Saturday 24 June 2023

'Red Books' by Kathryn Aldridge-Morris

In the nineties we get our first jobs, recession jobs, jobs in cafes, as drivers and carers, jobs in bookshops selling Marxist books and books by communist authors and writers who’ve driven from communist states in lime green Ladas, their samizdat books boxed and hidden in car boots alongside Soviet allegories and dissident memoirs of graduates driving taxis; and after shelving the books and selling some of the books, after the thing we call work at the time, we drink; we drink two for the price of one, four for the price of two and when happy hour is happy night eight for the price of four; we drink work nights and we work hungover; we get to work late and often we jump off the Tube one stop early to stoop in redbrick alleys and clear the slate for the evening to come— early nineties alleys not yet home to the homeless, but graduates retching before we clock on; and we work the cash tills and pack books and take painkillers with our late morning coffee, and think about hairs of dogs and stare out at the dogs tethered to bike racks as their owners browse our books; and we don’t cycle much in the nineties so the bike racks are empty apart from the dogs and the bikes of the students from the university nearby; students who buy books in their breaks and smoke in the shop, talk in the shop, and dream in the shop, dream of what they’ll be in the world once they’ve read all the books on the shelves we now stack, having read all the books on the shelves in the eighties.


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