27 thoughts on “Martin Stone (1946 – 2016)”

  1. I Was the drummer in Martin’s band “Les Homewreckers”We had some wonderful times together playing gigs in very strange places,to numerous to mention . I was also working as a Limo chauffeur in Paris,one day driving down the Rue de Rivoli,i spied Martin walking past W.H.Smiths with a shopping trolly full of books i yelled out “Mmmaarrttiinn as loudly as i could, he was obviously having probs with said trolly so i span the car around and picked him up,i was driving a Bentley “Where did you steal this from” he asked,LSS i took him home to Montparnasse,thank god you saw me he said,these bloody books weighs a ton.Last gig we did together was to open at La Cigale for Jimmy Vaughan, great gig,Mart played a blinder,Jimmy brought his rider down to our dressing room and him and Martin embraced. Got loads of stories ,he was genuinely a good guy,but i still felt that i didn’t know him as much as i would have liked.I was at his memorial in Paris along with one hundred and fifty others,a fine fine send off.Missed every day.

  2. Martin stone a great guitar player and Gentle man . I got to know Martin in the middle 60s when he was with Savoy Brown ,then with Mighty Baby . We met again with a friend in the early 70s. .This is Very sad news that Martin has passed away. I was looking forward to seeing Martin playing again. RIP. Martin Stone. a wonderful man with a lot of Humility. He wont be forgot.
    M Pini He inspired me to play guitar.

  3. I was his roadie in Action/Mighty Baby/ and for the inception of Chilli Willi and Ace (The latter two being off shoots of the former two; set up by Revelation records, which was formed to pay off debts of first Glastonbury festival). Our back pages were overloaded, unserviced transit crawling (55mph going downhill with favourable wind) around U.K and sometimes Europe on basic roads (60’s/70’s). Stoney had an ulcer and lived on yogurts, which he left hither and thither in hidden places in van half to fester and add their aroma to that of aromatic dope smoke, sometimes feet and farts. We were often poorer than church mice, living as a band in Lotts Road, Chelsea (then an area seething with bands) we lived two down from Family (supported by record company) we lived in old pet shop i slept under counter) got our leccy by running a cable across roof and plugging into family’s hall light.Stoney and the band (much influenced by him) read about spiritual belief and other esoteric matters, van was also a library. We played I,O,W,; Hyde Park; Trafalgar Square, First glastonbury’s;Worthy farm and untold clubs, universities, civic halls, etc. It was a grand adventure, a privilage and pure magic. The stories of the road always better in the telling, than often the actuality which was muddle, mayhem and maybe’s. We lived on our wits, made it up as we went along bwith no master plan, taking the moment as it came, with little thought for the tomorrows. In later years Stoney stayed with myself and my wife (Shelagh) in our earls court home when he did book fairs, for Hoppy’s wake, my Zeitgeist66 gig at the Tabernacle and sometimes when he was getting treatment at the Brompton. He was a grand lad with all the foibles and failures that make us human, but a character that was enchanting. I knew him as a friend spending much time with him for around 50 years man and boy. Whenever I turn my computer on his various photos I took of him come onto the screen as if he might have passed to spirit and new adventure but he’s always there to remind me.

    1. Michael Neal.
      Cayeux-sur-Mer.France Vanity of Vanities, saith the Peacher. All is Vanity” King James Bible – Chap. 12 v. 8

      I knew Martin for almost thirty years. Was there ever a more gentle soul? We met almost every Sunday at The Village Voice Bookshop in Paris (VI). I wept when I heard the news of his departure for the Great Library In the Sky. I wept so much that added to my Parkinson’s Disease I sent myself into a “très grave dépression” and signed myself into the psychiatric department at the local hospital where I mixed with the most unbookish crowd for a couple of weeks. I felt deeper and deeper into the trough of depression until I remembered a limerick Martin wrote concerning my modest person which cheered me up (almost), made me see the the light (if there is one) put me into the” Iluminated’ (that’s a section in the British Museum) would have made me a ‘Clear’ if I had been a Skyientologist (See G. Legman’s pastiche of L Ron Hubbard’s style in published in’Neurotica’ Issue 7) (Autumn 1950) under the title ‘Epizootics.
      Entretemps here is the limerick

      There Once was a Bookseller called Neal
      Who for Books had a rather Good Feel
      He had Quite a Few Rude Ones, and, even,
      Some Totally Nude Ones
      Plus Anything Else he Could Steal.

      Vive le Martinisme! En avance le Stoniana!

