Vanishing Bookstalls and Non-existent Literary Reviews…

Kirsty asks a curious question:

“Last summer I was shopping at the outdoor market. Just past the furniture shop and opposite Café Rouge, there’s a rather ugly building, and there are stalls all the way round it at the weekend, all book stalls at the front. As you look at the building from the road, on the right hand side there’s a fairly narrow space, and there was a book stall in there selling mostly philosophy, history, classics and poetry.

I bought two boxes of books and had a long chat with the stallholder, who told me that a) he was starting a poetry/lit review magazine/society and asked if I’d contribute something and b) he was moving to an inside stall upstairs in that building. I was away from London for much of last summer so couldn’t do anything, but since returning I have tried to find the guy and his stall with no luck.

How do you get upstairs in that building? The only door I could find that opened belonged to a vintage clothes stall and the girl I spoke to couldn’t help. I have been back several times and the guy has vanished. I’d love to know whether he got his magazine/society off the ground (and whether he’s still interested in contributions) and also I want to find his book stall – he had a superb collection.”

The Phantom Replies:

I am assuming you’re talking about Stockwell Street market and the building is either the ex-petrol station or the warehouses behind. I confess I only know of a vintage clothing shop upstairs in the old petrol station and a sort of curiosity-shop upstairs in the other store (long-term readers may be familiar with the strange character outside that particular place…)

I don’t know the specific chap you’re talking about; Literary reviews, like book stalls, come and go. I met a girl recently though, who was starting up a literary magazine in Greenwich – for the life of me I can’t remember its name (I think it’s something to do with the university) and I know that when I met her, a few months ago she was looking for submissions.

If your literary bent is towards London and a creepy-alternative view of her, you might try the underground magazine One Eye Grey – “A Penny Dreadful for the 21st Century.” I’ve read several of them since they started a couple of years ago. Quality ranges from the superb to the frankly rather poor, but it’s always an interesting read (except when they venture out of the Capitol down to Brighton, pah) and when it’s good it’s very very good. I always have huge admiration for anyone running a literary magazine – seems like a hiding for nothing to me, which is why I try to support them when I can. Let us know if you get anything published, won’t you, Kirsty…


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