so that was the Bloomsbury 21st birthday party.
I have to say the combination of not going out much, as much free wine as you can be bothered to queue for and being a hungry non meat eater at an event where Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall provides much of the food is a heady one.
After being part of only about 10 people among around 400 actually watching the excellent Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (I can't believe that such a thunderous version of Psycho Killer will ever be played before such a large group of rational people to so little response ever again) then meeting up with my first ever Bloomsbury rep (I still remember the craft list),
the guy I gave my first ever order to (the legendary Barry from Penguin- now Bloomsbury),
after getting lost on the way home (never take a short cut when you're drunk), my trousers splitting, inappropriate (and, I'm pretty sure, just down right bad) dancing as well as catching up with, amongst others, the ever magnificent Mathew late of Deansgate now Manchester University press, the biggest surprise of the night was finding out that Richard Charkin had left Macmillan for Bloomsbury (actually the inappropriate dancing may still be the biggest surprise)
Richard seems to have copped a lot of flak from the book blogging world-quite a lot of it simply for being good at what he did. From here it seems he did an impeccable job of taking Macmillan and specially the magazines and academic side of it, through to where we are in the 'digital revolution'. More relevant to the shop (for those that don't know, the Pan Bookshop is owned by Macmillan, Richard was CEO until yesterday) is that Richard lives just around the corner from us and although there must have been times when he must have been bursting to say something he never interfered with the shop. I think we have about 3 books that we might not have had if our overall boss didn't shop here regularly (RSC Shakespeare which was borderline but maybe proximity of it's publisher got 4 onto the table rather than just one copy on the shelf and this was a margin issue rather than anything to do with the quality of the book- I also have 2 copies of the new Macmillan Advanced Learners Dictionary as I did want to show Richard that we actually got a better deal from the wholesaler rather than Palgrave- the academic wing of Macmillan- who are part of the same company as us!)
So farewell Richard, I think he is going to be a pretty tough act to follow and I'm sure Macmillan will miss him but I hope we'll still see him at Pan