Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The York Book and Paper Fair

The Spring ’11 York Book and Paper Fair takes place next weekend and I’m looking forward to poking around a bit. I always seem to find interesting things there.

Our book fair here in York started in the fall of 1984, and has been running continually—twice each year—since then. That makes this the 55th edition. It also makes it one of the longest running book fairs in this part of the country.

Now, it isn’t the largest fair, to the sure. Nor is it star-studded, with lots of big name authors and special presentations from publishers. We don’t have the First Lady involved, like they do in Washington, DC. We don’t give out awards for best novels or for lifetime achievements. There are no roped-off areas or V.I.P. passes required to get into the “special” rooms.

(Although, to be candid, we did try to get Nora Roberts to attend since she doesn’t live too far away. After a number of invites, her people got back to us and told us that Ms. Roberts was aware of our little fair and really liked the idea of it and, if she were ever going to do one, ours would be the one she would do. But. She’s never going to do another one. So that makes us THE Number One Thing That Nora Roberts Is Never Going To Do. And that’s a distinction of sorts, I guess. But, I digress…)

We don’t go in for all that highfalutin celebrity and off-limits stuff here. All that is fine in its place, of course. If they want to do that in New York we invite them to go right ahead. But this isn’t the place; this isn’t New York. This is York. And this is the YORK Book and Paper Fair. It is just us, doing what we like to do: books.

We like to talk about them. We like to discover new authors or forgotten works by favorite authors. We like to sift through the older tomes, admiring bindings and layouts and typographic styles. We like to compare editions and dust jackets. We like the ephemera; the colors and the artwork.

We like to rub shoulders with other bibliophiles as we walk the aisles. We want to see what they’re reading, and we want to admire the treasures they’ve discovered this day; to share their enthusiasm for a new quest. And, frankly, we want to brag and show off a bit with the things we’ve managed to uncover.

We like to talk to the dealers, since they’re the ones who really know. What are they seeing at other fairs? What are the trends? What news from the front lines of the book world? (Not the hype and PR and stuff we get in the papers and online journals, but the real story.) Are e-books really taking over? Will there still be room for us luddites, who prefer reading paper to electrons?

And…what have you got hidden under the table? Anything special for me?

And we like the haggling. (“Well, on a good day and in the right place, that book probably is worth $75. But I’ve got fifty dollars cash money in my hand right now…”)

But most of all, we like the books. We like walking into the dealer display rooms and just standing there for a minute looking around at all the dealers, all the displays. The colors; the embossings; the foxings.

The books! All the books! Hundreds…thousands of them! Some are old friends. Some are new and unknown to us; perhaps destined to be new friends.

And every one of them, it seems, is calling to us.

Leather-bound, from the 18th and 19th centuries. Signed, 1st editions (“Really? Richard Nixon?”). Vintage paperbacks (“How many ways could they show a naked woman without really showing a naked woman?”). Pulp magazines with first appearances of a favorite author’s short stories (“That one’s got H.P. Lovecraft in it!”). Collected works. Obscure works (“Tarzan and the Ant Men! With a dust jacket!”). Limited editions. Spoken word (“Jack Kerouac doing a live reading?”).

Is that a real Steinbeck autograph? Did Erle Stanley Gardner really write that letter? That Jimmi Hendrix record, the first-pressing from Germany, is still in the shrink-wrap! Did you see that neat, old set of bookends down there…must be from the 50s!

Yeah…this is the York Book and Paper Fair. I’ve got my coupon. I can’t wait!

There are a couple of tables that I am looking forward to looking under.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Flappers' Dictionary

Hidden deep within a box of materials that came into the shop this week was a short stack of old magazines. I’d never seen this title before, but I knew what it was just as soon as I saw it: Flapper. “Not for Old Fogies” said the masthead, but I took a look anyway. These were in beautiful condition (“Near Mint” is the technical term) and were just a lot of fun to page through.

During the Roaring 20s of the last century, young ladies took on a new, and for the time radical, lifestyle. These were the years following World War I and prior to The Great Depression. It was the jazz age and the ladies were taking full advantage in daring new ways. Illegal bootleg hooch was all the rage, with hide-away flasks an important fashion accessory. Smoking cigarettes became a statement of liberation. Hemlines were going up and, according to some, morals were going down.

