Barry and the Three Day Read.


Barry is tough and masterful and enthusiastic. And he loves books. He visited the shop with an urgent list.

He remembers reading Storm Boy in three days and he told me how he loved that fucking pelican so much that when he read that book to his own kids he cried for the second time. He said that he always read to his kids and now they read to their kids and so he feels he has not done so badly in the long run. But Christ, that pelican nearly killed him. He though that I could probably knock that book off in three days if I wanted to read it.

He has also read the Icefire books to his kids and also Terry Pratchett – he thought that the Tiffany Aching books were the best in the business.

He came in today for a copy of Where the Wild Things Are, he wanted one for his grandson because every damn kid should read that book. He used to have a copy but his partner gave it away when she was on drugs.

Sadly, I did not have a copy of that. But I did have a copy of Storm Boy.

Barry was delighted; he said he’d definitely take that then, even though the pelican really messed him up. He also needed something else because he was visiting family and needed something to drown out his brother’s arsehole of a voice. He paid for the books and as he did, the shop door closed with a sudden bang all by itself and he said that I had a poltergeist in the shop, another damn thing to put up with.

Then off he went, back to his family with a copy of Storm Boy, as he closed the door on me and the poltergeist he said: mate, that fucking pelican…

Photography by Dean Nham