Before we moved we asked our customers to send their favourite Shearer's memory to us, to be judged by local author Emily Maguire.
We had lots of great entries! All of them put a smile on our face. Thank you to everybody who took the time to enter and share their Shearer's memories with us.
But we're delighted to announce the winner, chosen by Emily. Congratulations to Peter Farmer, who will be receiving a $100 Shearer's voucher.
His wonderful entry is below.
On rare occasions if we’re lucky enough, we discover a special place of warmth and comfort beyond the walls of our own home. The first few visits may prove uneventful but like a spell its magic slowly takes hold to draw us back. The closest expression I can think of is genius loci, the spirit of the place. It’s often found in the imaginative world of novels but in real life for me it was at Shearer’s Bookshop, Norton Street Leichhardt.
With its concrete ceiling, exposed pipes and limited vista over Norton Street Shearers was hardly beautiful yet there I was week after week, year after year and I confess that even after overseas trips my first port of call was always, you guessed it, Shearers.
Now try dissecting how genius loci or ‘atmosphere’ actually works and you wind up with a glorified shopping list. However this is my challenge so here goes. Firstly it’s all about books. Admittedly a limited range due to the confined space (which I loved!) but what a selection and one of my guilty pleasures was eavesdropping on Barbara rattling through exotic new orders with a sales rep. The book I was after was always there, somewhere.
Another highlight was the guest speakers and although I only heard a handful of authors over the years – recent highlights being Anna Funder and Antonio Carluccio – it was really comforting feeling the inner west was creating its own cultural identity. Thank you Shearer’s!
Of course the cinema helped. Bangs, crashing waves and violins seeping through the walls enhanced that faraway feel as books drew me into their world. The Shearers PA system was more risky. Pastoral music would be displaced on another day by singers sharing what sounded like significant drug issues.
But I can hardly complain. The Shearer’s staff knew me well by sight if not by name as I sat in the cafe deciding, often unsuccessfully, on which book to buy. Forgive me guys! I know I’ve had enough time to read almost every book in your store and I’ve have purchased only a modest amount in return but you’ve given me an extraordinary amount of pleasure as a sanctuary from the summer or icy winter blasts or random cares. You’ve been my home away from home so come back soon. There’ll be tumbleweeds rolling down Norton Street until you do.