I don’t remember the name of this bookstore, nor would I be able to tell you where in Glasgow it actually was. All I know is that for over sixty minutes, Samantha led me on a merry tour of the backstreets and alleyways of Glasgow’s suburbs until, out of nowhere, there was literary heaven in front of me.
As with all good bookstores, the musty smell of old paper overwhelmed the moment we crossed the threshold. Along each wall of the store were shelves nearly ten feet high, with one of those awesome wheeled ladders to help you reach the highest, most well hidden books. In addition to the gargantuan shelves along each wall were dozens of smaller shelves strategically positioned around the heart of the shop, each jam-packed with books of all genres, size and description.
“Have at it,” Samantha smirked as we entered.
For nearly forty-five minutes we threw ourselves into exploring the store, each pestering the other with random finds or corny jokes about the titles of some of the treasures we’d found. There was more ogling of Samantha’s posterior – which she was acutely aware of – and a twenty minute conversation with the pleasant old man who was sitting behind the counter. Apparently he’d been running the store for nearly thirty years and, despite Samantha’s insistence that he should remember, he couldn’t recall the fresh-faced twelve year old who was brought to the bookstore by her Grandmother.
As fatigue (and nicotine withdrawal) began to take hold we reconvened and shared our spoils. Samantha had found a couple of books about clothing design; one a borderline antique from the turn of the century, whilst I had picked up a couple of random novels to peruse during my tour of the Highlands in the week ahead. In addition to the books we were buying for ourselves, we each decided to purchase the other a gift to commemorate the day. I chose a book about the Loch Ness Monster for Samantha, following her revelation earlier that day that she’d never in her life seen the mighty loch, whilst Samantha had seized on the aneurism I’d suffered upon discovering a copy of Trocchi’s Thongs and ensured I once again had this magnificent book in my collection.
The sheer volume of books, the eclectic selection, the smell and the company all ensure that this is easily in the top five bookstores I’ve ever visited. I just wish I’d focused less on Samantha’s backside and more on the direction we’d taken to get there, for unless I randomly happen upon it, I doubt I would ever be able to find it again.