Saturday, January 31, 2015

The lost bookshop

When I passed this bookshop on the Korte Jansstraat 2 in Utrecht I sensed immediately that something was wrong. No sane owner would let his books go damp. Inside I could see the books covers curling in the morning cold. More signals of decay: fallen postcards, toppled books, brown covers, dust everywhere. This was a dead bookshop, a zombie bookshop.
The bookstore has been here at least since 1961. It was first called "Boekhandel Meyer", then " H.W. Meyer jr." and then "Oude Boekhandel". In 2009 the store still could be seen on Google Streetview. And there are pictures on the Internet dating to 2012.
I asked a waiter from the neighboring coffeehouse if the shop was ever open. "No" he said "the owner has died and his daughter has inherited the bookshop. She hasn't done anything with it."
Scientists adventurers / The raging race
The cat with the blue eye / Man and dog
Latin America / Problems / The microscope
Greenery and flowers in The Hague / And her husband
In 2015 it is still there, gathering dust, silence ad emptiness. There is minor movement, change and erosion. Something must be growing there, some textual monstrosity. A gnostic theology built on discarded books from the 70's. Veneration of oil crises, the beginnings of ecologic thinking, combined with the sexual revolution and the breakdown of protestant values. Some hard-smoking "provo" rabbi writes a mystical manuscript with a Bic-ballpoint pen. A strange Golem will be unleashed on the Netherlands. The return of the re-forgotten.

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