Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Kiwis 1947 – 1948

The Kiwis 1947 – 1948, edited by E.M. Gibson.  Paperback book published in 1948.

“Recounting the doings of The New Zealand Rugby League Kiwis, 1947, on and off the field, during the tour of England, Wales and France September, 1947 to January, 1948.” 

So what do I know about Rugby?
Next to nothing.  I know there’s more than one sort of Rugby and I know that people run very fast and throw a ball… and that sometimes people get hurt.  I’m also aware that off the field some Rugby players have a bad reputation.  More importantly, I do know that people are fanatical about Rugby in all its forms and permutations, not only here in Australia but overseas as well.  Which brings me to this book.

New Zealand is well known in this country for its competitive nature on the Rugby field… and indeed on any playing field where we can possibly compete (Cricket, Soccer… Apples).  In 1947 the New Zealand Rugby team decided it was time to go a little further a field to play some Rugby and decided that Europe was where rugby was really happening at the time.  Which in itself was an interesting choice considering that Europe had just finished one battle (WWII) and I do wonder how prepared they would have been to do battle against New Zealand in 1947. 

The book contains a lot of detail about the games that were played.  This was a time before cable TV… or any TV and a book (this book) was the way one got a blow by blow account of the events.  It contains lots of statistics and information that would appeal to anyone interested in the History of Rugby, particularly the New Zealand variety.

So here’s the problem.  New Zealand is not really that far from where I sit now… a bit far to walk or to run holding a ball, but on a plane it’s fairly close.  So if it is that close why don’t I sell more books to New Zealand?  Well the secret lies in that competitive nature I mentioned above.  New Zealand buyers tend to shop within New Zealand (correct me if I’m wrong).  They have their own version of eBay called trademe which is incredibly popular… just ask someone living in New Zealand if they would rather shop on trademe or eBay.  Unfortunately trademe is only available for New Zealanders or at least for people with New Zealand bank accounts.  They have eBay as well, but from the information I have, trademe is a serious competitor.

So the long and the short of it is that my experience of sales to New Zealand is minimal… that doesn’t mean that I haven’t sold books to New Zealand, it means that the number of books I sell to New Zealand is minimal considering the lower cost of postage to NZ as apposed to elsewhere.  This lack of interest from Australia’s neighbor, makes it hard to sell books about New Zealand rugby in 1947. 

So here’s the deal… I will buy a New Zealand apple when someone in New Zealand buys this book... and not before. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Vivienne Westwood: Spring Summer 2008 by Juergen Teller.

Vivienne Westwood: Spring Summer 2008 by Juergen Teller.  Hardcover book published 2008.

This book is a collection of photographs of Vivienne Westwood designs/creations from her Spring Summer collection of 2008.  Juergen Teller… well he’s a fashion photographer, which is why he’s photographing Vivienne Westwoods fashions.  Excuse my ignorance, but I didn’t buy this book because of Juergen… I’d never even heard of the guy (…should I have?).  It was Vivienne Westwoods name that jumped out at me whilst perusing through a mountain of books.  Now some of you may be a bit surprised to read that I’m not a fashion conscious sort of guy and therefore I don’t pay much attention to catwalks or fashion photography and I just want to clarify that it’s not that I don’t appreciate fashion, it’s just not my thing.  Vivienne Westwood is someone I know of mainly through her Punk connections and the fact that she was in a long term relationship with Malcolm McLaren… which was all a very long time ago and I’m sure she’s done lots of other things since then, particularly in the fashion world… but as I just wrote, it’s not my thing.

That’s Vivienne in the middle… and that’s not me on the right.

So as I was writing a brief description for an ebay listing of this book, I remembered reading about Malcolm McLarens funeral a few years ago.  At the time of his passing, I had a look around on the interwebs and found no images or video of the event.  So my brain being jolted by Vivienne and her 2008 collection, I figured it was time to have another look for Malcolms funeral and surprise surprise I found this:
No, in itself it’s not the best thing I’ve ever seen on you tube, but still it does give an idea of the event.  My favourite bit was the front of the bus having “Nowhere” as it’s destination… that’s a cultural reference… if you don’t get it… well… where were you in 1977? 

