I found my eyes pricking today when I passed the Pan Bookshop in Fulham Road, and saw that they are to close down on 19th January.
In the days when there was scarcely any Sunday opening, or when most shops shut at 5.30 or 6.00, this bookshop was one of the few places where you could buy anything at night. It has all kinds of happy memories for me, of late night impulse buying after a winy dinner, of romantic ambles through Chelsea at an age and a time when it seemed magical and wonderful. I remember the almost erotic thrill of buying a book at nearly 10 o’clock at night. If pubs sold novels as well as booze, even in your most drunken state you probably would think twice before shelling out on a hardback, but the Pan bookshop invited you to be so decadent.
I had to go and have a wander round, just for old times sake. Judging by the atmosphere in the shop, and the conversations I overheard, I think my feelings are shared by many others. It’s been there so long, so much part of my private geography of London that to see it go leaves me feeling strangely bereft.