The resident canine at Woolfson and Tay is a paragon among bookshop dogs…
The first thing I look for in any bookshop is the resident dog. (Some bookshops do not have a dog, a very curious state of affairs as I’m sure you will agree, and one best not dwelt upon. It will only end in tears and befuddlement.) Immediately, I want to ascertain two things. First, the name of the dog, and second, whether it is the presiding spirit of the bookshop, or is just hanging around on the premises because it has nothing better to do with its sordid little life. In the latter case, though the dog is clearly in the bookshop, it does not really deserve the title of “bookshop dog”, and one might well be justified in having the proprietor prosecuted under the criminal law, particularly if one is feeling vengeful or cantankerous.
Happily, Matzo, the resident dog at Woolfson & Tay on Bear Lane in Bankside, close to Tate Modern, is a paragon among bookshop dogs. He will greet you at the door, check your credentials, and may even recommend certain titles to you. Alternatively, he might just be asleep somewhere, or gaze at you longingly as you eat some cake. (In addition to a fine and idiosyncratic selection of books, Woolfson & Tay has a café, serving cake among other delights. Sylvia Plath would have approved.)
There is no doubt that Matzo fulfils his role as presiding spirit. The bookshop has recently moved to this new location, and a feckless dog would have stayed put at the old place, misleading passers-by. But Matzo, a true bookshop dog, is right there on Bear Lane, master of all he surveys.
For Dabbleristas in London, I thoroughly recommend regular visits to make Matzo’s acquaintance, eat lunch (or just cake), and buy books – particularly the latter. It is a brave, even foolhardy, dog who opens an independent bookshop in these Dark Ages, and if Matzo is going to eat more than the cake-crumbs from your table, he needs your help to make the business thrive. You lot, with your intelligent and eclectic tastes, will certainly find the sorts of books you want to read on the shelves. So go there, and make a bookshop dog happy.
Woolfson & Tay’s website is here.