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The Spy Who Loved Me

Judi vs Judy

My lovely local indie bookshop, Bookseller Crow on the Hill, is in financial difficulties and running a series of fundraising events. The latest of these, last night, was a debate: who is better, Judy Garland or Dame Judi Dench?

I very much wanted to go, but that evening I had arranged to meet two friends, one of whom was visiting from the States. Would they, perhaps, like to accompany me? I wasn't quite sure what we would experience, but it would be...very British?

It was.

First up was Susie Boyt, reading from her memoir My Judy Garland Life - a surprisingly deep and touching account of what it's like to go through life trying at all times to make other people happy.

The opposition was a total contrast: Barbara Brownskirt, poet-in-residence of the 197 bus stop on Croydon Road, Penge, performing her works on life, love, manspreading and, of course, Judi. I cried with laughter.

There was a quiz on Judy and Judi, at which we did pretty dismally (serves me right for having Dench's autobiography on my To Read shelf for two years), plus a chance to handle a pair of Garland's shoes and look at Judi Dench's British Airways boarding pass and menu, obtained no doubt by nefarious means.

Then we went for a pizza at the Sardinian restaurant, where the proprietor told my friends off for not eating their crusts, going so far as to bring his sourdough starter out from the kitchen to demonstrate how much work went into it. A very Crystal Palace evening.
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Oh no! I like Bookseller Crow - will try to swing by some time and buy a book or two from them.
Yes! I'm sure Christmas will give them a boost, too.