Sunday, 8 December 2013

Duran Duran - Hungry like the wolf (1982)

Duran Duran's second album "Rio" was released on May 10th 1982. Sometime shortly after that I went for a regular sleepover at my friend Jane's house. She had a copy of the record and we listened to "Hungry like the wolf". Jane's house was the one place I could go that met my parents' approval. They trusted Jane's Dad to pick me up in his blue Toyota as he was a "good driver". I have no idea how they formed this opinion but I was happy to concur if it got me out of the house.

I was a regular at Jane's house. I loved it there as they would often cook my favourite meat fondue in the evening and bacon sandwiches in the morning. I felt they were very sophisticated having a fondue set. They were also avid tea drinkers, like me, so I felt very at home.

Jane was a prolific reader and I'm fairly sure that she had just finished reading either "Mein Kampf" or "Das Capital" on this particular visit. Her parents owned the most wonderful antiquarian bookshop and Jane was working her way through the entire collection of thousands of books. 

This was an age that was pre-computers, pre-internet, pre-google or wikipedia but walking into their ship was like walking into a virtual search engine. I would spend a lot of time in the music section (left hand side, half way down, floor level). I was also interested in the geography section (left-hand side, slightly around the corner) and biographies which had a room to themselves on the right.  No boring dewey-decimal system for them. Jane's mum had devised her own system and had an encyclopedic knowledge of the books. Sometimes a customer would come in and say "I once read a book, it had a green cover and one of the characters was called Mary"....Irene invariably went straight to the correct book. The matt grey painted shelves, gloss black painted boarders and William Morris wallpaper, combined with rows of antiquarian books, led to a very stylish look. 

I was very happy to spend as much time as I could in their shop. My reading wasn't all high brow though. I demolished all their Mills and Boon section, secretly reading them at home and then returning them to the shop.

Jane's dad, Kevin had built all of the shelves with his secret system. I never could figure out where the nails went. Kevin and Irene were a double act and were the perfect combination to run this exquisite shop.  The shop was very stylish and had a small oval garden in the centre. The shop even featured in an episode on "Bergerac".

After the sleepover we'd walk down to the shop, hang out, drink tea, walk around town in our school regulation paddington bear navy blue duffel coats which also served as weekend coats. 

We'd look in Unit One and then Rock Island, walk through Woolworths and past Millets where they sold parkas, two tone trousers and black Harrington jackets with tartan lining - a combination that enticed me with its tantalising message of rebellion but I knew I could never wear as I was a) female b) my parents would not allow it. I hankered after a parka. Jane remembers lunch at Pizzaland, half a pizza, baked potato and coleslaw for a £1.  

Then we'd head back to the shop for tea and chats. In its heyday such was Thesaurus' reputation that customers would fly into Jersey just to visit.

One such couple came from Loveland, Colorado and stayed in our house which my mum also ran as a guesthouse between April and October. The woman had discovered that she was related to the Falle family and came to Jersey to search out her heritage and spent much time in Thesaurus.

After my mum died when I was 21, Jane's parents very kindly invited my Dad and me for Christmas with them and those were very happy Christmases indeed. After lunch we would play Trivial Pursuit, which was great fun because Jane's mum knew all the literature answers and there was no question I was ever going to get close to winning.  I remember there was discussion concerning a question about "Black Friday" or the strike of 1921. My Dad closed the conversation down by pointing out that he was there and remembered going to school on a bus covered in barbed wire. He said "It's not history to me, it's just life".

Thank you to Jane Creaton for providing the photographs of Thesauraus Booksellers.

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