Friday, September 30, 2005

Barbarians at the gate



The boy calls from New York yesterday. He's in Manhattan as the Spanish consulate is holding him hostage refusing to give him his visa for his upcoming Barcelona junket. Yes, I am insanely jealous about Barcelona and No, I do not want to talk about it. Anyway, so he calls yesterevening.

"Hey, where is BM? I can't seem to get through to her"

"How do I know? She must be at work"

"I've been trying to call her for some time now. There's something urgent I have to tell her"

"She did mention something about having no minutes on her phone. Call her later. Whats up anyway?"

Laughter.

"So they are in Britain and they hear music. And he says it sounds like Cacophonix. And then they have pictures of the Beatles singing. This is so funny. I can't believe I forgot this one"

"What are you talking about?"

"And then the British apparently take a break at five every evening to have hot water with a dash of milk. Oh man, I can't stop laughing"

"You can't be seeing what you are seeing"

"But I am. And then they are in Belgium. You have the Thom(p)son characters there who say Gelgium. This is hilarious"

"But you are in New York. And New York is in America"

"I know. Thats why I am trying to call BM. Oh, these Romans, I say!"

More laughter.

"Which store are you in?"

"I am in Barnes & Noble. Can you believe that? I have looked for these guys in every comic book store in the country, and Powells and Strand and every used bookstore to see who would find them first and where do I finally find them? In Barnes & Noble. And guess what? Its the same collectors edition that we saw in Munich - the one BM picked up and took it to the counter before she realised that it was in German. And then she was going to learn German to buy them anyway. I can't wait to tell her about this"

"Hmm..Do you think they will have at the B&N here?"

"I think so. Go look."

Finally, there's some hope for this country. Generations of Americans have had a deprived childhood - a childhood which did not include the Famous Five, Tintin or Asterix. Now, for the first time, American children can experience civilization. The barbarians have arrived.

9 comments:

The Black Mamba said...

ha ha. And to think, I was almost going to start working at this used bookstore, just because they display their tiny collection of Asterix, right in the front, with no shame ;) I guess I don't have to worry about that any more :)

Falstaff said...

Hmmm...I think you should hold off on the celebration a bit till you're sure it's a country wide effort. This may be one indomitable little Barnes and Nobel whose manager is afraid of nothing (except the sky falling on his head).

Good that they have the original editions, btw - I remember picking up an English translation in Zurich once and discovering to my horror that they'd changed the names!!

Sunil said...

I still feel extremely sorry for my collegues, who haven't even heard of Asterix....

.......and i'm now ready to rejoice. I'm one short (Legionaire) of the complete Asterix collection....

Almost there...

meditativerose said...

Nice ... now all they need to do to be really civilized is discover Wodehouse. There was this horrifying piece on NPR yesterday, where they referred to Jeeves as an animated cartoon character from the popular search engine 'Ask Jeeves'. I almost broke down ...

Tanuj said...

thanks, veena. i must go visit the nearest barnes and noble store.

falstaff, did you mean the French original editions?

Veena said...

Everyone,

Rush to your nearest B&N store this weekend to see if they have Asterix. As Falstaff says, it could be just this one guy.

MR: we will prob end up at the same B&N - the one on State and North, I think :)

gawker said...

I was gonna buy the set when I go to India in december. Wonder what will be cheaper.

Sujatha said...

Veena, following an attack of nostalgia I headed for the nearest Borders one day a few years ago and I found Asterix and Tintin there, sat down for a couple of hours and went home happy. My son loves them and he went bonkers at a Tintin store we found in Belgium a couple of months ago. But haven't seen any Enid Blyton in the US (though lots of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, of course).

Gawker, Tintin sets (3 stories in 1 volume) are available in India for Rs. 650. Each Asterix book costs Rs. 370 here. I've forgotten the prices in the US, but they must be cheaper here in India.

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