Category Archives: bookshop

National Libraries Day

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The Alibi Library enjoyed celebrating National Libraries day with everyone this weekend!!  We all have hangovers and alibis after our own bookathon involving the Sherlock Holmes series in which one was expected to drink a snifter every time a body part was mentioned. Unfortunately the word “hand” proved rather more frequent than we´d imagined:

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Other Library Day events were better organised and well supported. Find out about more events and follow up here and here:

National Libraries Day

The Library Campaign

Next up Valentine´s Day for a romantic rendezvous in a Library near you!

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Not for the faint- hearted…

Perhaps the most distressing of all “alibis” can be found in Martin Amis´Time´s Arrow. descargaA Nazi Holocaust doctor now on his deathbed revisits his life in flashback.  In a sickening and disorienting twist these flashbacks come in reverse chronology and so we see the camp doctor healing and saving his patients instead of tortuously experimenting on their dying bodies.  And so the despicable doctor makes good, ironically fulfilling our ideal of a medic, one who cures, and the patients walk free.  A disturbing enough plot device but coupled with the precision with which Amis can describe the events it makes for the most harrowing of reads:

“Uncle Pepi´” has surpassed himself with the new laboratory: the marble table, the nickel taps, the blood stained porcelain sinks… In this new lab of his he can knock together a human being out of the unlikeliest odds and ends.

On his table he had a box full of eyes.  It was not uncommon to see him slipping out of darkroom carrying a head partly wrapped in old newspaper…. The next thing you knew there´d be, oh, I don´t know, a fifteen-year-old Pole sliding off the table and rubbing his eyes and sauntering back to work, accompanied by an orderly and his understanding smile…

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As to the so-called experimental operations of “Uncle Pepi´”: he had a success rate that approached – and quite possibly attained  – 100 per cent. A shockingly inflamed eyeball at once rectified by a single injection.  Innumerable ovaries and testes seamlessly grafted into place.  Women went out of that lab looking 20 years younger…

“Uncle Pepi´” never left any scars… ”

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How Bunbury became

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One of Aleister Crowley´s less curious friends came by that day. If I am not mistaken it was a young Louis Umfreville Wilkinson, but maybe he came after Reading Gaol.  Memory is such a sly thing and too often it plays tricks on the old.

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Well this young gentleman approached us for help. A dismal Saturday morning it was too. His umbrella safely stowed, he enquired after a lesser strain of Alibi often called Habili due to its  popularity in Middle Eastern lands. It was to be for a certain famed individual.

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We were not unduly taken aback, it was quite normal for a friend to act as a representative or intermediary and making such an approach on behalf of a public figure. And Oscar was already enormously well known.

 

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It seemed that Mr Wilde was possessed of the need to make a trip to Sunbury to meet a scholar from Banbury, to whose poetry he had grown quite affectionate.  The meeting with the scholar, it transpired, was to be kept, be any means necessary, from the public eye.

The reason for the secrecy was not revealed.

I can´t imagine…

 

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Nothing could have been easier.  It took no time to invent an effective Habili tailor made to Oscar´s circumstances.

 

 

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We gave him details of a very elderly, very frail relative.  To this sketch, a few minutiae were added whose particulars could be checked out to the satisfaction of any keen journalist, private investigator or any such prying eyes.  And we gave this infirm relative the name Bunbury.

 

 

Bunbury was born!

 

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And so the young gentleman left satisfied that all could handled in a tidy fashion, but such was his haste that he forgot his umbrella. A sad state of affairs given the climate of this city.

 

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Oscar took the whole thing very seriously,  using the alibi on numerous occasions and even once spoiling us with an impromtu visit in persona.

 

 

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It was such meticulousness on Oscar´s part that led us to give the whole affair the codename Earnest, .  Although the alibi was subsequently used by a notable series of Uranists, it should be appreciated that Codename Earnest was infact employed by individuals of all tastes including, notoriously, a leading politician of the day.

 

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Unfortunately,  this alibi -echo gave rise to Oscar´s long standing dispute with ourselves and his subsequent reticence in consulting our archives during his appallingly misconceived libel case and mishandled trial.

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A reluctance which without doubt led to his encarcelation. Criminal!

 

 

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Still got the umbrella somewhere hereabouts.