Anyway, back to Vivienne.  The photos are great and the fashions look wonderful… at least I think they do.  Personally though, I can’t see a wardrobe change happening here at Huc & Gabet in the near future.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Victa Rotary Mowers 1955-1984: Service and Repair Manual.

Victa Rotary Mowers 1955-1984: Service and Repair Manual.  Paperback book published by Gregory’s Publishing 1984.

I’m currently looking at buying a lawnmower and to be honest the idea of a repair manual at this point of time in regards to my purchasing of a lawnmower, is not what I want to know about.  You see, when I buy a lawnmower, I don’t want it to break down and I certainly don’t want to have to repair it.  Maybe after many years of lawn trimming and with the inevitable wear and tear, I might consider such a manual, but at this stage of my lawnmower purchase, I don’t think so……….  I can’t believe I just wrote that… I would never repair a lawnmower.  That’s not because the will is lacking, it’s because I know my limitations and lawnmower fixing is one of them.  What I am capable of doing is finding a book on lawnmower fixing and that’s about it.  Maybe I could sell this book to the person who will fix my lawnmower… that I haven’t bought yet… and that won’t break down for many years to come (I hope).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The National Spanish Fiesta or the Art of Bullfighting by Santiago Wealands Tapia Robson.

The National Spanish Fiesta or the Art of Bullfighting by Santiago Wealands Tapia Robson.  Hardcover book published in 1960.

Have you ever wanted to know more about Bullfighting… but were afraid to ask.  Well this book might just be what you were looking for.  The author, Santiago Wealands Tapia Robson, was an Anglo-Spanish Bullfighter who began his career in 1912 and finished his career not long thereafter. The bulls he fought were all Spanish(?)  and they finished their careers in even less time than Santiago.  This book was apparently the first book to be written by an English bullfighter and interestingly it was published in Spain and not in the Anglosphere.

So what we have here is a bit of a guide and introduction to the slaughter of animals sport of bullfighting and not a DIY guide to slaughtering fighting the moo moo.  I’ve actually seen a DIY guide to bullfighting with all the instructions and glorious diagrams… unfortunately it is no longer within my periphery. 

“Of all the installations inside the “Plaza de Tores” the most important must always be the infirmary.  Article 88 in the laws governing the bullfight orders; “The infirmary of the “Plaza de Tores” must possess all necessary equipment, and be ready to give instant assistance to any spectator, or member of the staff, who may require it”.”  

How true is this paragraph.  Unfortunately when they refer to spectator or members of staff, this excludes all of the bulls.  I’ve never seen a bullfight, but I get the feeling that an Indonesian slaughter yard might look like Disneyland compared to some bullfighting events.

Apparently the popularity of bull fighting is in decline.  I recently heard that another region of Spain has stopped Bullfighting.  I guess that times change and people are happier with this.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kimono dressing and manners by Hisako Yamano

Kimono dressing and manners by Hisako Yamano.  Paperback published by Shufu To Seikatusha 2001. (All text is Japanese. Title is approximate only.)  

Try as I might, I just can’t seem to avoid picking up foreign language publications. 

Japanese books often have an aesthetic beauty that transcends a lack of Japanese language skills. I was recently at another booksellers shop and saw a truly amazing Kimono book from the 1960s filled with wonderful colour photographs.  It was beautiful and had an elegance and aesthetic that a Myers* catalogue doesn’t.  This book whilst not as beautiful as the other book still has an elegance and beauty about it.   

I’m sure there are many people out there who are itching to know how to put on a Kimono and OK most of us outside of Japan, can’t understand a word of the text but the many illustrations allows all of us non Japanese reading, book and Kimono appreciators, to appreciate the finer art of the Kimono... it should also appeal to fans of the instructional book.  Here’s a few examples:


If you’ve looked at these images and not thought much of them… well that’s OK.  The book isn’t for you.  Personally, I think the book looks great.

*Large Australian department store.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Red Commissar by Jaroslav Hasek

The Red Commissar by Jaroslav Hasek.
The Bad Bohemian: Life of Jaroslav Hasek by Sir Cecil Parrott.

