A Different View Bookshop, as I thought with wry fondness of the many of the things that happened there, would have made for great tv. During the last couple of years, I’ve said good-bye to a lot of old friends, colleagues and “liming” spots but this one is going to be tough. At the end of August, the current incarnation of ADV will be no more and those of us who have shared time in this space are going to be at a loss.
If ADV was the bookshop version of Perks (the Friends coffee shop),then I would have been Rachel, the character played by Jennifer Aniston, at least without the blond hair and great figure. Unlike Rachel, I am a great wait person so it all balances out. I was fortunate enough to have worked in the bookshop while sorting out my life, tending to the friends who turned up to lime, for coffee, meetings and sometimes to buy stuff. As a lover of books it was a wonderful opportunity to soak them in, many things on the shelves became friends and I also learned how to read without creasing the covers. Valuable when you have to put stuff back on the shelf!
What I didn’t know when I said yes to minding the book store was the opportunity I was going to get in meeting some unusual people, all of whom added a little something to my mix. The characters that came and went were mostly colourful but none more so than the owner, Elspeth. I watched and learnt as she touched people’s lives without being aware of how much she was giving. Elspeth has that truly rare gift of making people feel important and customers came not only to buy books but to just be around her. In today’s fast paced world her gift of time and an ear are more valuable than money.
In my time minding the store, we had an itinerant swordsman, tarot folks, artists, lovers of books, some truly strange people (including me) but I cannot truthfully say I regret meeting anyone. One character was Anthony Habib, former advertising exec but depending on where you knew him, tarot card reader or Unity Minister. An incongruous mix, maybe to some but in the ADV setting, perfectly normal. Over the years we had many meals, I gave him lifts to places and other sundry meetings, we enjoyed many conversations and Tony really enlivened my life. Stricken with several medical conditions, he refused to modify his life and instead, lived it his way. Tony died of a heart attack on Sunday, I’m going to miss seeing him around.
After eleven years of carrying the torch, Elspeth is now moving on and I’d like to wish her the best. For more years than I will admit to, she gave me a place of refuge where I could be myself, she helped me to understand so many things and most of all, she is a truly wonderful friend. Yes, I’m going to miss the place but I do get to keep the friends.
So to my Saturday compadres Adele & Richard (& Aurora) and the other folks Stuart, Carol, Karen & Ian, Andre, Giselle & Anthony, Catherine & Chris and of course Elspeth, thanks for a really great ride along this part of life’s journey, it’s been a blast. I know we’ll be liming in a slightly different view. To the new owners whomever they might be, may you enjoy what we have and may you find your own place in people’s lives.