Last Minute Christmas Shopping

from:

The Matilda Project

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. The Alibi Library has always been particularly fond of this blog whose mission statement reads:

I’ll scour the world and London, my adopted hometown and the greatest city in the galaxy, by the way (yeah that’s right, take that Martian metropolises) for the little independent bookshops that smell of paper and sell you not just a book, but a little piece of human history.   Every week, no matter where in the world my crazy nomadic lifestyle takes me, I’ll share a new indie bookshop.

Every week one is able to find a scrupulously detailed review of a trusty book seller accompanied by artistically pleasing photography of their premises. Furthermore, to enhance your book shopping experience, a handy map is provided, indicating the location of all the fabulous bookshops reviewed. Indeed the Alibi Library has some ambition to become the first fictional library or book shop reviewed therein.

This week the site beseeches its followers verily:

So friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears and let me beseech you to do me a favour.  If you have a couple of Christmas gifts left to buy, please please consider buying books for your loved ones; they’re the present that never goes out of style!  And please, if you would, make the effort to do it in a bricks and mortar bookshop.  If it’s a nice and friendly local independent one, well then all the better.

And the Alibi Library would like to second this plea.

A reputable and satisfied client!

Dear Archibald Lib and Ignatius Rary,

Thank you for taking the time to find me an appropriate alibi in recent weeks*. I sincerely appreciate the time you spent reviewing my predicament with me and recommending strategies for reaching a satisfactory outcome.  Your advice was of great assistance and gave me a new perspective on available opportunities.

I especially appreciate your offer to connect myself with others working in your network. I plan on following up the contacts you furnished me with right away. I also hope to use the networking resources you recommended to avoid future complications.

Any additional suggestions you may have would be welcome.  I’ll update you as to my progress.

Again, thank you so much for your help. I greatly appreciate the assistance you have provided me.

I am very much in your debt.

Yours,
Rt Honorable    XXXXXX   XXXXX   MP

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland*

* The date and the name of the correspondent have been withheld for reasons of privacy, but should be noted that they do not refer to the present incumbent of this post or indeed to any recent events.

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Henry:  Forget about an alibi.  What you need is a whole new freaking alias.

Thomas:  What do you mean, a new alias?

Henry:  Don´t worry.  I wasn´t trying to be serious or anything.

Archibald:  He means like a new name, a new presence and a new personality.

Ignatius:  We do those too you know.

Kim:  No.  No.  that´s not it.  What he needs is more an absence than a presence.

From  Lie is Worth Living  the sequel to The Alibi Library

alibi

The word alibi, which in Latin means ‘elsewhere’, has been used since the 18th century to mean ‘an assertion by a person that he or she was elsewhere’. In the 20th century a new sense arose (originally in the US) with the meaning ‘an excuse’. This use is a fairly common and natural extension of the core meaning, but is still regarded as incorrect by some traditionalists.

noun (plural alibis)

  • a claim or piece of evidence that one was elsewhere when an act, typically a criminal one, is alleged to have taken place:she has an alibi for the whole of yesterday evening
  • informal an excuse or pretext:a catch-all alibi for failure and inadequacy

verb (alibis, alibiing, alibied)

[with object]informal

  • provide an alibi for:her friend agreed to alibi her
    the plea of having been at the time of the commission of an act elsewhere than at the place of commission; also : the fact or state of having been elsewhere at the time

Origin:

late 17th century (as an adverb in the sense ‘elsewhere’): from Latin, ‘elsewhere’. The noun use dates from the late 18th century

from the Oxford and Merriam Webster online dictionaries.

I’ve been trying to fit in for years.   Yes.  Yes.  We’ve all been in the wrong place at the wrong time.  For some it’s that deliciously blurred moment somewhere after midnight and before work or school the next day.  On the other hand, some of us seem to spend most of our days there.  And others appear to have been simply born there.  Of course we can dissimulate.  We can pretend we suddenly fit in though it’s as awkward as a suit with no arms and ten pockets when there’s a bill to be paid.  But now I seem to conflating being in the wrong place with a sort of being-out-of-place faux pas.  And even then, when we’re busy pretending that we’re not as out of place as a mathematical equation scrawled on a urinal wall, that’s when we need the alibi most.  To fit in.  Who am I.  Where have I come from.  As if I was ever going to tell you any of that stuff.  Yes. Yes.  I’ll come up with something to be sure,

better than the truth, or at least more believable.