Friday, April 29, 2011

“Are you one of us?”


Greetings comrades. 

4 pamphlets of communist theory/propaganda/comment etc etc.  I love this stuff, but I have been finding less of it on my recent journeys.  Victoria is no longer the hotbed of red that it once was and these fiery little political manifestos of classless stateless sociopolitics, appear to have not lasted the distance.  Possibly the format hasn’t helped the longevity of these revolutionary tomes as they were often cheaply printed and sold(?) as stapled booklets… as these examples demonstrate.  Affordable and portable, within the grasp of the proletariat, these booklets were intended to be easily carried and read until they fell apart, or were passed to another comrade, or were discarded… well that was the idea.  Sometimes the content dated quickly and discarding the booklet would probably have been a quick solution to an awkward situation (think Comrade Stalin).  All of this leads to a scarcity of this subject matter in this format… and all of this leads to just another Huc & Gabet theory.

I bought these pamphlets and a few other bits from an antique dealer/junk seller who tends to sell large amounts of items/junk at great prices (sort of a middleman between the original owner and me).  This dealer/junk seller is a great salesman and he tends to be very vocal and flamboyant and is always eager to share a quick comment or story… which he did when I bought these items from him.  He bought these books with a whole heap of other “junk” from an elderly man with a thick Balkan accent.  When the dealer/junk seller noticed these booklets he made some throwaway comment (probably a bit sarcastic), which the owner picked up on and replied with the question “Are you one of us?”  Well comrades, this is the big question…

The East German FDJ (Freie Deutsche Jugend (Free German Youth)), was the official socialist youth movement of the German Democratic Republic and they had a particularly memorable (grim) song entitled Sag mir wo du stehst.  The chorus goes:
“Sag mir wo du stehst
Und welchen Weg du gehst!”
(Loosely translated as: Tell me where you stand, And which way you go!)
Why am I comparing a comment made to someone in 2011 to a vintage East German propaganda tune from 1967?  Well here we are in Victoria, Australia and the question after 44 years is basically the same (?), “Are you one of us?”  “Us”!!!  Who are “Us”?  I wrote earlier in this piece that “Victoria is no longer the hotbed of red”, but this elderly gentleman is obviously a comrade and still very much alive, here in Victoria in 2011 and he is obviously not alone (“us”) or is he one of the last true believers, either way I now have a few of his treasured booklets.    

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Clunes Back to Booktown 2011.

Here at Huc & Gabet there is a flurry of activity as I prepare for the Clunes Booktown annual book fair extravaganza (14 to 15 May 2011  When I write “flurry”, I’m referring to pricing, sorting, getting new signage and to be honest, mainly psyching myself up for this massive weekend where I sell direct to the public for 2 whole days... with no computer in sight.  This will be the third time Huc & Gabet has participated in this amazing bookfest and this year I will be bringing along another great mix of excellent books of interest, including some of the exciting titles I’ve written about in this blog.

Last year, Huc & Gabet had only just moved to Clunes (yes, Huc & Gabet is based in Clunes) and I was still an unknown stranger in the town.  This year I’m a known stranger… and have even managed to coerce a neighbour into helping out for a few minutes at some point during each day.  This means that unlike last year, I will be able to have a quick look around at some of the other stalls… maybe even have some lunch. 

So last year I took a few photographs.  This is the town early in the morning… a lovely still mist…very nice.

I took a few photographs of the Huc & Gabet stall which will be once again in the court house in the barristers chamber.

I’m amazed at these photographs as this isn’t what I remember of the weekend.  All I remember is the frantic rush to get some sort of semblance of order on the Friday and then on the Saturday, so many people that it’s hard to move.  Sunday is a quieter day.  It’s hard to describe how great the weekend is… there are literally thousands of people in this small town, wanting to buy books.  This is a wonderful thing, if you’re wanting to sell books. 
Some of my favourite comments from last year include:
“I’m going to have to go back to the car and empty my bag… again.”
“Weren’t you here last year?”
“Got any Wilbur Smith?” (I didn’t)
“Got any Wilbur Smith?” (…different person… still didn’t)

Anyway, if you’re in Victoria and want (or need) to go a little crazy stocking up your library, this is a great place to do it… drop by and say hello.  I’ll be in the Court House next to the Town Hall.  I won’t have any Wilbur Smith… but I will have a few Graham Greene’s… and a friendly smile.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sweden and National Liberation in Southern Africa by Tor Sellstrom (2 volume set).

Sweden and National Liberation in Southern Africa Volume 1: Formation of a Popular Opinion 1950-70 by Tor Sellstrom. 
Sweden and National Liberation in Southern Africa Volume 2: Solidarity and Assistance 1970-1994 by Tor Sellstrom. 
2 hardcover books published by Nordiska Afrikainstitutet 2003 and 2002.

