There can’t be much going on in the world when a book shop in Hawes, a small Yorkshire town, hits the national news. A secondhand bookshop owner who has received more than twenty complaints about his rudeness has admitted he was wrong to call a customer a “pain in the arse”. Apparently visitors to the shop got upset when he started charging 50 pence entry fee to browse (refunded if you bought a book). The book shop owner was interviewed on BBC breakfast news before the camera switched to John Blackie, local councillor, who had branded him “the bookseller from hell”.
When I lived in the Yorkshire Dales, Hawes was our nearest town and my mother used to visit the weekly market to buy cheap clothes (before she married her rich farmer). Nowadays it is described as a delightful and picturesque market town but as a young teenager it always struck me as a rather drab and dismal place. All that grey stone and dreary old shops. Occasionally I would go to dances in the town hall. Local bands Orange Glass and Mother’s Lament would painfully play their limited repertoire of songs; they compensated for their lack of talent by turning the speakers to the highest possible volume. It’s no wonder I’m deaf now. My friends and I would march out to the centre of the room wearing our hotpants and tank tops, fling our handbags onto the floor, and then dance our little hearts out. Eventually the boys would stagger in from the local pubs, drunk enough now to approach the girls and ask that delightful question, “Now then lass, tha’ want t’dance?”