On Hollywood Road

Pictures in Books

Posted in Uncategorized by Alex Daye on March 4, 2011

Ellis and I, like most modern people, spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer. I love Facebook and he loves YouTube and we both can spend days lost in the New York Times. We’ve got desktops at work, but at home we’ve always been laid out on the bed with a laptop and a cigarette guys- the theory being that what made reading On the Runway or Datalounge at home different from reading them at work was the laying down with a cigarette bit. So it put a bit of a crimp in our style, to say the least, when Ellis’s computer died a few months back. It was old, by Apple’s lame standards (4 years), so it wasn’t entirely unexpected, and being frugal, as our era seems to demand, we decided to make due with one. Then, when my perfectly good, barely-one-month-out-of-warranty Macbook Pro went to sleep one night and then never woke up, we were both so incensed, having been told that the cost of repair was just a wee bit less than buying a new one, we decided to make due with none. And while it can sometimes be frustrating living without a home computer- for instance last night I had to run down to the shop at 10 o’clock to Skype a really old friend- for the most part it’s been a pleasure of the highest order, as we’ve been forced to start reading again: actual newspapers in the morning and then books at night. I can’t tell you what a revelation that’s been. We have always both been bookish types; one of the biggest complaints we have about life in Hong Kong is the absolute suckiness of the bookshops here. Whenever we are in a city with a decent English language bookshop (hello Singapore!) we need to set aside half a day, several thousands of dollars and a big suitcase. We are literally beside ourselves that Eslite, the giant Taiwanese book chain, is opening in the Central Market Building but of course convinced that it never will happen. But now that we are off the grid at home (except for our dumb Blackberries, which are getting old really fast), we can now easily spend hours at Dymocks, a painfully sad excuse for a bookshop chain that tells you all you need to know about the state of the English language in this supposedly bilingual city. Besides making us feel very intelligent and civilized, spending some time in a good book has been very inspiring for us on a work level too, especially as we have been reading so much biography and memoir, getting really into the lives of some very inspiring characters. And while I do see the irony of presenting this ode to books about lost dandies on a blog of all things, I hope it’s a nice reminder for image hunters that a lot of the really brilliant ones still aren’t on tumblr yet.



4 Responses

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  1. Marina said, on March 4, 2011 at 7:27 am

    A lovely piece! This is a classic line: “the theory being that what made reading On the Runway or Datalounge at home different from reading them at work was the laying down with a cigarette bit”. Yes, I share your frustration with HK bookshops. I once went into one in Central shortly after the Booker prize nominees had been announced. They had no display of the nominees’ books — an obvious marketing move that most bookshops would leap into action for — and neither had the assistant heard of any of the books/authors. My local bookshop here in Delhi called, appropriately, The Bookshop, is a small space absolutely packed with delights from classic to cutting-edge … bestsellers, philosophy, graphic novels, travel guides, recipes, kids stories, coffee table books on photography and textiles, etc, etc. Come on over … you’ll both love the books and the prices! On my recent trip to HK I strayed into Kelly and Walsh in Pacific Place and once again saw their vast array of novels with raised gold and silver writing on the covers. At last I managed to find a one of the more obscure Kingsley Amis novels to buy.

    • jadaye said, on March 4, 2011 at 10:09 am

      Thanks Marina! You make me blush… And yes we will come to Delhi very soon for book buying- as if we needed another reason for a long overdue visit. See you there!

  2. David said, on April 16, 2011 at 2:30 am

    And what exactly is the group shot under Frank O’Hara, my dear? Love, love, love.

    • jadaye said, on April 16, 2011 at 6:27 am

      They are all the abstract impressionist of New York in the 50’s who hung out/lived on Long Island. Including Fank O’Hara in front row. Cool group no? If you don’t count the alcoholism and car crashes ! Thanks for stopping by !

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