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music and random (purchasing) mayhem

Today Patsington and I headed into town to help our friend Mark buy a piano. Only an electric one, alas, but as the decent electric ones cost about €1500 and the decent real ones cost about €5000, I can't really blame him. It did remind me, however, of how much I miss having a decent piano in the house. We do have a piano, but it's a shit one that P's unmusical parents bought about 20 years ago, and when I got it tuned last year the tuner said it was beyond help and he only did it because his family have been tuning my familial piano (currently residing in my parents' house) since my great-grandparents bought it in about 1910. Even then my foolish piano couldn't be perfectly tuned because it's in too bad a condition. So I really, really want to get a decent acoustic piano, but even the cheapest reconditioned piano costs about two grand, and so is currently out of my league. But I miss having a proper piano so much. I can play our one, of course, but it always sounds as if the pedals are down and half the notes stick and it's gone out of tune again. Which is unsurprising, because it's about a hundred years old and, most significantly, it was never a good piano to begin with. But for the moment, alas, it will have to do.

After we'd finished piano-ing, we went to Metro and ate enormous sandwiches and laughed a lot, before going our separate ways - me to the Hodges Figgis sale, where I went mad and bought about five books. Which are...
Flashman by George Macdonald Fraser. I have been hearing good things about these books for years and years (I remember my friend Louise's brother and his mates all loved them when we were in school), but always thought they looked a bit too laddish or something. However, €3.50 for an American import was enough to make me give them a try.
Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson. Not only did I really like the other Atkinson books I've read (Not the End of the World, Behind the Scenes at the Museum and Case Histories), but when I interviewed her over the phone at the time of the latter's publication, we ended up chatting about Buffy for an hour. She rocks. And so do her books, so I'm looking forward to this one.
The Memoirs of Harriette Wilson. She was the posh Regency prostitute to whom Byron said "publish and be damned", and this is what she published. It looks very entertaining, like a rude Jane Austen.
Angels of Albion: Women of the Indian Mutiny by Jane Robinson. The awful title led me to believe this would be a "hurrah for the Raj" sort of book, but then I flicked through it and it looked rather sharp and funny and interesting.
Travels With My Aunt By Graham Greene. It was a gorgeous US edition of a book I've been vaguely interested in reading for years, even though the only Graham Greene I've read was Brighton Rock, and that was when I was about 17.

I love the HF sales. They don't do remaindered books, they do - for some mystical reason, perhaps the person on my f-list who used to work there will tell me - mostly American imports, of books that were also published here, so you can get some great stuff for very little. If you're in Dublin and you haven't poked around there yet, run like the wind!

I also bought a pair of sunglasses in Marks and Spencer (oh, I'm such a hipster). My big white ones that I bought in Boston's Alston Beat (was that the name of the shop? They had a branch on Newbury and another in Harvard Square) in 1997 are kind of knackered, and although they looked brilliant they were never great at actually protecting my eyes from the sun. So I got a new pair, and they looked cool in the shop, but once I got home I realised that the lenses are slightly mirrored and am worried that they make me look like a fool.

And finally.....I also bought one of those lightbulb oil ring things to scent my house with my Bpal oils. I managed to slosh far too much oil onto the burner and now I'm not sure whether the nice smell is a result of the ring's effectiveness or rather the fact that I practically covered my dressing table with the smelly stuff.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
stellanova
Jun. 28th, 2005 06:50 pm (UTC)
Ah, thank you! I used to pass the Newbury one every day on my way to work (I worked in the oh-so-classy Rebecca's Cafe, at the other, less cool end of the street). And I also worked in what was then called Learningsmith in Harvard Square, so I was surrounded by Allston Beat!
aliceinfinland
Jun. 28th, 2005 08:04 pm (UTC)
Why have I, a Bostonian, well Massachusettsian, never noticed the existence of Allston Beat? Must open eyes when I go home.

Also, what kind of piano did Mark end up buying?
glitterboy1
Jun. 28th, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, do post what you think of the Flashman book. I've heard much the same feedback, and had much the same reaction as you! I'll be interested to hear what you think.
leedy
Jun. 29th, 2005 10:11 am (UTC)
Ooh, HF sale! I must check it out (but probably shouldn't, having spent vast sums on cider and pies at the weekend). Alas, I can't explain its mysteries, as I never did the bargain book buying (though I can tell you a lot about the stock of prison libraries), so I'm not sure where they get them from.

I want a piano too - I don't even have a crap one.
khalinche
Jun. 29th, 2005 10:27 pm (UTC)
Ooo, I enjoyed Emotionally Weird, but then I can connect easily to a story involving Dundee, studentdom and unusual upbringings by a mad single mother in remote parts of Scotland...
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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