The Uncensored Diary of a Bookseller — bookshop

Ban the Book - or how a fake African Mystic committed fraud in a secondhand bookshop

Posted by Wally O Neill on

“Torch every book. Burn every page. Char every word to ash. Ideas are incombustible. And therein lies your real fear." ― Ellen Hopkins Papa John the self-proclaimed great African Mystic wanders into the bookshop, shouting into his camera phone about ether spirits in a thick, badly put on Nigerian accent. When the call ends, he reverts to his own Wexford town lingo. “Alright sahn, what’s the crack?” “How’s business John?” “That’s Papa John there brudder. Don’t ruin me rep. I have eighteen clients now getting hexes and love potions and rain dances. All sorts of auld nonsense. Paying the bills...

Read more →


2023 - A Bookshop Odyssey

Posted by Wally O Neill on

“If he was indeed mad, his delusions were beautifully organized.”- Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space OdysseyPockets sits on the shop window sill trying to beat the lid off a bent tin of quality street with a stick. He reminds me of one of the ragged hominids in 2001 inspired to use clubs to beat the hell out of wild game, and then each other, by a giant alien monolith. He manages to get rid of the lid and fills his pockets with the precious cargo as I open the shutters to another grey miserable day. January is depression incarnate,...

Read more →


A MODEST PROPOSAL

Posted by Wally O Neill on

A MODEST PROPOSALFor preventing Amazon customers from being a burden on the local economy and small business by skinning, boiling and eating them.The Sheriff of Nottingham slips into the book fair through the fire exit to avoid parting with the two euro entrance fee. The fact that he had to claw up a two storey redbrick vertical wall hasn’t damaged his state of perfectly eccentric pompous dress – tweed jacket with leather arm patches, a tightly sealed gothic waistcoat complete with obviously fake pocket watch, a comically long purple scarf, shiny black riding boots, a pair of vintage spectacles defying...

Read more →


Happy Capitalist Monday

Posted by Wally O Neill on

On Black Friday I find myself wandering aimlessly into the second biggest store of the country’s leading bookshop franchise. Perilously wading through a humming crowd looking for some sign that books are still at the centre of the buying mobs’ heart, only to discover three quarters of this ‘bookshop’ is covered by candles, novelty cards and strange pencils. And that’s the part of the store where the mob is congregating, fighting over who gets the last of the twenty percent reduced Bibi Baskin calendars. Back out on the high street (and they’re all starting to look the same), I’m accosted...

Read more →


Six Years a Bookseller

Posted by Wally O Neill on

Mosley says that WB Yeats died of TB after his blindness and early onset dementia made him confuse Lady Gregory’s cat for a rabid Badger, which bit him when he stroked its mane and called it polly. “The establishment covered it up of course,” he tells me in hurried hushed tones, as unsuspecting customers browse around us. “Sure what would happen if the world found out our most successful poet mistook a cat for a rabid badger? We’d be the laughing stock of the literary world. Stupid auld hoor anyway.” Six years ago I began an odyssey into the multi-layered...

Read more →