Google – a mastodont killer of memory. Reduces Bibliothèque Nationale to digital. Prints my books without my consent. And the others – Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, promoters of clit-lit and shit-lit and latte-lit– where books are handbags, leaving booksellers and writers to fry under Fahrenheit 451. Every book bought on these sites ruins some anonymous sod book trader, who can’t reckon past two to the third power, and tracks scriveners and scumbags scraping their souls against the walls of our existence. Amazon now even stooping to deliver groceries in Paris from warehouse to door, a plan to kill off “les Arabes”, the local groceries throughout the city. Good luck. So, I’ll do my part to help these global cunts to wither away and expire on the dessicated landscapes of their hollow souls. When it comes, may the consummation be most painful and excruciating, in direct proportion to their tax evasion, their sense of entitlement, their faux-hug-emoticon-tolerant crypto-inclusiveness, their scorched-earth gig being visited on ordinary tradesmen and craftsmen worldwide.
There are still a few book traders left, custodians over the Palmyra ruins of our past lives. I do business with them.
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Paper Hound – 344 West Pender
Vancouver is being colonized by Shanghai and Shenzen crooks and their proxies and Hunan chicken farmers, while the lax local population (who call their new masters Asians) is: a. involved in money-laundering and flipping properties; and or b. having their faces and bodies, tattooed, botoxed and carved into facial pitch-and-putts; and/or c. claiming they once did hot yoga with the Dalai Lama. Vancouver is dead as a city, its vitality sucked out of it by the greed and indolence of its inhabitants, a listless scattered tribe of 21st century Montezuma zombies, operating under the belief that they will be able to cryogenically return as some other life-form. It looks like something out of a Heinlein novel, and you feel like a Stranger in a Strange Land if you still have any soul left in you and you walk the corrupt pavement of that place. And yet, and yet, Rod Clarke and Kim Koch have managed to survive at Paper Hound, and the few grizzled souls still alive in Hongcouver lurk around the place because it gives them a whiff of something that once was when Lowry, Cendrars and Bukowski tramped its lonely streets.
Shakespeare and Company, 37, rue de la Bûcherie, Paris Vième
George Whitman the owner is dead now. R.I.P. George. George was a pure dyed-in-the-wool nasty son-of-a-bitch, who liked to hiss abuse from the stoop outside his converted Algerian grocery in the general direction of passersby. He kept on doing that right up to his 99th year, when he finally turned to dust. A regular Parisian bookseller with the usual prerogatives. Which reminds me…there was a time in the mid-nineties when I was starving in Paris, and hiding out on the rue de la Grande Truanderie to stay clear of somebody who wanted to see me urgently about something I didn’t want to discuss. Being on the run, I didn’t have a change of clothes, and had no cash at all. Food was no longer a given, and I was living off tobacco and tea for the most part. On one of those days, I was doing a day-skulk in front of Shakespeare, trying to put the touch on tourists. I recognized Whitman, and knew he was a mean cocksucker, so I kept clear of him. But, that didn’t seem to stop him. I passed too close to Whitman for his liking, and he said, “hey you!”. He waved me back and said “C’mere you.” “Yea, what.” “Go inside, and reach under the cash register. There’s some food tickets and smokes there”. “What there?” I said like an idiot, and he shook his head. “Get out of here!” he barked, as soon as I snagged the tickets and tobacco. And then he spat a large goober on the sidewalk, narrowly missing a tourist walking by. For four days, I survived on George’s tickets, and nobody was the wiser. He knew everybody – Ferlinghetti, Miller, Anais Nin, Ginsberg – but he saved my ass when I needed it most, and I’m still a nobody, I highly recommend Shakespeare and Co:
Abbey Bookshop, 29, rue de la Parcheminerie, Paris 75005
The pear-faced proprietor perches at the cash like an extinct dodo bird on a rancid nest that accidentally became embedded in the side of this Middle Ages hôtel particulier on “Parchment Road”, evocative of the days when men scrawled their thoughts on parchment and poets stabbed priests careless enough to wander Lutecia’s pavement. He hails from the Big Smoke, but has all the attributes of a Parisian bookseller – saturnine sullenness, three sets of accounting books, an aversion for living writers and a taste for the whisky he keeps in a mickey hip flask and the transient pussy that hovers around such places. Chuchi the Argentinian once turned her libido on him a way back when, until one day while busy turning tricks in Les Halles, a white van knocked her on her ass and she lost three quarters of her teeth. Nobody ever caught the perpetrator, and nobody cared. This was Paris, and living there was enough compensation until your own turn came on the chopping block.
Amsterdam points of sale for The Eel and Leper Tango:
Athenaeum Bookstore, Spui 14-16, Amsterdam
American Book Center, Spui 12, Amsterdam
Het Martyrium, Van Baerlestraat 170-172, Amsterdam
Van Rossum, Beethovenstraat 32, Amsterdam
Libris Venstra, Stadsplien 102A, Amstelveen
Blankevoort, Rembrandtweg 649, Amstelveen