Saturday, December 12, 2020

A Victim Of Lockdown ?

When lockdown ended in November it meant that I could finally return to bookstores again.  But on my first visit to Southland Shopping Centre in Cheltenham I was shocked to discover the Dymocks' store has been replaced by Cook & Young during my absence.

I'm not sure if the Dymocks' store was a victim of the lengthy Melbourne lockdown or a pre-planned closure but as one of the oldest book store chains in Australia I was saddened to see the store gone.  I'm uncertain at this stage if other Dymocks' stores have also been affected.  

Fortunately the store looks very similar inside with the same stock and layout.  So I'll be visiting again when new Bond novels are released or re-published

Saturday, November 07, 2020

First Bookhunt After Melbourne Lockdown Ends

After more than 110 days confined to our homes, with nightly 8pm curfews and a 5km radius (and more recently 25km) outside of which we were not allowed to travel, Covid numbers have now subsided and we are free citizens again here in Melbourne.  Yep it was hard, and fortunately I had my wife by my side, but I'm very glad it's finally over and our second Coronavirus wave is now just a terrible memory.

Today I celebrated by going on a quick book hunt, my first in a long, long time.  First stop, Howard Bolton Bookseller where I was intent on spending some money as I know his bookshop had been closed for the entire lockdown.

There were no Bond books I needed today however I finally decided to purchase the copy of Ian Fleming's "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", published by Macmillan in 2012, that's been sitting on his shelf for a while.  I have plenty of copies of this book but not this edition.  It was great to chat to Howard again and I was glad to see he had plenty of other customers too.

Next stop was Brown & Bunting Booksellers on High Street.  I parked my car on the busy road and walked one way, then the other, trying to find the store.  Sadly I learnt from The Book Grocer store nearby that Brown & Bunting Booksellers is online only now; a victim of no customers during the Covid lockdown and high rent.  Here's a photo of the store from my last visit in 2019.  This store always had plenty of good quality Bond paperbacks.

And here's a link to their new online business:  They currently have a number of more recently printed Ian Fleming paperbacks in stock.

A sad end to the day but at least I picked up one nice Fleming today, and it was great to be back in a physical book store again.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

New Bond Paperback In My Collection

It's the AFL Grand Final long weekend and normally I'd be in Metung, Gippsland with my wife and sister-in-law on our annual getaway.  However true to 2020, nothing has panned out as expected.  The Grand Final is being played in Queensland, the first time ever this event has taken place outside of Victoria.  It's taking place in October when normally it's September.  And my sister-in-law is recovering from leukemia treatment in hospital.

So my wife and I are watching the game on TV at home and I'm writing this at the same time.  But it's not a "grannie" weekend without a post from me about James Bond.

Last week I received in the mail a copy of "Octopussy And The Living Daylights" published by Oxford Dominoes in 2018.

This edition is aimed at readers for whom English is their second language, and it's a great addition to the collection. I always like the original drawings in these ESL books.  Sometimes the drawings are a little dodgy, but the ones contained in this edition are pretty good.  Here's one of Bond in his Bentley.

Collecting these ESL books may not be for everyone, but I've certainly got a few now.  Here's some more from Oxford.  Fingers crossed Oxford Dominoes release more in this series.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Elusive Pan Cover

It's not a first.  It's not even a second.  But when I saw this "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" published by Pan Books in 1964, with blue/purple text on the cover, I felt compelled to buy it.

I already have a similar cover in my collection but that one proved so difficult to find the first time it's hard to go past the same cover again.

This copy was part of a lot of three Pan James Bond paperbacks, all with the Raymond Hawkey inspired covers, for sale online.  I first noticed them available around July/August.  When I saw the same lot again over the weekend I thought "that"s long enough for someone else to have purchased them" so I negotitated with the seller to just purchase this one title... and voila.

I'm still looking for an elusive 1st edition of this paperback title, but this 3rd is still a great find and a quite scarce cover that one day may help me eventually trade up to a 1st.

Friday, September 11, 2020

RIP Dame Diana Rigg

In 1969 a strong, free-thinking, independent female character appeared on the silver screen and during the course of the film saved the life of probably the most famous fictional spy in history.  That film was "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and the female character was Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo, but James Bond fans know her as Tracy.  I suspect this wasn't just a revolutionary moment in the Bond film series, but perhaps in cinema.  A brilliant creation of author Ian Fleming, a character honestly brought to the screen by director Peter Hunt and Eon Productions, this fictional lead woman was portrayed by Dame Diana Rigg who sadly passed away today at the age of 82.

"OHMSS" wasn't the first time Ms Rigg portrayed a powerful female character, having played Emma Peel opposite John Steed (Patrick Macnee) in the UK TV series "The Avengers".  Her character became an icon for women in the 1960's and the TV series was undoubtedly ahead of it's time.

Ms Rigg was a star of the stage, TV and cinema.   Her most popular recent performance was as Lady Olenna Tyrell in "Game Of Thrones".

It's sad to lose such an influential person in the history of art and cinema, but we are fortunate to still be able to see her performances on TV and cinema for years to come.

Vail Dame Diana Rigg (1938 - 2020).

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Book Hunt North Of The Yarra

Sometimes life gets in the way of collecting.  Currently my sister-in-law is in hospital and the last thing I'm thinking about while still in eternal covid lockdown is hunting for books online.

But I have been going through photos on my phone and found this bunch from October 7, 2017 when I crossed the Yarra River and searched for books north of the City.

Howard Bolton Bookseller in Northcote.  Howard always has a collection of good condition Bond novels, many from the 60's and 70's, and this day was no different.  I also always scour his wall of first edition hardbacks looking for an elusive Ian Fleming first.

Alice's Bookshop in Carlton.  This store no longer exists at this location but as you can see at the time they had a Hawkey Pan "Diamonds Are Forever" on the table on the footpath outside the store and a copy of "Devil May Care" inside.

Fully Booked in Thornbury in the Spy-Fi section.  This is a great book store that has a high turnover of quality books and friendly owners.  I would be highly surprised if these books are sitting on these shelves today.

Allsorts Secondhand Books in Northcote.  Sadly this store also no longer exists as the owner, Paul, happily retired.  I do miss this store though.  Sometimes stores that have an eclectic collection of books contain hidden treasures.
Brown & Bunting Booksellers in Northcote.  Located around the corner from Howard Bolton Bookseller this store contains quality books with a high turnover of good quality early Bond novels.

Already Read Books in Fitzroy.  I have rarely visited this store so it was great to drop in and see what was available.  I'm definitely looking forward to returning once these covid restrictions are over.

Abra Card Abra Roycroft Antiquarian Booksellers in Kew.  Containing a wide variety of novels covering many different categories over two storeys, this secondhand book store is easily one of the biggest in Victoria.  It's always a pleasure to visit this store with it's huge collection of Pan paperbacks downstairs (more often than not including Fleming) and hardback and more paperback Bond novels upstairs.

Friday, July 31, 2020

A Few Previous Book Shop Visits

Here's some more book store visits I made prior to the covid lockdown here in Melbourne.  The first is Helena's Curiosity Shop in Bentleigh where Helena was most helpful in trying to find all of the Bond novels in her store.  We only managed to find the two shown but she assured me there were more to be found.

Next is Howard Bolton Booksellers in Northcote.  It was great catching up with Howard and browsing the Bond novels on his shelves.  Sadly I had them all but I hope Howard and his store is coping ok during these strange times.

Another book shop I visited was Bound Words in Hampton.  I remember Ailsa greeting me and commenting that she hadn't acquired any new Bond stock lately, but I had to look anyway.  There were five Bond novels on the shelves but none for me today.  I will return as soon as possible though.

Lastly, I've been reading some recent Facebook posts about Bairnsdale Bookshop with sadness.  Unfortunately this store permanently closed this week.  Bairnsdale is a fair drive from Melbourne so it's not local for me, but every time I visited Lakes Entrance or Metung I made sure to drop in.  Here's some photos from my last visit and also my last blog post of there.  I wish the store owners all the best for the future.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Abra Card Abra Bookshop Visit

I'm catching up on book store visits I didn't get around to posting earlier this year, and this week it's Abra Card Abra Roycroft Antiquarian Booksellers.  This book store has heaps of cheap books and every time I walk in the door I always get the feeling there's a James Bond book sitting on a shelf that I'm missing from my collection (perhaps partly obscured by another book) just waiting for me to find it.  Over the years I've purchased many quality books from here and I can't wait to visit it again after these covid restrictions end.

On this visit I found a couple of 1960's Pan - Ian Fleming titles as well as the Bond hardbacks shown above.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Alice's Bookshop Will Rise Again

Back in November last year I visited Alice's Bookshop in Carlton North with my wife.  To my dismay the building was up for auction and at the time the store owners, Luke and Selina, were unclear what would happen to their business once the hammer fell.

Roll forward half a year and I've just read that Alice's Bookshop will be re-opening, this time in Preston.  This is exciting news.  The owners of this business are very knowledgeable, friendly... and love books, so it's great news they're continuing their passion.

I imagine because of the current pandemic there may be a delay before the new store is opened, but I'm very pleased to hear I will be able to visit their store once again.  Good luck guys, I wish you both all the best.

Here's some photos of the old Alice's Bookshop in Carlton North from my last visit:

And finally... a photo of Luke behind the counter.

Also, here's an update on construction of my recently acquired Lego James Bond Aston Martin DB5.  This is Stage 2 complete and it's starting to look more like a car now.