On our way to John Lewis, we stopped off at what I know as the Friar Street Bookshop (although the sign now just says Blackwells) which for many years has been a Mecca for any sci-fi fans in Reading. When we arrived it was great to see that they had returned the store layout to having the sci-fi downstairs – it all having been moved upstairs when Blackwells, I guess hit hard by the two Waterstones that had opened in better positions, closed their other Reading branch and moved the whole operation to Friar Street.
Anyway, I often pop in there to browse when I am in town, and this time, thanks to the generosity of my colleagues at SSE I had some tokens to spend!(Plus I thought it would be good to put the tokens towards something fun, rather than computer books…) The shop is arranged very much by programme and film, so all the Doctor Who merchandise including books, CD’s, videos, DVD’s, magazines and even the radio controlled Dalek is together. Since I was in the market for books this time, I headed towards the book section to browse through, however next to me were the selection of classic series DVD’s with a young boy and his mother browsing through.
It was pretty obvious from the conversation that the boy had been turned into a big Doctor Who fan thanks to the success of the new series, and was now working his way through the classic series. However, I got the feeling that she hadn’t been the most avid viewer of the show, and was now starting to flounder when faced with her son wanting advice on which was the best DVD to get. So, as I was there browsing through the books, I offered her a bit of help when they were looking at â€œLost In Timeâ€? – the recent collection of ‘orphan’ episodes, where the BBC had got rid of the rest of the stories – which I suggested her son probably would find frustrating as the stories weren’t complete. I steered her more towards the more recent stories, mainly because the pacing of the older episodes is definitely on the slow side for a modern audience, so in the end they went away with â€œThe Green Deathâ€? as that was one she remembered as a child, and â€œResurrection Of The Daleksâ€? and â€œRevelation of the Daleksâ€? as the boy liked the Daleks, and Davros stories. Sadly they didn’t go for â€œRemembrance Of The Daleksâ€? which I reckon is a generally better and more enjoyable story than the other two, as Davros doesn’t appear until the very end.
Anyway, when they’d gone, the mother having thanked me for my help, Beth said to me: â€œFinally, a use for your encyclopaedic knowledge of Doctor Whoâ€?!
Incidentally, for those of you wondering what I spent the tokens on, I bought a bit of nostalgia, in the form of two sets of collected Doctor Who comic strips taken from the pages of Doctor Who Magazine back in the eighties – â€œDoctor Who: The Iron Legion: v. 1â€? and â€œDr. Who: The Tides of Timeâ€? – and also a big glossy book covering the whole history of the series, right up to the present called â€œâ€?Doctor Whoâ€œ: The Legend Continuesâ€?.