    2. What a beautiful heartfelt tribute. “We have heard the chimes at midnight ( oh the times that we have seen..) “

    3. That was so lovely to read, he was my friend too and I’ll never ever forget him. Enchanting…the perfect word. xx

  4. Is it OK to ask a book search question regarding books that Martin had?

    I did not know him personally, just through email. Our correspondence concerned the Tulkens bookshop in Brussels that opened in 1848 and closed in 2008. After the closing, Martin was one of the handful of dealers who bought the stock, many of which were stored upstairs and were still new, despite often being 100 years old or more. (See “Rare Books Uncovered,” by Rebecca Rego Barry, published in 2015, which has a chapter on Martin and this shop.) Many of the old/new books in storage (often with the earlier Louis de Meuleneere shop sticker) had dust-jackets or overall wrappings made from newsprint, scrap paper, or old quire sheets. Martin and I differed about the origin of that paper – he said the books were wrapped like that by the shop’s staff when they were reportedly (according to an old, handed-down shop story) hiding books from the Germans in WWI, and I said the wrappings and jackets were of original bindery issue. As part of my ongoing research on early dust jackets, I am looking for more of the Tulkens books that were thus wrapped. Martin’s fascinating email to me describing the Tulkens shop and these books is on p. 201, note 36, of my book, “Nineteenth-Century Dust-Jackets,” published earlier this year by the Private Libraries Association and the Oak Knoll Press. I would like to hear from anyone who has such books at bookmarkstore@att.net

  5. I have been very saddened by the death of Martin Stone though I never met him. His music has been a constant part of my life since late 1969 and I saw him a number of times in The Action (Hyde Park Free Concert 1968), Mighty Baby, Chilli Willi and most recently at Mighty Baby’s reunion gig in 2006. There I bought the outstanding Les Homewreckers album and I have played two of its tracks tonight in memory of this sweetest of guitarists: some of his best playing is, I think, on “Headed For A Fall”, and “I Can’t Help It” is a remarkable and beautiful love song. To all who knew him personally in a way I didn’t, my heart goes out to you…and to you Martin at some point between fate and destiny.

    1. Hi
      I m Laurence that sings with Martin on that album. Thank you for loving this album that Martin was proud of. He wroted all the songs (except of course the Donovan one)

  6. Really will be missed….as also so clear from all the above….last spoke when he rang from south of france …was on 52 bus on way home london so cldnt meet that week in nice (as we said obviously) but would soon….actually no as last time was 2 months later calling “back” wd be there would he ? He was in paris but might make it wanted to then we never did so only that memory of momenntary crossing lives remains…. i bought to his and my amusement the cheapest crisp mint minuit godot from him 900 quid 15 yrs ago….and traded a signed manray book for a signed basquiat….his reappearance with heroic guitar 8 or 9 or was it 11 or 12 yrs ago one night in a basement across from tottenham ct rd station just fabulous….the “he will really be missed” really true ….

  7. Hello, my name is Kosmo Vinyl and I too, am a friend of Martin’s. I have had some memorial badges made (by Joly McFie of Better Badges fame) using the Savoy Brown Blues Band “mutton chops” photo, as a a personal tribute. If anyone would like one contact me at kosmovinyle3@gmail.com. He was something special Martin Stone !

  8. Met Martin several times at Serendipity, the last being when he flew in to say good-bye to the dying Peter Howard. Our friendly, gentle, laughing conversations and his sparkly eyes gained him a place in my heart which he will always inhabit. I wish he was still among us.

  9. I tip my hat and pass along my condolences to Martin’s friends and family. As a new scout, I understand the challenges. Nigel and I met last year at Moe’s in Berkeley, Ca.

    Jeff Elfont
    Swan’s Fine Books ABAA

  10. The master of the barbed comment, full of amazing stories and unexpectedly generous.
    His visits to Any Amount made hum-drum days rather special. Despite having only a vague acquaintance through the bookshop he put me up in Paris at a drop of an ever-stylish hat.
    Very sad news

  11. Many years ago Martin and I started a book catalogue called ‘The forgotten Shelf’. He soon dropped me from the joint venture, however, when I started refusing to sell the books we had bought because I wanted to keep them for myself, but we had lots of expeditions together and there were a couple of memorable occasions when he bought a box of ‘rubbish’ from a junk shop for £1.50 which later realised £150 (a huge amount of money back in the day). Martin and my brother were in a band together called Chilli Willi & the Red Hot Peppers. We had kept in contact in a desultory way over the years since my brother, Philip, died, until early this year when we picked up again and met frequently until just a few weeks ago. His dignity in pain and illness moved me. He never wanted pity or even empathy. Right up to days before he died, I believed he would recover and at least have a while longer to tell his mischievous stories, name-drop at the blink of an eye and win over the most po-faced of naysayers. He charmed my children, flirted with my mother and looked through my books to check if I had inadvertently bought a priceless first edition – alas not. Has he really gone? I can’t believe it.

