Friday, August 28, 2009

Black Books's got nothing on him

Just around the corner from where I used to live is this old little bookshop. Just as it should be, in a side street, nothing flashy and high-streety, full of obscure old titles mixed in with your grubby second hand book.
It's been there as long as I've lived here... but what I didn't know until a little while back is that it's actually quite famous. Famous for all the wrong (which, in my book, makes them right!) reasons.
It's because the owner, Rodney, was absolutely bonkers. Some found it endearing, some entertaining, some terrifying. I personally adore a shop run on abuse, it's the ultimate novelty and gives a nice break from the annoying suck-up customer service we've all been violated by at one point or another.

By now I have met quite a few people who had either been served by him (doesn't this give 'serving' a whole new meaning) or worked in the same business. The professionals usually say that Rodney has pissed off quite a few people. He has certainly creeped out a few.

My friend Iain told me about how he was browsing for poetry books one day, and, as he was leafing through a Shelley book, found Rodney peering over his shoulder.
"Shelley, huh!" grumbled Rodney. "Dead, i'n't he? His 'eart's buried in Bournemouth!"

Rodney had a go at me once (which extracted internal squeals of delight from me) for using the word "dissertation": "It's a thesis, goddamnit!"
He also regularly abused his bookshop minion, his "Igor", if you will, that freaky little man who once pretended that the clock integrated into a giant hideous painting (weird paintings was another thing they seemed to sell in there) was his wristwatch.

All in all, Rodney is the antithesis of all that the Waterstone's Get Selling campaign stands for.

However, the younger generation, with a few exceptions, loved and adored him. The man has his own facebook fangroup, for crying out loud!
It even went as far as a team of TV production students filmed a documentary about him.
In case you don't believe me about how equally nuts and endearing Rodney is, watch it.

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