Continuing with my memories from Perth fandom in the late 1980’s, let me introduce you to my favourite bookshop in the world! A Touch of Strange back when they were in Subiaco Village. See the bluetack stains in the corners of this poster? Whereas other students had posters of bands on their walls, I had my favourite bookshop :-) And I still love the art on this poster itself. I like the balance between Science Fiction and Fantasy. The artist was Stephen Grant, and he also did the shop front (which I don’t have photographs of :-( )
There was another Science Fiction and Fantasy bookshop in Perth, but you got frowned at there if you were a penniless student. A Touch Of Strange was a different beast. The staff here, and Robin Pen in particular, were always friendly, full of interesting information and ready to chat. There was a community pin up board next to the door and occasionally I would visit just to check that wall for events.
They sold Del Rey’s books here, and the artwork on the covers always seemed more exotic than on the Australian prints. There was a large stand of Doctor Who books – these were relatively cheap and, as Target then were finally getting around to publishing most of the original series story-lines, this is where I would top up my collection as often as I had spare cash. I often wonder if the main reason I’m such a large Doctor Who fan is that the books were so cheap back when I was a student :-)
Christmas 1988 my Mum went into A Touch of Strange and asked them what I’d like for Christmas. Robin worked out who she was buying for and chose wisely. I’d never heard of the authors before, but two of those are still my favourite authors (Iain M. Banks and Daniel Keys Moran).
Between 1991 and 1995 I moved to the UK. When I returned A Touch of Strange had relocated into the city itself, and sometime after that it closed. For me it was never the same, but in my memories A Touch of Strange will always be in Subiaco :-)
Who remembers when this shop opened? When it changed hands? When it moved to the city and when it finally closed?