Tuesday, March 5, 2024

This is my life again: I need a exorcist for these ghost bookshops

Okay, so I'm nearly 50 and just moved back to the small town where I was born and bred, so you can take it as read that I'm wallowing in the past. I can't help it. Every fucking street corner throbs with significance, every road has a house where I went to a party, or where a relative lived, or where I tried to kiss a girl.

And I can't walk down the main street without being haunted by those lost bookstores, some of them haven't been there for decades. At least the dairies I talked about yesterday are largely still there, but the bookstores are gone forever, and I see their ghosts every time I go down the main street.

I'll miss them forever, and if I squint, I can still see them. The one in the corner of the Stafford mall, where I got the Uncanny X-Men by Silvestri where they fought the brood, and got the 2000ad annual with the best goddamn colouring I've ever seen in a comic book, and now it's a home appliances store.

Or the bookshop in the Plaza (even if I can't understand why an alleyway was called a plaza) where I bought my first ever comic by David Mazzucchelli (it was an Indiana Jones comic book) and had to choose between the hardback annual reprinting the DC Super Powers comic, or the one reprinting Marvel's Secret Wars (I went for the DC).

Or the second-hand bookstore that wasn't as good as the one up the road, but still had occasionally doses of comic brilliance - I think the last thing I ever got from there was an issue of The Nth Man - or the one shop near the Bay Hill that was always a bit shitty, until you'd suddenly get a Star Trek comic, or that small Fantastic Four run by Art Adams. 

They're all gone, but I still feel them around me when I'm in town, and still ache for them. It's such a shallow thing, but I do feel haunted by them, like anyone is haunted by the ephemera of their own pasts.

Maybe I don't need to exorcise these memories, they're a part of me, and being back in the old home town makes that more real than anything. I can't get any geek delights anymore, but I can wallow in the memories of the good times for a while.

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