Yesterday's Independent had a story about a more than usually eccentric Englishman: Mike Goldmark.
Mr Goldmark, until recently, had a secondhand-book business in a small town called Uppingham (where there is a famous school; Stephen Fry was expelled from it). The business opened in 1974, was later expanded with an adjoining art gallery, and has now closed; though the gallery remains open.
In addition to buying and selling old books -- in a somewhat eccentric manner, it has to be said -- Goldmark also did a bit of publishing. He published, for instance, Iain Sinclair's first novel, White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings, in 1987.
What happened was that Sinclair told Goldmark that he was planning to write a novel, and Goldmark said that if he did he would publish it. Later, Sinclair turned up and said that he had completed the novel, offered it around, and had had it turned down by everybody. So Goldmark said he would publish it anyway.
Sinclair asked whether Goldmark wanted to read the novel before making up his mind. And Goldmark said no, he didn't think that would be a good idea.
See what I mean about eccentric?
Turns out that Goldmark actually can read, but he finds it puts him to sleep. 'I just get extremely tired when I start doing it.' Yes indeed; I know the feeling.