33 days, 10 hours, 19 minutes to go until the opening of the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush, and the site is swarming with construction workers like a Cecil B DeMille film about building the Pyramids and I know how they feel but I’ve beaten them: the new CBe books are all printed, I took boxes and boxes of them earlier this week to the lovely old warehouse building in East London that is Central Books, and today the website was updated with pay buttons so you can now BUY THE BOOKS.
Yesterday and today I went round some local independent bookshops to gently harass a few folk who stocked last year’s books. One person had moved to another shop, another was out at lunch, another was on holiday, and one of the shops was closed for the afternoon. I browsed. I asked for a book someone told me about, Death in Danzig, and was told not just that it wasn’t in stock but it wasn’t available from the supplier; and it was published only two years ago. Still, I found other books I coveted, and (perhaps because the persons I’d come to chat to were not there) the brightness and, yes, visual attractiveness of their covers worried me. Adjectives that could be applied to the CBe covers include wholesome, puritan, old-fashioned. And brown. One of the CBe authors has been pleading with me to move away from brown, to lighten up.
The Westfield shopping centre will have, its website tells me, ‘16-metre-wide malls fashioned from marble with decorative swirls of granite and an exclusive, boutique-style enclave devoted to luxury brands’. Granite swirls. Maybe.