in terms of location, I'm happiest there. It's got everything: vice and a Marks and Spencers. What more could an Englishman want?


Anonymous said...

hi tom - its jo(G&B)

heres a couple of online second hand book places i use. Just looked for Graphic Design: Visual Comparisonson, abebooks is showing 2 copies,hope it helps

The Eyechild said...

Hey Jo,

Thanks for the tip! I'll check that out.