6. Napkin Diary For May 2014

 

Continuing with my May 2014 diary. You can see the finished piece, here.

17th May

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.

9 thoughts on “6. Napkin Diary For May 2014

  1. A friend of mine worked in Foyles in the late eighties – think he loved it. That was a great road at the time – Zwemmers, Shipley (still there) and all the second hand bookshops – great way to while away the hours.

      • I loved all of them. Zwemmer was the best. Even Dillons Art Books on Long Acre was great, I almost worked there once. And not a coffee shop in one of them.

      • Yes, I’d forgotten about Dillons. No, no coffee shops, but you did occasionally witness a full-on argument (I once saw a humdinger between Ian Shipley and his partner). They were real places.

      • I know. I don’t like to go down the Tottenham Court Road end at the moment, find it too upsetting to see our old cafe gone. That’s London, though, things move on. I mean, the area around Kings Cross is fantastic. So maybe St. Giles will be too. As long as they don’t reach Denmark Street and the Phoenix Art Club.

  2. Pingback: 26. Napkin Diary For May 2014 | Alison Sye

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