Monday, June 15, 2009

I SWEAR this book followed me home.

About a year or so ago Mrs. Hughes and I went to a new antique shop in Nolensville, Tennessee. It's in an old cinder block church building on a hill. I think it's called Hill Top Antiques. While rummaging through the rooms I came across this Pro-Prohibition tome from the turn of the century.

"The Curse of Drink, or, STORIES OF HELL'S COMMERCE."

The book cover and title alone where enough to make me want it. But when I flipped through the pages I saw this AWESOME illustration that I thought would make a great poster. At least I thought I saw it. I flipped to where the prices usually are on books in antique stores, on the top
right of the first blank page in pencil, and was wowed to find a price of $2.00 SOLD.

I went to check out and when the clerk saw the price he became sure that the book dealer who's booth I pulled it from didn't intend to sell it for $2.00 but that was probably what HE paid for it. So I asked him to call the guy to get the price, nicely, he was out of town. So, I left my name and number and asked him to call me with the price, which he did about a week later. $15.00 which was fine with me. For some reason however I never got back to get it. When we finally went back through the shops in Nolensville about six months later I searched for it but couldn't find it, and assumed it had been sold.

SO yesterday Mrs. Hughes and I are back in Nolensville and we go to Hill Top. Two minutes in the door and the book turns up sitting right in front of me. Without looking through it again I've got it in my hand headed for the checkout. Again it wasn't marked, but I was in luck as the dealer on duty for the day was the book dealer. He remembered giving me a $15 price on it from a year ago. I asked him if it had been in the shop the whole time and he said he had actually taken it back and forth from home a few times looking at it and had only recently brought it back.

Now it was just as easy as paying for the thing. Then of course Mrs. Hughes and I remembered that the place only takes cash, and we didn't have a dollar between us. I asked the dealer to hold the book and that we would be right back. We made a quick run up the street to an ATM not associated with our bank where we were promptly charged a $3 convenience fee to take out $20.00, DO WHAT? Did it anyway. I ran back in the shop and paid, got the thing home and was looking through it last night and there is NO TRACE of the illustration that I wanted to blow up as a poster. DAMN.

In my head there is an image of the illustration. It's done in pen and ink and it depicts a snaking line of men raising beer mugs and shot glasses going from saloon to saloon in perspective. So in the back the line is small and far away, and then towards the front they are larger, oh, and, they are falling into a big pit in the ground with a sign next to it that says HELL.

Apparently I spent a year in my head collaging five different illustrations, plus the cover, together to form this perfect image of an awesome poster that would look fantastic over someone's home bar. That's what being creative will get you.

So was it all in vain? I'm going to say no. Now that I've flipped through this thing 20 times, I even checked the page numbers to make sure the mythical illustration wasn't ripped out, I've decided that I am just going to start scanning in all of the different parts and then I'm going to collage them together in Photoshop and just see what I get. It may turn into total crap but at least I will finally get to see it on paper the way it all combined in my head.

I will post a blog about the finished product, unless it doesn't go well, in which case you will
never hear about it again.

1 comment:

  1. wow, what an interesting post. What year is this book from?


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