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- Nov 6, 2008
I picked up the Hardcover novelisation of Solo: A Star Wars Story.
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Compendium was a marvellous bookshop. Used to have some uncommon imported US SF that was not available most anywere else in the 1980s. I dragged my parents there on a quest for this stuff after Dark They Were With Golden Eyes shut. Their other content became more interesting as I got older.Today's Tom Gauld in the Guardian:
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Tom Gauld on how to deal with owning too many books – cartoon
Years ago I noticed this pattern in my book buying:
(1) On way home from work, stop in at bookshop (Compendium in Camden) and see book that interests me.
(2) Next day go back to bookshop on way home from work and look at book again.
(3) Spend next three or four days wondering whether to buy book.
(4) Buy book
(5) Don't read book
(6) Three or four days after (4), repeat (1).
A complicating factor was that I really did not have much money at the time.
I convinced my parents to take me to London to go to DTWAGE. It must have been late 70s or very early 80s. We walked around a very eye opening Soho to find the shop was no longer there. Went to Camden as consolation which was terrific.I thought Compendium was wonderful. Not the biggest space, but it had separate sections for literature, sf, feminism, politics, psychology, spirituality with a really knowledgeable person running each section, plus those massive tomes that enabled you to look up/ trace and then order difficult-to-find books (pre-internet days). From what I heard (not necessarily correct) the cooperative/ managers just decided they'd had enough and wanted to retire. I know that leases in the area were being renewed for ridiculous prices, so that might also have been an issue. Likewise the internet was just beginning to hit its stride. However I think they just decided the time was right rather than being forced out of business by financial circumstances. Camden had become such a popular place for people to visit that they would always have had plenty of footfall. They'd been going for a while, back to the early days when they used to have to hide comix etc under the carpets in case of police raids.
When it closed I missed it greatly: it gave a whole purpose to visiting London for the day.
I knew "Dark they were and Golden Eyed" less well. I think I made the pilgrimage just a few times when visiting London. I moved to live in London in 1982 and it might already have closed by then.