BEAR ALLEY BOOKS

BEAR ALLEY BOOKS
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Friday, April 23, 2021

Comic Cuts — 23 April 2021


Finally, I managed to get an appointment to see an optician this week, so headed into Colchester on Tuesday for the first trip into town since last November. With the lockdown easing and plenty of shops open, it was a lot busier than I've seen it for over a year. There has been some attempt to keep people separated by drawing a line down the middle of the wider pathways and asking people to keep to the left. From my experience on Tuesday, a lot of people don't know their left from their right, or can't read, or don't care.

The trip started badly as I arrived at the bus stop only for the bus to roar past me just as I was turning to face it. After that, things went rather more to plan. I got to my appointment on time, I had the eye test, picked out some new frames and paid the extortionate amount demanded because my eyesight is terrible and they have me over a barrel. Prices have shot up from around £150 for the glasses I'm wearing to £250 for the new pair which have identical frames. Identical. To justify the increase they're doing a two-for-one offer, so I'm getting a second pair free, because, you know, people often like to wear two pairs of identical glasses, rather than pay half the amount just to own one pair.

I forked out an extra £30 to have the second pair tinted, so I can have prescription sunglasses.


My eyesight is not great. I've worn glasses my whole life and things have been getting worse over the past twenty years. I need a significantly stronger prescription every two years, but I'm starting to struggle six months before that. Once the little clock on my computer screen becomes unreadable, I know its time for new glasses. Probably six months after I should be getting them, but I'm often waiting for a cheque to come in because, as you've seen, it's not a small chunk of change to buy glasses any more.

I wouldn't feel so aggrieved if they didn't charge for new frames every time. I've just paid for identical new frames at a cost of £90 — but now I'll have three pairs with identical frames, so next time I'll ask if I can reuse the frames and let them have the older glasses (the ones I'm wearing now) or sacrifice the sunglasses if I have to. I'm sure they'll come up with some reason I can't, but it must be worth a try.

I'm hoping to pay for the new glasses with some sales on eBay. Take a look via the link to the left, as I have quite a few books up, mostly hardbacks as I need to clear some space. There's a lot of biographies at the moment, with a few more to follow, some tied into my interest in science fiction, many — the Lord Northcliffe bios — relating to the early history of comics and story papers, plus books by Cecil King and Hugh Cudlipp, chairmen of I.P.C. / Fleetway Publications. This is your chance to find out where I get my information from!

I'm hopefully going to post some more books on eBay this weekend, but while I managed to sort out a couple of shelves earlier this week, I'm tied up a little with some paying work — a French language edition of one of the books that appears under the Bear Alley imprint.

In the meantime, perhaps someone can explain why I have four copies of Richard Hoggart's The Uses of Literacy on my shelves.

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