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A shop full of nice things

In RainbowsI returned from the depths of rural England to find myself awaiting delivery of a Beautiful Thing. This Beautiful Thing is the boxed set version of Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’, for me the album highlight of the year. And I like it because clearly it’s had a lot of effort put into it, it’s a little expensive but it’s a high-quality product. It’s bloomin’ lovely, so it is.

I am an appreciator of Nice Things. This is one of them. Not just a standard jewel case for Radiohead. The marketing for OK Computer (gosh, a whole decade ago) said “remember albums?” Well this is another, like that revolutionarily wonderful record, that is an Album; it’s the whole package – first and foremost the best album by any band this year, but much more for the extra dosh. Much was made (a little too much, Kristin Hersh might argue) of Radiohead’s bold move towards pay-what-you-like for the download version of In Rainbows, but many will have been swayed by the promise of 12″ artwork; fully-decorated lyrics within the box/sleeve itself; CD version of the album, and bonus eight-track CD of extras; gorgeous housing for the whole package; and most of all, the two heavy vinyls, playing at 45′, which contain In Rainbows in full. Beautiful Thing indeed.

The only other album I have on 45′ is PiL’s masterfully packaged Metal Box, this one a three-disc set in, quite literally, a metal tin bearing a remarkable resemblance to a film can. Like PiL’s beauty, In Rainbows works cohesively as an album, and is an exciting thing to look at, listen to, hold, you name it. More people should put effort into this sort of thing rather than churning out dullness after dullness, but perhaps that speaks more of my tastes than anything else.

I often think that if I ever went mad and went into business for myself (ideally not the Dragons’ Den route), I’d probably open a shop selling really nice examples of a certain commodity. Pens, for instance, and writing things. I like writing, I like using a nice pen – it adds something to the experience. But where would I go to get a really nice pen and a nice book to write in? Simone’s Writing Shop of course. The niche is most certainly there.

Failing that, a career in radical cartography is almost certainly the way to go. The other alternative would be to do as these gentlemen have done, and open a Really Nice Bookshop, one with coffee on the go all day, and some really nice books. It’d be a cross between Daunt and Black Books, I imagine.


5 Responses

  1. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

  2. Um… could you be a little more specific?

  3. Simone,

    come and join us for coffee when we open. I am nothing like Bernard or Manny, as far as I know, although there may be a cheeky bottle of red under the counter at any given moment.
    We will also be selling Rubber Ducks that change colour when put in the bath, and also badges that proclaim such things as ‘Read Chomsky’ and ‘Orwell was Right’. There maybe a Moomin on one as well.

  4. Coffee? I’m totally there.

  5. […] other news, the fine fellows from the forthcoming Wood Green Bookshop left a comment inviting me to coffee and badges at the forthcoming bookshop. Sterling idea, I say. It’s an […]

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