It was all a reaction to what women perceived as stifling control placed over them by the male of the species. This magazine catered to the movement.

The July 1922 edition of Flapper contained “A Flappers’ Dictionary.” According to the uncredited author, “A Flapper is one with a jitney body and a limousine mind. The Shifter is a new species who flaunts as his banner, “Something for nothing and then very little.”

“The flapper movement is not a craze, but something that will stay,” the author maintained. “Many of the phrases now employed by members of this order will eventually find a way into common usage and be accepted as good English.”

The dictionary went into some detail, listing the group’s slang and providing definitions. In the process, it also provided an insight: through the slang we can begin to discern attitudes and priorities and the mindset of the adherents. And the adherents, after all, were our grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Who knew?

My P,LSB*, ready and eager to join the movement, was amused by the term “Father Time” and couldn’t help but notice that it applied to one of us at the dinner table. And that was fine, until I pointed out that “Rock of Ages” might also have a present application.

So, whether you be airedale or biscuit, put down your dincher and pretend your munitions are fine for the moment. The whangdoodle is on in the background and you’re more weed than crepe hanger. This ain’t static; this is pure Di Mi. So pay attention; we don't want no klucks. And you may be edisoned later.

Absent Treatment—Dancing with a bashful partner.

Airedale—A homely man.

Alarm Clock—Chaperone.

Anchor—Box of flowers.

Apple Knocker—A hick; a hay-shaker.

Apple Sauce--Flattery; bunk.

Barlow—A girl, a flapper, a chicken.

Bank’s Closed—No petting allowed; no kisses.


Bee’s Knees—See “Cat’s Pajamas”

Bell Polisher—A young man addicted to lingering in vestibules at 1 a.m.

Bean Picker—One who patches up trouble and picks up spilled beans.

Berry Patch—A man’s particular interest in a girl.


Biscuit—A pettable flapper.

Big Timer—(n. masc.)—A charmer able to convince his sweetie that a jollier thing would be to get a snack in an armchair lunchroom; a romantic.

Billboard—Flashy man or woman.

Blushing Violet—A publicity hound.

Blouse—To go.

Blow—Wild party.

Blaah—No good.

Boob Tickler—Girl who entertains father’s out-of-town customers.

Brush Ape—Anyone from the sticks; a country Jake.

Brooksy—Classy dresser

Bust—A man who makes his living in the prize ring, a pugilist.

Bun Duster—See “Cake Eater”.

Bush Hounds—Rustics and others outside of the Flapper pale.

Cancelled Stamp—A wallflower.

Cake Basket—A limousine.

Cake Eater—See “Crumb Gobbler”

Cat’s Particulars—The acme of perfection; anything that’s good

Cat’s Pajamas—Anything that’s good

Cellar Smeller—A young man who always turns up where liquor is to be had without cost.

Clothesline—One who tells neighborhood secrets.

Corn Shredder—Young man who dances on a girl’s feet.

Crepe Hanger—Reformer.

Crumb Gobbler—Slightly sissy tea hound.

Crasher—Anyone who comes to parties uninvited.

Crashing Party—Party where several young men in a group go uninvited.

Cuddle Cootie—Young man who takes a girl for a ride on a bus, gas wagon or automobile.

Cuddler—One who likes petting.

Dapper—A flapper’s father.

Dewdropper—Young man who does not work, and sleeps all day.

Dincher—A half-smoked cigarette.

Dingle Dangler—One who insists on telephoning.

Dipe Ducat—A subway ticket.

Dimbox—A taxicab.

Di Mi—Goodness.


Dog Kennels—Pair of shoes.

Dropping the Pilot—Getting a divorce.

Dumbdora—Stupid girl.

Duck’s Quack—The best thing ever.

Ducky—General term of approbation.


Dudding Up—Dressing.

Dumbbell-Wall flower with little brains.

Dumkuff—General term for being “nutty” or “batty”.

Edisoned—Being asked a lot of questions.

Egg Harbor—Free dance.

Embalmer—A bootlegger.

Eye Opener—A marriage.

Father Time—Any man over 30 years of age.

Face Stretcher—Old maid who tries to look younger.

Feathers—Light conversation.

Fire Extinguisher—A chaperone.

Finale Hopper—Young man who arrives after everything is paid for.

Fire Alarm—Divorced woman.

