The Story of a Bookcase: The Adventure Begins

Having become very pissed off at how difficult it was to find Olympia Press books and deal with the people who might or might not have them, struck by the similarity between the smut peddlers, who were still frightened of being nicked in the 1980’s

Smut Peddlar

Smut Peddler

And the prudish dodgy Victorian morality of your typical book shop owner.

           Book Snob

Book Snob

I took it upon myself to undertake some detective work and gradually came to the conclusion, that to find these books produced outside of the UK one had to leave the UK to find them. Being a man of limited means and a working class stiff I had to find a way to raise the cash to fund such an expedition and it took the best part of two years to do this.

In the mean time along with my trusty sidekick “T”, and when he was otherwise engaged accompanied by my ever faithful Border Collie “Kai”,(apparently that means Cat in Welsh,funny name for a dog), who used  to love to sit in the front passenger seat, head hung out through the window, tongue and ears flapping in the breeze, occasionally letting go a silent but deadly fart, oh the memories, , much more of a civilised experience when the dog came along instead. We embarked upon the Magical Mystery Tour of the bookshops of England.

The Dirty Bookshop experiment never really produced anything of use except rather battered books which oftentimes, bore a striking almost advertising quality resemblance to their title.

 Dirty Bookshop

Dirty Bookshop “Reader”

And of course the already referenced Delectus Books Catalogue, which included a wants list of surprising variety, thus equipped I commenced to search for a range of titles much broader than just Olympia Press, A whole range of Sexology and Foreign Language editions of exotic erotica and pornography. After a few false starts, I eventually established contact with the proprietor of Delectus Books, and he slowly drip fed me my first genuine Paris Olympia titles, he also educated me about clandestine publishing, and the ways that publishers codified their books in Victorian times and earlier. So alongside my personal search for Paris Olympia titles I was now looking for books  published by Carrington, Gay and Douce, Brancart and Kistemaeckers , few of which  could be found in the UK.

Richepin

After several exchanges of large bags of books I was ready to go to Europe to hunt out the elusive titles of my dreams.

My story continues, by location not by timeline although where possible I will link the two, memory permitting. Before venturing abroad I will relate some of my adventures in the UK and in particular Hay on Wye.

Watch this space.

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