    1. Dear Ms. Lithman-Romeo, I’m doing some research on Martin and others in his orbit, and I wonder if I might ask you a few questions about your experience with him and in the book trade at that time. Thank you and best wishes, John

  12. Thank you for this.
    I was and am still quite devastated.

    Jim, Martin introduced us when I had the privilege to run around his heels at Brassens during the (too) short period before I moved to Madrid to open my own bookshop (Desperate Literature, if ever you’re in town) – and I was just checking a title when I saw this and it’s really wonderful to see tributes popping up everywhere.

    I didn’t know him long enough, but I loved him, I respected him more than any other man I ever met. He was a guiding light for a newbie like myself, my book scout superego!

    Thank you

  13. A fine chap, who brought wit, sparkle and damn fine books wherever he went. He will be sadly missed. By me, particularly at the ILEC fair – where he always generated a “proper scrum” at his stand. I used to love the way he watched the dealers fighting over his books, looking slightly bemused, as if he couldn’t really understand what all the fuss was about. It was always good to chat to him about Fellowship stuff, and he was a real inspiration there as well. I have no doubt that he is currently offering St Peter a rather special item in return for admission beyond the pearly gates.

  14. Martin was a wonderful book seller/ runner /scout and a loveable human. We miss him badly already at our shop (Any Amount) where he would so often leave his suitcase when he came in from Paris on the Eurostar. Customers and old staff members are all saddened. I knew him for 30 years. When I first met him he had a lot of rock and punk connections (1977) and was known as a great guitarist. I remember when he came out of rehab in the 1990s all his confidence as a book scout was gone and he ran us books from Oxfam shops in Ealing and beyond– just paperbacks and Everymans at first but fairly soon he got his mojo back and when he found a £10K Baum he was back better than before and soon selling to much posher shops than us… Who can forget his wonderful stalls at the June Fairs? And his charm and smile? There was a legendary quality about him built up by people like Peter Howard and Iain Sinclair, Eric Korn and various Canadian dealers — he was dismissive about it but I knew he enjoyed it. He will not be forgotten.

  15. A great photo, and a wonderful memory.Every time I open your site there’s that great surprise of Martin looking back at us.Usually the first glimpse was from behind of those hunched shoulders
    peering over a book.”Mart, what are you looking at?”
    “It’s not much but I’ve never seen it before.She was a lesbian surrealist, friend of ….yes, I think I’ll have to buy it.Mmm 60 Euros”.
    “What do you think it’s worth?”
    “I did sell her other novel for £800 ten years ago.Haven’t seen this one.Depends”. He carried on leafing through the pages, drilling down the value.
    It could have been a half eaten cheese sandwich for all I knew.
    The point is Martin’s knowledge of the weird and wonderful was encyclopedic.He taught so many people so much, turning up books one never knew existed until he pulled them out to offer you.
    He was a master of the unknown, a magician par excellence, and those who remember him from the flat in Whitechapel, met him at the stalls in Islington with Iain Sinclair, and latterly Paris, it was a unique privilege.
    As for a few old invoices I’ve still got, I better hang onto them. I can proudly say,”Yes I bought it from ‘the Stone’, you can see, it includes the original invoice.”
    In which case there’s no case to argue.That careful delicate hand wins every time.That is what will be remembered, and those books, the ones he made his own, if they sink back into obscurity, he never will.There’s too much history. Without doubt, in our trade, in this new world of booksellers without faces, customers without identities, he thrives, his legend made good, his inscription enshrined forever.

  16. Martin était aimé de tous c’est sûr
    Passionné jusqu’au dernier instant cultivé original dandy sense of humour kindness and rok and roll
    Il vivra encore des années dans notre mémoire et notre cœur
    bye and see you

  17. Thanks for putting up this obit. I live in Australia where Martin is known by some book collectors, largely via. Baxter’s ‘A Pound of Paper’. I’m sad to hear of his passing though it would have been merciful he was gone before the news of Trump’s election reached him.

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