Midnight at the bookstore

Saturday, July 16th, 2005

Busy night, I suppose. Kingston was a madhouse – the pubs emptying boozed-up lads and short-skirted slappers out onto the street outside the bookshop, while inside gleaming-eyed parents tried to pretend they were only there for their face-painted offsprings' benefit. Endless trollies stacked with the two different versions of the book, the brightly-coloured children's cover and the sombre adult cover. A beaming Borders spokesman braying into a mobile phone about the success of the evening. Small girls in cloaks or Hogwarts uniforms looking tired and – as the night wore on – increasingly fractious. Bookshop staff dressed in wizard costumes that could surely only have been designed by someone who wished them ill. A queue downstairs that snaked away from the tills and then three times around the main body of the store. A queue upstairs that was less frantic, less claustrophobic, and considerably shorter – but far, far slower as there was only one till at the head of it rather than the half a dozen downstairs. And everywhere people clutching green-jacketed books, stopped in their tracks, standing and reading as if hypnotised into doing so.

And since we got home we've read a little, eaten, read a little, stuck photos up on Flickr, read a little – not desperately trying to finish the book in one sitting, but grazing it – taking time to chew it over where last time around we gulped down great chunks of it, until we had each read its 766 pages in a single weekend, but had been left with no clear idea of what we'd just read. Not so this time – we're taking it easy…

There's photos up on Flickr here – I'll add some to this post later, at the moment Flickr's down and I can't.

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.