Looking back, Black Books was a terrible choice for early-teen inspiration. Bernard Black, protagonist extraordinaire, is arrogant, cruel, crooked -- a real bastard. Not the stuff for impressionable youth to subscribe to. We have Kate Moss for that.
But, Black Books is the greatest show in the history of the earth, and the exterior location is just round the corner from me (I wish). Still, it's close enough for a day trip -- insomuch as it's about twenty minutes away. Did I go? What do you think?
Despite an apparent inability to open my eyes I was thrilled. M and I went and made an afternoon of it, which included actually entering the store (it's a lot smaller than the set) and learning that the majority of Black Books tourists are Czech. It must translate well, like Shakespeare into German. I even took a souvenir: the delightfully meta 1948 Book Handbook.
M and Nifty Gifty.
There were even wine bottles out on the doorstep, just like there should be; although rubbish bags full of them would be preferable.
Black Books, or Collinge & Clark, is at
13 Leigh Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1H 9EW