WHISPERING SMITH: Anarchy, the way to bring us to book

LAST week, on one of my infrequent visits to London, I was riding the underground, ‘people watching’, and could not help but notice the three men sitting opposite me on a near-empty train.

The two younger men were heads down, eyes glued to their Kindles, and the third, an older man sitting between them, was reading a much dog-eared blue Penguin paperback.

I dearly wanted to take a photograph but thought that a bit dodgy, so I simply retained the delightful memory of the scene.

Reading and books are very close to my heart and the decline of the former is a sore point, as my business was, and to some extent still is, to sell signed collectable modern first editions and there has, these past two years, been a miserable drop in sales.

In fact, such a decline that I am thinking of chucking it in this year.

Imagine my great pleasure last week, when I learned of the Literary Anarchists campaign to get people reading, launched by the Littlehampton Organisation of Contemporary Arts (LOCA).

It’s a simple idea, really – you leave a favoured book in a zip-lock bag with a note, perhaps just a greeting to the new reader or a thought as to why you enjoyed the enclosed tome. Someone picks it up, reads it and does the same or, better yet, adds a book of their own choosing.

It could and should snowball. The zip-lock bags and a list of drop sites will be available from the Way Out There and Back new age outlet in Evans Garden, at the rear of the Silk Road Restaurant in Arcade Road from tomorrow.

It’s a bold and laudable venture by LOCA and I have already dropped off a couple of my favoured books.

Check it out, get involved.

SADDENED by news of the passing of Henry ‘Harry’ Clear, a lifelong Littlehampton man born in Wharf Cottage way back in 1924.

Harry was a decorated navy man, a veteran of the grim Arctic convoys, one of the unsung heroes of some the bitterest exchanges of the war, always at the mercy of the sea, the freezing cold, the German navy and the Luftwaffe.

I shall miss his friendly greeting at the war memorial next Remembrance Sunday.

“Home is the sailor, home from the sea.”