Jaroslav Haseks The Good Soldier Svejk, is possibly one of the funniest books I have ever read.  A number of years ago I mentioned this opinionated opinion to a friend of mine who unexpectedly pulled out copies of The Red Commissar (Hasek) and The Bad Bohemian: Life of Jaroslav Hasek (Sir Cecil Parrott) both of which I hadn’t read and which he then very kindly lent me. 

These books were awesome and as a fan of Svejk it was a real joy to be able to read some more stories of these bumbling fools (Svejk and Hasek… also The Red Commissar).  Jaroslav Hasek was a very strange man, he was also a very funny man and from memory he was also a very drunk man.  Svejk on the other hand was/is an idiot.   Now this may sound a bit harsh but it is this trait that makes him so appealingly funny.  Any book that pokes fun at the Austro-Hungarian Army (or any army) and the first world war in all its glorious bureaucracy by inserting a bumbling half witted soldier into the mix, just can’t help but be funny.  This is probably best evidenced by the continued popularity of Svejk in Europe particularly in Austria, Germany and The Czech Republic (Hasek was Czech).  Here in Australia, Svejk is less well known but those that do know him, love him.

 A fridge magnet

I think I may have previously hinted that there are certain books that I look out for that are for me personally and not for sale and these 2 books are very high up on my list.  At a rough guess I’d say I have been looking for both of them for 14, maybe 15, years to no avail… until…

Last week I was working hard, looking through a shelf of general fiction, when what do I find… The Red Commissar.  Finally after all those years of searching I now have it in my hand… and it’s a hardcover… with a dust jacket.  I’m personally not that fussed about firsts, but I do like a hardcover and I like my books to be in reasonable condition… sort of like what I sell.  From memory I may have audibly and enthusiastically commented, “Oh yeah”… the joy was nearly overwhelming.  So I victoriously put the book under my arm and continued working (looking at more books).  But something was nagging at me, I hadn’t had a really good close look at the book.  I took it back out from under my arm and proceeded to open it… It was split, that is, it had cracked somewhere in the middle of the book.  I closed it and thought, it’s not the end of the world… a split is nothing… then thought maybe I should open it again and double check if it’s split elsewhere.  As I was flicking through it began to crack all over and large sections started to come loose.  The book was falling to pieces in my hand.  Even now writing about this a week later, a tear comes to my eye.  I was so close but so far.  Needless to say I didn’t buy it.  One day it will happen… I feel certain it will.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Making a Transistor Radio (A ladybird “How to make it” book) by G.C. Dobbs.

Making a Transistor Radio (A ladybird “How to make it” book) by G.C. Dobbs.  Hardcover book published by Wills & Hepworth 1972.

Do you remember the good old days when we listened to the radio… on a radio, not on the internet?  I’m of an age when I do remember the old transistor radio.  I even owned one when I was a young boy.  It was a Christmas present and boy did I feel special being able to listen to all that great 1970s music… oh yeah… I was cool (true).  One thing I didn’t do was make my own radio.  For some reason Santa decided that the Japanese could do a better job at making a Transistor radio than I could.  I think he might have been right.  Instead I got a basket making kit… it wasn’t much fun.

This book, part of the classic Ladybird imprint, shows you how to make a transistor radio… although mine did look very different to anything that is pictured in this book.  Thinking about it though, isn’t making a transistor radio making a little complicated for the readers of Ladybird books… or maybe this is just my thinking and any 6 to 10 year old, other than myself at 6 to 10 years of age, is/was more than capable of making a radio.

This particular copy is in great condition, which sort of leads me to believe that it wasn’t actually used or overly read.  Maybe whoever originally owned it decided just like Santa that the Japanese could do a better job.  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Good Manners by Lady Kitty Vincent.

Good Manners by Lady Kitty Vincent.  Hardcover book published by Hodder and Stoughton (no date, circa 1926), 222 pages. 

