Previous month:
October 2006
Next month:
December 2006

Hi Thanks for contacting Napster

I've just added The Beirut CD Gulag Orkestar to my music playlist down on the left-hand side. It's an absolutely stunning piece of music. The most exciting thing I've heard in years and every time I play it in the shop at least one person wants the details.

The first time I heard it I was stuck in the shop(there's a novelty). I was too impatient to wait and so I downloaded it legally using my Napster account. Thing was; the last 3 tracks didn't take, and so I contacted Napster.

This is their reply...


Thanks for contacting Napster Support.

Please follow the steps below if your Portable Device is giving you any errors when transferring tracks. These steps will go through and upgrade the components that handle transferring tracks.

--- Patching Windows Media Player ---

1. Open up a web browser and cut and paste the following into your browsers address bar:
2. Download and run the file linked there
3. Visit
4. Search for 9344 in the search field at the top of the page. Click on the first link that comes up and it will bring you to a page that has the patch.
5. Scroll down the page that comes up and download the patch and install it. Follow through the instructions to finish out.
6. Next, point your browser at
7. Click on DT0808---->Click Run---->then follow through prompts to reset your DRM and individualize your Windows Media Player.
8. Restart Your Computer.
9. Open Napster and give transferring tracks a go, it should work this time. If not please continue the steps below.

If they do not transfer please send us an e-mail with the following information:
1. The type of player (Model, Capacity, Firmware).
2. Your operating system and version of Windows Media Player.
A. Right click on My Computer and press Properties. This will tell you your version of Windows.
B. In WMP, go into the Help Menu then press About. You will find your version of WMP here.
3. Any associated error messages and when it errors out during transfer if there is a pattern. (50%, 99%, 100%, etc)

When responding on this issue, please reply with email history or copy the entire body of this email and paste it into your reply, to insure that all information is retained.  Not providing the email history could delay our response time.

Thanks for using Napster!

Adrienne A.
Napster Team

Errrr, I went to Virgin and bought a copy.

Books are So Yesterday


I know it's not exactly Tashkent, but yesterday I went on a spying mission to Bromley. Deep in the heart of Daily Mail land, I was trying my very best not to look metropolitan when I walked into the first of the town's two Waterstone's(those men of Kent must read like there is no tomorrow) and ran smack into a couple of friendly customer/loiterers from my own shop.They were debating the merits of The Dangerous Book for Boys, holding aloft a copy with its attractive £5.00 discount sticker neatly in place. I was about to tell them that down the road it had £10.00 off, oh, and online £12.00 (people this is mad) but then my telephone rang and it was Justine telling me that she has just taken delivery of 27 boxes of children's toys.

And so here I am; attempting to dig my way out from under a Crystal Palace made from Mr Men Floor Puzzles, Maisy Dominoes and Peter Rabbit Snakes and Ladders.

Lonely Heart

1861978294 Here's one for my writer friends.

Literary agents!  Save time when considering a manuscript by not bothering to read it at all.  Instead, set two beetles to race across the front page - one, a crippled, three-legged blind beetle named 'Accept', the other a steroid-taking model of beetle athleticism, wearing the very best beetle roller-skates, being pulled by a team of 16 beetle-sized horses and called 'Destroy Every Dream This Man Ever Had'.  Whichever beetle wins decides the fate of the author.  For a full set of rules and a licence to play (patent pending), write to sobbing, separated, newly alcoholic, chain-smoking man, 38, on pills for his nerves.  Box no 3524.

They call me naughty Lola.

Jingle Bells

Despite the fact that yesterday was the worst trading day since the introduction of the florin, it appears that Christmas is approaching. In the space of twenty minutes I was asked for: The new book by Pam Ayres; Nigel Havers autobiography (I know I am possibly being unkind here and that maybe he has a hinterland; perhaps he is really Andy McNab, or maybe a secret pyromaniac, but Playing With Fire is not the title that immediately springs to mind when idly thinking of the cyclist hating Charmer) and a book called Alice's Diary by Doctor Vernon Coleman - Alice is a cat.

And then, in-between putting books away I went into the office-cum-backroom and a little electronic thing started playing Jingle Bells (I swear this is true) before moving on to We Wish You a Merry Christmas. I tried to find the source of the tune, but if you ever visit the catastrophe that is our office-cum-backroom you will understand the hopelessness of this task. I stepped out of the room: it stopped. I stepped back in and it started again. Spooky huh?

And now it appears to have stopped for good. It must have discombobulated me a bit though, because when I went back to stacking the shelves I realised that I had filed Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and Running with Scissors (hi Sarah) by Augusten Burroughs in the Children's age 7-11 reading section.

I removed them sharpish before a Dulwich mother had an attack of the vapours.

A World Record in Something

Worldr_1My Yoga teacher friend calls to order some books for Christmas. One of the titles that she asks for is the Guinness Book of Records 2007 (now apparently rather bluntly called World Records). This borders on the embarrassing because I'm sure she knows, and I know too, that even though it's listed at £18.00 she can buy it in Woolworths/Tesco/Asda for about half that. Consequently it is not a book that I stock with any enthusiasm. Even so, she wants to buy it from me and will, I know, refuse a discount - perhaps this is the kind of person you become after years of getting bendy and breathing properly?

So anyway, with a slightly heavy heart, I place the order. And what do you know - a report comes back telling me that it is out of print. It was published on 29th September and now it's out of print. Nice going chaps: I'm sure there are thousands of copies out there cluttering up the aisles next to the soap powder and the cat food, but if you're a bookshop and you don't already have it in stock, or you've already sold out, well then, tough shit and time to break out those Waterstone's vouchers you've been hoarding.

We are a broad church

I say to nobody in particular, holding in my right hand a copy of The Paris Review Book of Interviews with Writers, whilst in my left I am waving a copy of The Shoot Annual 2007.

'Scuse me mate, a chap hovers. I don't suppose you have a copy of The Derren Brown book, you know, the magician?

No, sorry, I say, not at the moment.

I didn't think you would have, he sighs, his gaze passing over 200 Trips From The Counterculture; an expression on his face that suggests he feels like he has just asked for an umbrella in a chip shop.

And then too, a diverting 10 minute conversation with a language student about Michel Foucault and Stendhal. Interesting in that she spoke no English whatsoever and my Italian is limited to Tutti Frutti and Ciao Bella.

Writers talking.