* The police haul did include one sex book, a manual on female masturbation. This was eventually returned to the shop by the police. But whereas it left in mint condition it was returned very dog-eared and unsaleable. How did that happen?
Friday, 20 January 2012
Well, the Times Literary Supplement likes our recent set of New London Editions' books. That will do our reputation a power of good, even if the headline was "Drugs, murder and books", thereby destroying our respectability at the same time. For seventeen years I worked at Mushroom Bookshop in Nottingham which, when I started, sold scales and skins as well as high quality literature. The shop was also raided by the police under the Obscene Publications Act - for drugs books, not sex books* - and although we won costs against the police and most of the books back (the magistrate impounded the Child's Garden of Grass joke book lest any unwary child bought it instead of the Child's Garden of Verse) the shop was forever linked in the public mind with drugs. The name did not help. I've mentioned of course that Five Leaves is unwittingly also a drugs reference, which shows my innocence rather than guilt, but most people don't know that, and here we are again, on the drugs front. Still, I knew that when we published Terry Taylor's book so I can hardly complain. Here's the TLS review: http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/article858510.ece. The reviewer draws attention to the contemporary language in the books, all first published in 1961, asking though if anyone remembers the phrase "jaba juntz" which failed the google test. The team of linguists working in the Five Leaves undercroft has never heard the phrase either. So let's get it into circulation. What does it mean? With a very vague memory of the drug era I would say: whatever you want it to mean.