Occasionally I’m shocked by some of the titles I find.  The obscurity of the subject matter of these volumes, particularly here in Australia, is mind boggling and bewildering.  If I was in Sweden or South Africa, I’d understand.  But I’m not in Sweden or South Africa, I’m in Australia.  Don’t get me wrong, the subject matter is important and interesting… but here in Australia we have our own issues on which many books are written about… and more particularly in relation to this blog… which sell.  What I’m trying to say is that books about South Africa’s troubled past are very difficult to sell here in Australia… at least that’s my experience... books about about our own troubled past (and present) are a little easier to sell.  So I looked long and hard at these books as I held them for consideration.  It’s a very specific subject matter, written in a scholarly/academic manner and obviously not written for the casual reader.  Australia is a long way from Sweden and South Africa which are a long way from each other.  The chance of selling these books here are very slim.  But still I figured they would be worth $$$ and once I’d checked the www this did prove to be correct.  So despite all my misgivings, I decided to take the plunge and I now own these hard to sell but worth $$$ books.  Now some of you may have noticed the subtitle of this blog “Books of interest and interesting books”.  I think these volumes are of interest and interesting… I guess this is what sparked my interest and eventual purchase.  These books do fit the Huc & Gabet criteria.  There is another Huc & Gabet criteria that they don’t fit… the “sold” criteria.

Monday, April 18, 2011

How GOD Gives Us PEANUT BUTTER by Mary LeBar.

How GOD Gives Us PEANUT BUTTER by Mary LeBar, Illustrated by Vera Gohman.  Paperback booklet published 1964.

This is something I’ve been wanting to know about for a long time, particularly if the explanation can be accompanied by actions… as this book is.  The thing is, I’ve read the book and I’ve done the actions (see scans below) and i still don’t understand how god gives us peanut butter.  Maybe the children (I assume the book is for children) of 1964 had a different understanding of this sort of thing than I do as a grown man in 2011.  

Strangely though, for a book which appears at first glance to be vintage religious propaganda, there’s does seem to be a lack of God throughout the book.  OK, he’s there at the beginning and at the end (re “he”: God would most definitely have been a man in this peanut butter world of 1964) but in the main part of the text I can’t find any god references… although maybe there’s a complicated subtext here that I’m not seeing. 

The author and illustrator also worked on that other best seller in the How GOD Gives Us series entitled How GOD Gives Us Ice Cream.  A quick www search and apparently they also wrote other fine titles including How GOD Gives Us Warm Coats, Apples, Bread and Happy Homes (that’s 4 different titles… these subjects are bigger than 1 book can realistically cope with) … collect the set.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ways of Escape by Graham Greene.

Finally another Graham Greene
Hardcover, dust jacket, cover is… green.
Published by The Bodley Head
In nineteen eighty twas first read.

This book covers much geography.
It’s not fiction, it’s biography.
Some of it has been published before
Essays and stuff and much much more.

It’s the second part of his dealings
And it’s told with skill and feeling(s).
“At the dangerous edge of things”
The authors words excitement brings

“His restlessness is legendary”
His encounters extraordinary.
To Vietnam because he could,
Cuba, Prague and then Hollywood.

My excitement was great when I found this book
A hardcover Graham that has a great look.
Something to rhyme and share with you all
A victorious poem …I heard the call.

Now here’s something that’s really funny
This Graham Greene aint worth much money.
Despite the fact it’s a first edition,
All solid and in great condition.

Regardless though, I’m still pleased
That I found this gem, no pages creased.
At Booktown Clunes this book will be
May 14th, 15th for all to see.

Huc & Gabet and Graham Greene
Oh yes, we make a great team.
Now I’ve fed my hunger and thirst,
For a Graham Greene hardcover first.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Veterinary Advice for Greyhound Owners by John Kohnke.

Veterinary Advice for Greyhound Owners by John Kohnke.  Hardcover book published 1993.

Anyone who has ever paid a veterinary bill, will understand why this book exists.  Greyhound owners invest a lot of time and money hoping for an eventual reward and I’m pretty sure that veterinary bills are just another unwanted added cost to an already costly venture, so much so that your average Joe the Greyhound owner would probably be keen on a cheaper option… wherever possible.  In regards to the “reward”, some of you out there may be thinking that not all Greyhounds are possible money making ventures, which is I guess is true.  This book though, was not written for the casual pet owner (see cover).

Greyhound owners, as with many other dog owners, are fairly fanatical about their animals, but from my experience, the Greyhound is one of the few breeds where their owners do not hesitate in investing in books… I guess the financial incentive is the reason for this… or at least that’s my reasoning for their reasoning.  This particular title is a great example of a very practical book that I can imagine being used and used again.  As the title indicates some “advice” on these matters could save a greyhound owner $$$.

