This young man came into our shop this morning and asked about a book about Australian musicians and drugs.
I told him "I'm sorry, we're not that sort of bookshop, sir. Can I interest you in this book on ancient Rome?"
But he was insistent. "It's called Talking Smack and I'm the author."
On hearing this, one of our young booksellers strained to lift her jewellery-punctured face away from her smartphone and said yes indeed, we did have a book by that title and it came in this morning. The book was brought to the table. The man, who then introduced himself as Andrew McMillen, said he was a journalist and his book contained in-depth interviews with Australian musicians who were very frank and forthcoming about their use of narcotic substances.
At this, my cheeks reddened as I voiced my objection. "Are you suggesting, good sir, that our fine Australian musicians make their music in a state other than one of complete sobriety?"
He looked at me with some misgiving, before venturing "Well yes. I've spoke with many of them. It's all in the book. See here? Paul Kelly, Tina Arena, Gotye, Phil Jamieson…"
"Phil Jamieson!" I spluttered "From the Christian rock band Grinspoon?!"
"Well, they weren't exac-"
"I can imagine a ne'er-do-well such as that young Farnham boy going wayward, but surely not Phil Jamieson?"
But Mr McMillen assured me this was so and then he whipped out a pen and signed all the copies of the book we had in-store. He then shook my hand with the confident zeal of one bearing 'the Truth' and strode out the door for parts of the city unknown. Well, I think he was going to another bookstore.
Dazed, I stood pondering this revelation. Grinspoon. An odd word, certainly. Powderfinger. I wonder. Midnight Oil. Two words, not conjoined - but still, something… subversive. Savage Garden. Oh my! It must be true! With that I sat heavily, pulling a handkerchief from my cardigan to mop my brow. A cup of tea. Yes, that would do nicely.
Buy these books at Abbey's (131 York Street Sydney) ~ An Aladdin's cave for readers