A Few Unexpected Finds With Junior Unsubscriber

This past Monday was the last day of Junior Unsubscriber’s summer holiday and so I said I’d take her for lunch, the park and do all the other things such young folk enjoy doing. It was drizzling during the morning which put a slight dampener on our initial plans but after heading out for a bumper sushi lunch and a bit of treat shopping we set of to the park for some much needed exercise. My spirits were high until I fell off her skateboard during a coaching session and almost smashed my glass back into a million pieces! When will I finally learn that I’m a 47 year old wreck of a man and no longer 16, thrusting and vital?

We later ran into Sheffield city centre for a wander around in the warm September sun and try to locate some sticky buns to consume. After parking the car I noticed a shop I hadn’t been in for a good many years called Rare And Racy, a place which I happily called my second home for most of my formative years. I asked Junior Unsubscriber if we could pay a quick visit to which she shrugged her shoulders and nodded blankly – oh, she knows me only too well.

Rare & Racy Shop

After just fifteen minutes I came away with a hardback, two Silverberg novels plus an anthology and two other paperbacks for just £8! I probably could have unearthed a few more treasures but the extreme avant garde jazz being played at high volume in the shop was beginning to disquiet Junior Unsubscriber so we beat a hasty retreat in search of the aforementioned sticky buns.

So, all in all a great day – the small one was happy with her sushi lunch, treats and various activities whilst I was delighted with my wholly unexpected finds. I really must pay Rare And Racy a few more visits in future.

The shop can be be found at 164-166, Devonshire Street in Sheffield. They also have a website here which is worth looking at to get an idea of just what kind of treasure trove the place is.

Inside Rare & Racy

Here are the aforementioned newly acquired books in all their glory;

Visions & Venturers by Theodore Sturgeon
1980 – Readers Union / The Science Fiction Book Club (UK)
Cover artist uncredited

Fabulously minimal cover which almost looks like an Open University manual on Technical Drawing.

Sturgeon Visions & Venturers

The Green Brain by Frank Herbert
1975 – New English Library
Cover art by Bruce Pennington

Another cover which only serves to deepen my love of the human skull, here rendered brilliantly amidst swarming insects by Bruce Pennington.

Herbert The Green Brain

Chains Of The Sea edited by Robert Silverberg
1974 – Dell Laurel-Leaf Library
Cover art by Gervasio Gallardo

Anthology Chains Of The Sea

Vornan-19 by Robert Silverberg
1972 – Tandem
Cover art by C. Achilleos

Silverberg Vornan-19

Next Stop The Stars by Robert Silverberg
1977 – Ace Books
Cover art by Don Punchatz

This frankly bizarre piece of cover art apparently shows a man in his long johns doing battle with a purple, two headed, four armed alligator-style alien and winning by the simple application of a large stick! I like it, although I’m just not entirely sure why…

Silverberg Next Stop The Stars

8 thoughts on “A Few Unexpected Finds With Junior Unsubscriber

  1. Bernie 04/09/2014 / 9:27 am

    Some fine additions to your collection there, well done! The days when I could lose myself in a shop like that are unfortunately long gone, I do envy you, and I hope your back’s recovered!


    • unsubscriber 04/09/2014 / 9:42 am

      Thanks Bernie, I’m still getting twinges from the old back but I’ve only myself to blame for that! I don’t get many chances for visiting bookshops like this either to be honest, especially with Junior Unsubscriber in tow. She likes to keep a very close eye on her watch as I browse. Glad you lived the books and hope you’re keeping well too, speak soon.


  2. Postcard Cafe 04/09/2014 / 10:31 am

    Great post. Did you show junior Unsubscriber the big Phlegm mural on the back of the shop? Rare and Racey were one of the first places to sell Phlegm Comics from edition number one I think. They also used to sell his artwork. He loves the shop and by all accounts they love him. The mural was painted quite a few years ago and is now pretty well weathered. There is a photograph of part of it here… http://steelcitystatic.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/marginalised-s1/
    Best wishes, Mr Cafe 🙂


    • unsubscriber 04/09/2014 / 10:46 am

      Thanks Mr cafe, I didn’t even know there was a Phlegm mural there or I would have taken Junior Unsubscriber to see it. She was getting a bit freaked out by the free jazz I think. I love the shop too, bought my first secondhand LP there in 1983 and never looked back! It truly is an Aladdin’s cave of musical and literary treasures, I need to spend more time there I think. Hope you’re keeping well Mr Cafe, I’ll speak with you soon.


  3. The Howling Fantogs 04/09/2014 / 8:30 pm

    I love that shop. There is some great art work painted on the windows now which I was lucky enough to be passing as it was being created. I sat and watched for ages. Whilst the loud jazz music is not my preferred style of music is not my usual taste, it goes hand in hand with this shop. I’m so glad a little independent shop like thus continues to survive and thrive in the city centre.


    • unsubscriber 04/09/2014 / 8:35 pm

      I couldn’t agree with you more, it’s a perfect little time capsule and should rightly be there forever. It’s also still run by the same two gents who manned the counters during my first visits in the early eighties. It must be the jazz that keeps them so young. Thanks for taking the time to comment, it’s much appreciated.


  4. franzwesten 07/09/2014 / 2:44 pm

    What a fine looking store. I will sneak in a quick nosey round it next time I am in the locale!


    • unsubscriber 07/09/2014 / 2:51 pm

      It’s definitely well worth a visit if you can manage to enjoy the free jazz that’s usually being played there. I love it myself. Big Recommendation!


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