Continuing with my May 2014 diary. You can see the finished piece, here.
David Abbott, creator of one of the most memorable adverts of my youth, died today. I am not making it up when I say that I cried every single time that darn advert came on television. The advert in question was for Yellow Pages, in which an old man crawled up and down the bookshops of Charing Cross Road looking for a book called ‘Fly Fishing by J.R. Hartley’. He had no luck, until his daughter gave him a copy of the Yellow Pages. I won’t spoil the ending. You can see it, here. I’ve just watched it, it doesn’t make me cry now.
The advert was made in 1983, when I was sixteen. I didn’t recognise the street at the time. I had never been to London before. A few years later, as a student, Charing Cross Road and the roads leading off it, became my favourite area of London. It still is. I had the great pleasure of working in Foyles, in the late Eighties, a law unto itself. I could tell you stories, but you wouldn’t believe them. Unless, of course, you also worked at Foyles before the Reformation, and then you know. At the time there were still a few old London cafes in the area, alas all gone now. St. Giles’ is almost unrecognisable these days.