Performance artists, black magicians and disco divas mingle on the shelves at Donlon Books, a mind-opening oasis of subversive thought that is about to open the doors of a must-visit new shop on east London's Broadway Market.
Curated by 37-year-old Conor Donlon, the new bookshop on east London's Broadway Market sells a carefully selected collection of ultra-rare tomes, from pop culture classics like Jungle Fever - Jean Paul Goude’s 1983 collaboration with Grace Jones - to a hard-to-find English language edition of Stefan Aust’s 1986 study The Baader Meinhof Complex. There’s also a selection of books by artists such as Jeremy Deller and Donald Urquhart, covetable old magazines like 70s Interview, 80s The Face and the first 10 issues of i-D.
“It’s all the things that I’m into,” Donlon explains simply. “People who operate outside the mainstream but manage to inspire people – that’s my passion. You get the oddities here. For instance, I had a really rare copy of Honcho magazine. Franz Koenig, who runs the Serpentine Gallery bookshop came in, bought it and was like ‘Wow, I’ve never seen this before’. It’s all stuff you won’t find anywhere else.”
Aptly, for a shop dedicated to cult artists from Divine to Aleister Crowley, Donlon Books is developing something of a cult following itself. Since it opened in 2006, heavyweight gallerists and fashion and photography A-Listers have all beaten a path to Donlon’s not-very-easy-to-find door. Yet despite some of the books carrying sizeable price tags (a signed book by German pop artist Sigmar Polke goes for £200), there’s nothing stuffy about Donlon Books - rather, it expresses Donlon’s endless enthusiasm for subcultures of all kinds. “You see that book The Haçienda Must Be Built?” he asks, pointing to the Jon Savage-edited volume. “I bought that when I was about 14, 15 in Monaghan, Ireland, a really small farming town. I was really into the whole thing and wanted to go to the Haçienda but I couldn’t, so I read the book instead!”
Donlon Books' new address is 75 Broadway Market, London Fields, London, E8 4PH. Pay a visit this weekend!