Saturday, November 21, 2009

And all I bought was Whisky

I had hoped and supposed that I would be talking about some exciting new acquisitions today after a visit to Nottingham – an often more exciting city than my own with has a whole host of retail opportunities I’m normally denied, including a fairly large Waterstones. Somehow I failed to buy a single book – I blame Christmas which seems to have a depressing effect on the choice of things to be had in shops, that and the refusal of a 25% off voucher I had for Waterstones to print. Even more disappointing than Waterstones (where I did at least see a tempting Raymond Chandler, a nyrb Sylvia Townsend Warner – Summer Will Show – and the Penguin ‘Tales of Hoffmann’ all of which I now wish I had) were the charity shops we found. They had nothing at all interesting which surprised me, with any luck it’s because we were looking in the wrong place and next time will be more auspicious.

Fortunately it was a very rewarding day for my partner who is still talking enthusiastically about the concrete in the new contemporary arts centre, and who managed to acquire some really exciting whiskies (a shared passion) all bought on my recommendation so I hope I get to try them. Oh and I got tiny edible gold stars for cake decorating – because who doesn’t need those?

Despite my relative lack of enthusiasm for even very sophisticated concrete (and I was quite enthusiastic about the lace effect stuff on the outside) I really enjoyed the arts centre. There was a Hockney exhibition that it was a pleasure to see outside of London, but far more exciting to me because I’ve seen nothing like them, where two small rooms off one of the major gallery spaces. A study room which actually had books in it, interesting books about mythology and poetry, as well as books about art; books which would help the reader reach a deeper understanding of the things around them, there was also a big communal table to sit at and no hushed library atmosphere. It’s such a good idea I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before.

Just off the study room is a small collections room. At the moment it’s dedicated to a cabinet of curiosities, currently it contains three cabinets filled with books, eyes, gin, passports, cabbages, balls and much, much, more. Truly a thing of wonder.