Couth Buzzard is an indie bookshop near the Greenwood branch library and one door away from the post office where I sent those lovely postcards back home.
The person running the place (not sure if he’s the owner but behaves like one) is a grey-haired gentleman wearing a fedora and a hippie vest. Not someone for small talk but helpful in every way possible. Don’t have the book I wanted but free to browse around, he said.
So I did. Books are arranged by genre in hand-written labels stuck on shelves. No fuss at all. Reminds me of the old second-hand bookshops along Bras Basah Road in the 70s.
Behind the book shelves is an odd space of hobby craft display, a weathered armchair, some stools and what looks like a makeshift stage with drum set and an electronic keyboard. Almost missed the narrow café bar where the bookshop operator doubles up as a barista and bartender.
Interesting but strange place. Wonder how the owner makes money. There’s no other customer but me in the store. Perhaps I should buy a book to support the establishment.
The collection of books is not exactly what one would find in Kinokuniya or any mainstream book stores. Some of the books may never make it to Singapore through normal channels but here they are, neatly placed and properly categorized.
It wasn’t long when the next customer entered the shop. Then another and another, and in the next fifteen minutes the place started to fill with voices, movements and energy.
Someone’s tuning a guitar. Someone’s adjusting the drums. Something’s going on at the back of the shop. At this time I was between Poetry and Politics, and definitely very curious.
Turned out there’s a performance showcasing three sets of 5-piece bands from teen musicians to mature music students playing music from the all-time favourite Autumn Leaves to the rock instrumental Frankenstein.
As if arranged by special effects, there were flashes and what sounded like pellets hitting the frosted glass windows behind the band. But nobody bothered. Everyone was enjoying themselves drinking coffee and beer while having a musical treat.
When all’s over, people dispersed into their little groups getting feedback and encouragement from family and friends.
Solo me, happy and entertained, stepped out of Buzzard after getting a second cup of coffee to-go.
The ground was wet. Must have rained. A car turned the corner and spilled little while balls from its windscreen to the roadside. I passed a parked car and it had little while balls too.
So it didn’t just rain. The sound of pellets on the windows during Frankenstein was actually hail. Glad I wasn’t out at that time. The music saved me.