Friday, 25 September 2009

remembering ian norrie


I lost my diary last week and have just realised to my horror that I missed the funeral yesterday of my first and bossiest boss, Ian Norrie. I loved working in his bookshop when I was a teenager and it gave me great pleasure to find, when I took on the job of Director of Booktrust, that Ian had written the history of the organisation in a book called SIXTY PRECARIOUS YEARS, describing a typical day of its then Director, Martyn Goff.

The High Hill in Hampstead was an amazing bookshop and Ian was an amazing man to work for. He loved arguing with his customers, an intimidatingly literary clientele, gleefully refusing to take cheques without credit cards from even the most eminent of authors. A few years he held a reunion of past employees and the turn out was impressive.

I still don't quite understand how he generated such loyalty and warmth, despite being such an impossible character, but he did. I will really miss him - and am so sorry I didn't get to his funeral which I trust involved lots of good anecdotes and gossip and tears and maybe some wine after.

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