Friday, 30 April 2010

And the author is?

Meant to comment on this last week. "War Horse", said Horse and Hound on their 22nd April cover. "Behind the scenes of the play taking horse world by storm." And it's an interesting article, looking at what it's like to be a puppeteer. There is though, absolutely no mention of the fact that the play is based on a book, that it has an author, and a story, and is not just frightfully clever people pretending, extraordinarily convincingly, to be horses, and that's it.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Amazon and the European Parliament

Just heard that Graham Watson, MEP for West Dorset, has submitted a parliamentary question to the European Commission on Amazon's price parity policy. Here's what he wrote to Sheppards:

Dear Sir

The European Commission tend to take 6-8 weeks to provide written answers to such questions, and I shall be pleased to inform you of their response when I receive it. Another good way to keep updated is through my weekly emailed newsletter from Brussels. In the meantime, I would add. 'Whilst the growth of Amazon as an online presence has presented tremendous opportunities to smaller book retailers, it is vital that operations are conducted in a fair way for all.'


'I know that retailers have been extremely disappointed with Amazon's latest decision on 'pricing parity', and I am looking forward to hearing the European Commission's view on the matter. When it comes to promoting healthy competition, it is important that no one actor dictates the terms of trade to others. I am committed to ensuring that fairness reigns for both retailers and consumers.


I look forward to keeping you updated with developments as they happen.
Graham Watson MEP, Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for South West England and Gibraltar.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Oh, elegance

I don't know what it is about jeans these days - well, actually I think I do and I blame Alexander McQueen, him and his bumster trousers. Do not see why you cannot get a pair of jeans that are slim on the leg but will actually stay up. Have spent incredibly frustrating day hauling up jeans despite belt. I lost weight since I bought them and I thought that would help as there would be more for the belt to bite on, so to speak, but it's a complete and utter waste of time.

Anyway, I have been looking at a 1939 Riding Magazine, and I know it might seem that I am completely obsessed with riding clothes from decades ago, but oh, the elegance of these and the bliss of someone making something for you that fits. This ad makes even the elephant ears look good. I want to be her, and have her horse. That hat, the hair, the boots...

Not quite so keen on being this one : that jacket is scary, and the moment I entered their establishment they would KNOW that my clothes didn't even fit where they touched (particularly if I was wearing my jeans). Goodness, they're snooty though - mass produced clothes ending in dismal failure? Cripes.



I have also long had a yen to try sidesaddle, because I do rather fancy the idea of swishing along in one of those habits. This must have been one of the last gasps of habit advertising, because I can't recall one from my 1950s magazines. Out of interest I looked up modern day habit suppliers to see how much they cost and have temporarily shelved the idea. Will probably have to try something more lucrative than bookselling in order to have one.



The Swaine & Adeney ad doesn't actually show anything that glam, but S, A, B is my most abiding memory of my first visit to London. I was on a school trip, and the coach went along Piccadilly, and there, there, when the coach stopped, was Swaine, Adeney, Brigg (speaking of Brigg, where was he/she in 1938?) and I nearly died of bliss. I can't remember what the school trip was in aid of at all, but I remember the deliciousness of the window display. Alas S, A, B is long since closed - in Piccadilly, at any rate, but I have just looked them up, and they're alive and well and in St James. Well. Alas the equestrian and clothing sections on the website are sadly empty.



Daughter has now inspected my jeans problem, and pronounced my belt inadequate. Casting a thoughtful glance at my middle she might, she says, have one belt that might do the job.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Costume update!

You might remember I posted about this entry in the Ponies of Britain Summer Show of 1976, and wondered "Could Humpty actually see? What would have happened if the soldier had dropped the lead rope and the Shetland wall had been left to his own devices?"



Aha! Now I know. We had a bit of a clear up trying to find OH's driving licence - not the bit you carry round, the other bit, whose name temporarily escapes me - but clearing out a basket in the kitchen I found a load of 1970s Pony Magazines I had completely forgotten I had. Thanks to Caroline Akrill's report on the show, I now know exactly what happened:

"Humpty Dumpty was in second place. Half-way through the judging, he did actually part company with his "wall" (a Shetland pony), who decided he didn't want to play any more. Humpty's head was a miracle of construction; and even though the child inside couldn't have filled more than the chin, you still had to flinch when they hooked the rosettes into the eyes."

I knew it. I knew that Shetland was up to no good.

Monday, 19 April 2010

What book dealers might do about Amazon

Many bookdealers get Sheppards newsletter every week (they publish a directory of bookdealers), and two weeks ago the editor, Richard Sheppard, put on a poll to gauge what bookdealers were going to do with Amazon's new diktat.

I can't seem to put a table into this blog (sure I could if I fiddled with the html but I think I'll give that a miss in the interests of finishing work before Glee starts), so here are the non-tabulated results to the question "Will you accept Amazon's Pricing Parity policy?" 506 votes were cast.

11% will accept because Amazon is such an effective site for selling books
9% will accept the policy for the time being and plan to move away
23% will accept the policy for the time being but join with others to oppose Amazon's policy
11% will accept the policy out of fear of being banned from Amazon
46% will quit selling through Amazon as soon as practical

As Richard says, "as with all polls, it is one thing to express one's opinion anonymously in a poll and another to actually carry out the expressed choice." True, and it is particularly difficult if it means saying farewell to income because that's never a cheerful process.

Friday, 2 April 2010

The non-Amazon book buying experience

I freely admit I've bought more than my fair share of books from Amazon in the past years, but now I've taken the vow of abstinence and avoidance as far as they're concerned, I have to look elsewhere.

Get your act together, guys. I tried to buy a recently republished book - The Sweet Running Filly by Barbara van Tuyl. It will cost you £7.00 plus p&p on Amazon; delivery time 2-3 weeks. I'll go direct to the States, I thought, as it's an American book. So, I tried Barnes & Noble. Good, smooth ordering experience, shipping pricey (a bit over £8.00) but that's not surprising from the USA. Ordered yesterday - today get email cancelling, as they're out of stock. No option to re-order, no idea of when it might be back in again.

Yesterday I tried to find a British seller, so tried The Book Depository - a dead cert, I thought, as they list the book on Amazon at less than Amazon are selling it for. Is it on their own site, which would presumably make selling the book cheaper for them? It is not.

I emailed them about this, and got a very prompt email (good) saying "I’m afraid we have not yet added this to our independent website catalogue yet, we hope to get this added in the near future."

:headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk: