Clive is a ‘bookman’ of the old school with many years experience in the rough and tumble of the second hand book trade in England and one of its increasingly scarce survivors in an industry battered by charity shops.
Charming, erudite and laid back, he runs a tiny bookshop packed to the rafters with traditional second hand books. Not much antiquarian, no remainders… just hundreds and hundreds of used books brought to him by ‘runners’ in the trade and the results of weekend visits to boot sales.
About 15 years ago (maybe longer), I was having a drink in ‘The Mermaid’ in nearby Rye and met a somewhat inebriated minor branch of the local gentry. He offered to show me around the local bookshops the next morning.
The next morning his penchant for single malt the night before prevented him from showing up for our appointment, so I set off on my own.
I found ‘The Bookjungle’ in North Street, St. Leonard’s (since demised, if that is a word) and some three years later – in the slow process of developing a network in the book industry – I was introduced to ‘Bookman’s Halt’.
Since then, Clive has gradually introduced me to booksellers in south east england ranging west to Brighton and north to Tunbridge Wells.
It is now an important part of our sourcing of books, but perhaps not quite as important as an excuse for some excellent pub lunches…