I know what I’ll do.
When I’m in
next I’ll drop into the Dún Laoghaire Shopping Centre. To see how that book of mine is doing. I’ll pretend to be a customer. And ask the staff for the book. And if it’s out of stock I’ll look very very disappointed. And then when I am gone they’ll order a new supply. Because they’ll suspect there’s been some publicity for the thing and customers will be gathering. And anxious queues will be forming. Throngs. Starting at the cash desk, sneaking out the door and threading all the way through the shopping centre. Dublin
The sales ploy didn’t work.
Because when I arrived at the bookshop there was Mary Burnham womanning the till.
She knows me. We go way back. Though never a girlfriend, I seem to remember a warm embrace outside a restaurant in
. The context escapes me. Probably drink. But whatever. There are no restaurants in Killiney Village now. And it was a long time ago. As said, she and I go way back. I knew her parents. Her mother taught piano. And I knew Mary’s sisters. And her brother. One of her sisters and the brother both worked for me when I ran a building business. Don’t even ask. Killiney Village
Mary’s single name was Hughes. Which is strange, because the former rival
Dún Laoghaire bookshop was, whilst no relation to Mary B, Hughes and Hughes. It went bust. No loss. Neither my publishing hat nor the head beneath it dealt with Hughes and Hughes. It’s a long story. I didn’t like Hughes or Hughes. And I didn’t like the Hughes that came before. A financial matter arose between us. Yes right, I do not merely harbour grudges. I provide a full docking service of repair and maintenance.
But enough of that. Dubray Books is a different kettle. I knew the mother of the organisation when she was an old lady presiding over Bray Bookshop. Canny without being cunning, she was knowing without being knowall. It’s a theory of mine that organisations have their own DNA systems, and the ethos and understanding of the founders travel down through managerial generations. I may be right and I may be wrong, but it’s a notion that appeals to the genealogist in me.
Instead of books, Mary and I discussed mutual acquaintances of days gone by. And lovers gone and lovers lost. And who had died, of drugs and drink and suicide, that sort of thing. Yes those were colourful times, around
Dún Laoghaire, the nineteen eighties I suppose. And we were younger then.
I left the bookshop.
Peculiar for a writer to admit, but I actually don’t like bookshops very much. All those soon to be forgotten tomes screaming for attention. And meaning so little in the scheme of things. The book industry is a gigantic intellectual X-Factor, performed on paper instead of the screen.
So, really depressed, I wandered through the shopping centre. Though recently revamped it had the air of decline. Not helped by closed up shopfronts. And too many security guards and not enough customers.
This is the way the world ends
Really, really depressed now. I wandered out into
Dún Laoghaire, my home town. And though I divide my time now between and the West of Ireland it is still my home town. Born there. And yea back through timeless generations. My grandmother Mollie McGovern was married in the old church, the one that burnt down. Italy
I went in to the newer version, and lit a candle for her. Then walked about the town. Remembering myself drinking in these pubs, and courting girls in alleyways and lanes and down there on the metals. Then I went back along to where my car was parked in Haigh Terrace. Opening the door I noticed that I had parked right opposite the house where once had lived my great grandmother Jane Carroll. And I remembered that further along in Adelaide Street my grandfather on the other side of my family had lived. They wouldn’t have known each other, those generations. But here they were united in my dna.
Funny old world.