Monday, September 04, 2006

A guide to secondhand bookshops

I have just discovered The Bookshop Guide, which claims to be "the UK's secondhand and antiquarian bookshops". As far as I can see it is comprehensive, and readers can add and review shops themselves.

There is a lot of other good stuff on the site, notably a tribute to Drif, who produced printed guides to bookshops back in the 1980s. It quotes some of the acronyms he used in his entries:

ETGOW - Easy to get on with;
FARTS - Follows you around recommending the stock;
NETGOW - Not easy to get on with;
WAD - Worth a detour;
WAP - Worth a pilgrimage.

I also recall AWYW (Asks what you want), but it is not included in the list on the site.


Anonymous said...

Whatever did happen to drif field? He seemed tto just disappear. I suspect that the modern world of the Interweb and mobile hoodies was not to his taste and he's retired to some small island somewhere. I hope so.

Anonymous said...

If you liked that, you might like this
It's the website of the Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association. I've picked up good stuff at their fair in Glasgow on occasion.

Jonathan Calder said...

drif field has a Wikipedia page, but "although photos exist of the man ... little is known about him or his current whereabouts, or even if he's still alive".

Anonymous said...

I think I made a sighting last week, in the bike shop in Kensington High Street. A man was talking to an assistant and I only realised it was probably Drif when he said that his bikes had to carry a big pile of books on the front and the back. He said he had several bikes, which would suggest he's of fixed abode. I didn't then know that he'd vanished from sight, but I spoke to him and said my image of him was with an old-fashioned sit-up-and-beg bike. He turned my comment away with a monosyllable, not rudely but clearly not wanting to talk.

I didn't have a clear memory of Drif, or at least not his front view. I know his rear aspect from an edition of his guide and also from seeing him in front of the counter at the Charing Cross Rd bookshop he used to be associated with. The man I saw now had grey hair, short but not the number four cut he used to have.

Anonymous said...

He's still alive but has become a hermit, he has been trying to write his novel since 1996 and spends days, weeks or even months on just one word. His dream is to cycle to India after he finishes writing his book.