A long time ago, with my parents we would go to meet a friend of theirs, a guy called Richard Booth, who invaded a small Welsh Town called Hay-On-Wye. He was a book freak, and opened a huge bookshop, which begat many other bookshops.
It’s been interesting to see it grow from the sleepy place where the cinema had been converted into a Cathedral of Books, with the shelves fanning out like pews in some occult dance with the disused big screen.
We camped outside Hay at the Hollybush Inn, which I believe was by a river and was a classic campsite boozer, with pie and chips and baskets, Watney’s Red Barrell, everything, i think they even twisted my dad’s arm to mend the organ, come to think of it, that was the only reason we ever went anywhere on holiday, because dad had to mend something somewhere.
So anyway so there were books and bookshops everywhere, you went to get papers and a pint of milk in the Newsagent and there were the weirdest selection of titles in Boxes lying around. I found the S.C.U.M. Manifesto by Valerie Solanas in that Newsagent, and still haven’t recovered.
So someone in Hay, probably Booth, had a connect in the US of A and vast quantities of random textbooks and ex library books ended up in this little haven, my parents would visit ALL the shops and exhaustively pick through every last one, some were just old cowsheds on the outskirts with vast amounts of random stuff, some classics i still have are a huge Photo-Type catalogue with pages and pages of Ad-Speak in gorgeous fonts, now replete with holes where i stole them for paste-ups back in the 80s/90’s. Another is the catalogue for an Edward Wadsworth exhibition at the blah blah blah… though the most important at this juncture is a fabulous little hardback called New Movement In Cities, an exploration of possible future architectures, methods of transport and the rest, so this book and it’s title have been hanging round for years looking for an out.