Never let it be said that the Arts Council disburses its funds with any but the most serious intentions to promote the worthiest and most significant of causes. It is thanks to the generosity and perspicacity of this august body that the work, uniquely previewed here, of an outstanding researcher has been able to flourish; work which will leave all of us in the land of letters considerably richer in the only currencies that ultimately endure - knowledge and insight.
The area into which our doughty colleague has been sweeping the beacon of understanding can roughly be described - to the lay person - as non-linear and ironic observational systems as pertaining to literature redistribution. It is with supreme consideration and condescension, however, that the published work will be given the somewhat more demotic title of 'The Booksellers' and Librarians' Joke Book'. The first glittering entries into this tome have been long in the unearthing, and it is my undeserved privilege to unveil them here for you.
A woman walks into a bookshop and asks: 'Have you anything by Hilary Mantel?'
'Of course', replies the bookseller, 'Katherine Mansfield is just to her left.'
A man walks out of a bookshop carrying a large number of volumes, none of which has benefited from a visit to the payment point.
'I say' declares a panting bookseller who pursues him into the street; 'What gives?'
'Fear not' replies the former, 'They came from the self-help section'.
A woman walks into a bookshop.
'Ouch!' she complains; 'How embarrassing not to have noticed so large a building.'
A man walks into a library on the first working day after Easter, and asks for a particular book.
'I'm sorry' a regretful Librarian apologises; 'It's just been Lent'.
A woman walks into a bookshop and somewhat naively enquires:
'Do you have Kindles?'
'No' replies the bookseller, 'It's just the way I'm standing'.
A person of indeterminate gender walks into a bookshop and launches this dual interrogation:
'Could you remind me who wrote The Glass Bead Game, and also please apprise me of your stockholding vis a vis the author of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen.'
To which the bookseller responds, in a lilting manner:
'Hesse; we have no Al Garners.'
I would be pleased to pass on contributions of a similar quality to the researcher.