The author is (was?) a veterinarian who wrote articles for the Greyhound Star (British Racing Paper… probably concerned with Greyhound racing) and along with personal advice about greyhounds (?), he had a reputation “for providing practical, down to earth advice on common everyday problems faced by greyhound trainers and breeders”.  In other words the author was a bit of an authority on greyhounds and their ailments… and obviously passionate about Greyhounds… and Greyhound racing.

So what we have here is an authoritive book of definite practical use by a group of people that from experience, buy books.  The big question is… why didn’t anyone buy it when I had it listed on ebay… twice?  There were people watching the book both times, which is always a good indicator, but no bids.  Pricing may have been an issue, but checking the www, I did have it listed well below current www cost.  Possibly the date of publication. 1993 was a long time ago.  Who knows.  Often I list books for sale and when they don’t sell, I figure that I obviously got it wrong.  With this book, this is not the case.  It should have sold.  I’ll now list the book on Books & Collectibles.  Surely someone out there will want/need this book at some stage.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Soggy Moggy + 2.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water along comes another Stuff on my cat book and this time they’re wet and have a lot less stuff on them.  Unhappy wet cats… that’s what this book is about.  Or maybe there’s a deeper meaning behind this book… nope I can’t think of a deeper meaning. It’s simply a book full of soggy moggy’s.

Sex kittens: Single cat seeking same.  Personal adds for cats!!!  Yep as hard as it is to believe this book is full of… ummmm… personal adds… for cats.  Those of you who know the book “They call me naughty Lola”*, might appreciate this book… except of course this book is fiction (I think it’s fiction) and it’s about cats.  There’s a gay and lesbian section as well (keeps everyone happy).  People sit down and make this stuff up… and other people like it.  This is not the first copy of this book that I have purchased… sad, but true.  

Life according to Maude.  WHY. WHY. WHY.  …sort of speechless here.  I get it that people like cats.  I get it that people like the idea of humour and cats.  But this book is just weird.  Maybe it’s me.  Maybe I’m the only person in the world who doesn’t get the whole concept of a cat dressed up and then photoshoped (I hope they’re photoshoped) with added captions.  I think this is just that little bit strange.  

So 3 humourous (?) cat books.  They’re not for ebay.  Humour doesn’t sell that well on ebay and cat books even less so.  These are the sort of books you pick up and laugh at and then impulse buy… maybe that’s a little bit blunt, and I’m sorry if that offends any lovers of funny (or wet)(or both) cat books, but this is my thinking on the subject.  So these books are bound for Clunes Booktown where I will once again be having a stall (I will write more about this in the next few weeks), where people can pick up these books, giggle (from past experience, this is what happens) and then hopefully be tempted to hand over some money… although that didn’t seem to happen last time… mmmmm.

* Highly recommend They call me naughty Lola.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What would Chuck Norris do?

The Secret Power Within: Zen solutions to real problems by Chuck Norris.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I like to tackle the real issues, whether they revolve around stuff on cats, chronic transplant dysfunction or Barbie’s love life, Huc & Gabet will look at it.  Today I want to look at the big question and how to get the answer. 

“What would Chuck Norris do?”

Many people… probably too many people… have asked this question.  Well, in this “dynamic account, Chuck Norris explains how the ancient system of Zen – the core philosophy behind the martial arts – can help each of us achieve spiritual tranquility and real self confidence…” “The rest of his busy life includes acting in his popular television series, Walker, Texas Ranger*, as well as producing, filming and lecturing, and Norris explains how the secret power within has been the basis of his remarkable success.” 

So I guess one answer to the eternal question (see above) is that Chuck would explain stuff about Zen Buddhism, act (?) and do other stuff revolving around film.  So if you ever want the answer to the big question (see above), this book can possibly help you. 

Now, some of you out there are probably wondering why I’ve bothered to:
a/ pick up this book
b/ try to sell this book
c/ write about it here
The answer of course is in the question (see above).  OK, maybe the answer in this instance, isn’t in the question.  These following snippets from the publishers blurb possibly answer these smaller questions:
- “Winning by Losing: If you have nothing to prove, you have no need to fight.”
 So what do I have to prove… well I guess I have to prove that I can sell this book (…hasn’t sold as of yet… so I guess I’m winning???).
- “Complete the Wheel: How to balance your life to achieve success.”
Will balancing my life help me achieve success (ie. Sell the book)?... probably not.
- “Your Master, Your Art: To maintain self-respect you must respect the work you do, and do it as well as possible.”
Self respect in regards to selling a Chuck Norris book!!!  I’ll let you the reader figure that one out.

*Re Walker: This book was published in 1996.