Chapter 1
“Good manners are the pneumatic tyres on the motor-car of life. Without them, certainly the car can progress, but it will be far less pleasant for the inmates. Good manners count far more than people realise. Often and often they make the difference between success and failure. A rough diamond may be of equal colour to the polished stone, but it is not so attractive to the observer, and may, therefore, pass unnoticed. There is a form of snobbism quite as virulent and unpleasant as the type which runs after titles and frequents “smart” houses—the snobbism which affects to consider all the refinements and generally accepted customs of modern society as ridiculous and to be despised. Certainly it is not a crime to eat peas with one’s knife, but it is neither a pretty nor a safe habit.”

This book is another one that has all the answers to all the big questions.  How often have we all wondered which is the correct arm to offer a woman and what do you do when dancing with Royalty… besides dancing.  I have included the above paragraph to give you an idea of the tone on this work.  I particularly like the use of the word “inmates” and I think Lady Kitty Vincent was particularly brave for using “snobbism” so early in her work.

The following is a copy of the contents pages:

Where to walk when escorting a woman—The correct arm to offer—When dancing with Royalty.
Addressing banks, shops, Editors—Letters of condolence—Beginnings —Endings—Choice of note-paper.
Addressing dukes, archbishops, etc.—Writing to Royalties—Visiting at Government House.
Sports clothes—Swimming suits—Riding clothes—Mourning.
Decoration—Spare bedrooms—Servants’ bedrooms—Servants’ hall.
Where to live—Cheap decoration—Hot-water arrangements.
Sympathy—Number required—Butler’s, cook’s, valet’s, lady maid’s duties.
Dinners—Luncheons—Ball-suppers, etc.
10. CHILDREN . .
Nurseries—Nurses—Pet animals for children— Education, etc.
Letters of invitation—Staying in the small house—Shooting parties—Tips.
Making the best of things—Engagement rings— Visiting new relations—Breaking it off— Wedding invitations.
Rotten Row—Correct clothes—Riding lessons— Hunting.
Wreaths — Arrangements — Clothes — Military funerals.
What to take in the matter of clothes—Books— Decorating a bungalow—Servants.

Good to see that servants are covered.  We wouldn’t want the barriers to be broken down or anything like that.  This book is a regular what’s what in the world of manners and I guess that Lady Kitty Vincent, wife of Brigadier-General Sir Berkeley Vincent and then Ralph Gerald Ritson (English Champion Polo Player), was indeed in the know in regards to the world of manners.  I’ve often wondered how to arrange the Servants bedrooms and what book to take to India.  Decorating a bungalow… where was this book when I needed it?  I now know what to do if invited shooting whilst staying at a country house and the next time I have to break off wedding arrangements, well let’s just say I’m in the know on that one as well.

Finally I would like to say that as far as I’m concerned “to eat peas with one’s knife” IS a crime no matter what Lady Kitty Vincent writes. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Truth About ESP: What it is, How it works & How you develop it by Hans Holzer.

The Truth About ESP: What it is, How it works & How you develop it by Hans Holzer.  Hardcover book published 1974.

There are those of you out there in the www, who knew that I was going to write about this book. Your ESP skills are fully developed and you are well aware of the contents of this blog entry… and this book... and therefore you probably don’t need to read any further.  If you are like most of us* and don’t have any ESP skills then this book is possibly of interest… as is this blog entry.

So what is the truth about ESP?  Are tea leaves a hoax? This question is posed on the back of the dust jacket.  I’ve seen tea leaves and they look pretty real to me.  There are many questions in the world and we all want the answers.  But there is only one question that I want the answer to** and it has nothing to do with tea leaves.  My question is:  Is this book going to sell?  Unfortunately I don’t have the all seeing eye but the publishers blurb does indicate that “… ESP is a power latent in each one of us.  Every man, woman, and child has the ability to obtain information beyond the limitations of the time-space continuum.”

Firstly: The time-space continuum… wow. The scope of this book is obviously bigger than my little brain can even begin to imagine. 
Secondly: “…a power latent in each one of us”. mmmm I’m not feeling the power, but I’m also not 100% jiggy with the whole time-space continuum thingy, maybe I need to get up to speed with time-space first and then I will learn if tea leaves are real.

Due to my limited*** ESP skills, I have no idea whether this book will sell or not.  Maybe some of you who do have the power will let me know what you can or can’t see… also some lottery numbers would be good.

*All of us.
**Other than all those important Pirate questions.
***Non existent.