Fire Bell—Married woman.


Flat Shoes—Fight between a Flapper and her Goof

Fluky—Funny, odd, peculiar; different.

Flatwheeler—Slat shy of money; takes girls to free affairs.

Floorflusher—Inveterate dance hound.

Flour Lover—Girl who powders too freely.

Forty-Niner—Man who is prospecting for a rich wife.

Frog’s Eyebrows—Nice, fine.

Gander—Process of duding up.

Green Glorious—Money and checks.

Gimlet—A chronic bore.

Given the Air—When a girl or fellow is thrown down on a date.

Give Your Knee—Cheek-to-cheek or toe-to-toe dancing.

Goofy—To be in love with, or attracted to. Example: “I’m goofy about Jack.”

Goat’s Whiskers—See “Cat’s Particulars”


Grummy—In the dumps, shades or blue.

Grubber—One who always borrows cigarettes.

Handcuff—Engagement ring.

Hen Coop—A beauty parlor.

His Blue Serge—His sweetheart.

Highjohn—Young man friend; sweetie, cutey, highboy.


Houdini—To be on time for a date.

Horse Prancer—See “Corn Shredder”.

Hush Money—Allowance from father.

Jane—A girl who meets you on the stoop.

Johnnie Walker—Guy who never hires a cab.

Kitten’s Ankles—See “Cat’s Particulars”.

Kluck—Dumb, but happy.


Lallygagger—A young man addicted to attempts at hallway spooning.

Lens Louise—A person given to monopolizing conversation.

Lemon Squeezer—An elevator.

Low Lid—The opposite of highbrow.

Mad Money—Carfare home if she has a fight with her escort.


Monkey’s Eyebrows—See “Cat’s Particulars”.

Monog—A young person of either sex who is goofy about only one person at a time.

Monologist—Young man who hates to talk about himself.

Mustard Plaster—Unwelcome guy who sticks around.

Munitions—Face powder and rouge.

Mug—To osculate or kiss.

Necker—A petter who puts her arms around a boy’s neck.

Noodle Juice—Tea.


Nut Cracker—Policeman’s nightstick.

Obituary Notice—Dunning letter.

Oilcan—An imposter.

Orchid—Anything that is expensive.

Out on Parole—A person who has been divorced.

Petting Pantry—Movie.

Petting Party—A party devoted to hugging.

Petter—A loveable person; one who enjoys to caress.

Pillow Case—Young man who is full of feathers.

Police Dog—Young man to whom one is engaged.

Potato—A young man shy of brains.

Ritzy Burg—Not classy.


Rock of Ages—Any woman over 30 years of age.

Rug Hopper—Young man who never takes a girl out. A parlor hound.

Sap—A Flapper term for floorflusher.

Scandal—A short term for Scandal Walk.

Scandaler—A dance floor fullback. The interior of a dreadnaught hat, Piccadilly shoes with open plumbing, size 13.

Seetie—Anybody a flapper hates.

Sharpshooter—One who spends much and dances well.

Shifter—Another species of flapper.

Show Case—Rich man’s wife with jewels.

Sip—Flapper term for female Hopper.

Slat—See “Highjohn”; “Goof”.

Slimp—Cheapskate or “one way guy”.

Smith Brothers—Guys who never cough up.

Smoke Eater—A girl cigarette user.

Smooth—Guy who does not keep his word.

Snake—To call a victim with vampire arms.

Snuggleup—A man fond of petting and petting parties.

Sod Buster—An undertaker.


Stander—Victim of a female grafter.

Static—Conversations that mean nothing.

Strike Breaker—A young woman who goes with her friend’s “Steady” while there is a coolness.

Swan—Glide gracefully.

Tomato—A young woman shy of brains.

Trotzky (sic)—Old lady with a moustache and chin whiskers.

Umbrella—young man any girl can borrow for the evening.

Urban Set—Her new gown.

Walk In—Young man who goes to a party without being invited.

Weasel—Girl stealer.

Weed—Flapper who takes risks.

Weeping Willow—See “Crepe Hanger”

Whangdoodle—Jazz-band music.

Whiskbroom—Any man who wears whiskers.

Wind Sucker—Any person given to boasting.

Wurp—Killjoy or drawback.

*P,LSB = Poor, Long-Suffering Bride