Julian Nangle is a familiar figure in Dorchester’s literary circles. An antiquarian bookseller and sometime poet, he was also the proprietor of the much loved bookshop Words Etcetera in Cornhill for several years.
What many may not know is that he was a successful bookseller in London before moving to Dorset. His first bookshop in Islington in the late 1970s made the pages of Time Out and the Evening Standard, and attracted many well-known poets to poetry readings in the basement.
Several times a year, Nangle would send out a catalogue of his latest acquisitions, and from 1985 started prefacing them with a light-hearted, whimsical Personal Note.
Now these notes have been brought together in a wonderful collection of personal anecdotes that make an entertaining read.
From reminiscences of those early days in London, moving from one premises to another, to more recent times in Dorset, Nangle holds forth on a wide range of subjects from losing the luggage from his roofrack on holiday in France, to the state of English cricket.
Perhaps the most enjoyable excerpts follow his move to Dorset in 1994, with shops first in Blandford and then Dorchester. Nangle’s wry observations on everything from the banning of nose studs at a local school to the habits of some of the local populace to get blind drunk on a Friday night, make comic reading.
One of the most tender recollections is that of the stray tabby cat that lived on the allotments by the River Frome and used to greet him unfailingly when he went to tend his patch – until one day a notice went up that ‘Lazy Bones’ had passed away.
A truly delightful read.
Personal Note by Julian Nangle 1985-2015
Words Press £12.99 ISBN 978-0-9550931-2-8