Monday, May 21, 2007

The (discount) price of fame

A forgotten anecdote from my last vacation: I can't pass through a country town without checking out its second hand book stores, and my recent visit to the south coast town of Mogo netted me an interesting batch of books and collectibles.

An Aussie non-fiction book for kids, about the history of chewing gum(!), has two b/w photos inside: of me showing off my Star Trek gum card collection. The book was written by my friend, Natalie Jane Prior in 2000, as part of her "Ubiquitous Things" series. It's called "Chewing gum: how it fed the gods, went into space and helped win the war".

Gum cardsChewing gum

I was in one of Mogo's second hand book shops in March and they happened to have two remaindered (but mint-condition) copies of the book on display, and for a great price, too. When I approached the woman at the counter, I flipped open the book to the appropriate page and smiled at her. I got a discount on my discount!

So it does help to have a photo; I've tried pointing out my name in the Acknowledgments page of the Star Trek novel "Ex Machina" at bookshop counters, but they're never as impressed, and it doesn't result in discounts.

Perhaps my new aim is to be the next Captain Calhoun and be on the cover of a Star Trek novel. I wonder if Keith Birdsong's neighbour gets mobbed in science fiction bookshops? He even got his own Star Trek action figure from Playmates!

1 comment:

Therin of Andor said...

The last true "gum card" set I remember was for the 1989 Tim Burton movie of "Batman". A local Sydney comic specialist store ordered in boxes and boxes of cards but they were impounded by Australian Customs. Turned out that Australian Food Regulations had changed and something in the gum was now an illegal additive and not permitted to be imported anymore. The store owner could only have his cards back if he opened every packet, removed the gum, and folded the packets back up again. He put all the gum into a huge, white plastic garbage bag and, as he went to leave, the Customs guy handed him the bag. Yes, he was allowed to have the gum, but only if it wasn't in the cards and being offered for sale.

There's nothing like the smell of gum card gum, but it never quite had the texture of 1960s gum card gum. And didn't you absolutely hate it when a really rare card had a long pink stain on it?