In Conversation with... our Buyer and Store Manager Tim

In Conversation with... our Buyer and Store Manager Tim

Tim Bell, our store manager and buyer, shares insights into his role, daily routines, childhood favourites magazines, and current top picks. Tim’s particular passion lies in self-publishing and he has amassed a huge zine collection, if you’ve published your own work, he’d love to see it!


What’s your normal day at UNITOM like?


There’s no such thing as a typical day for me at UNITOM. Working in such as small team we all pitch in where it’s needed most, so days are rarely the same. Some days might simply involve packing web orders and working on the shop floor. Equally, I might spend all day processing deliveries or photographing the latest arrivals for the website. Other days are spent investigating and ordering new stock for the shelves, which is my favourite part of the job. Occasionally, we’re hosting an event or even guest lecturing at a university. 

What makes each day unique, is the customers who come in and the conversations we have. Every day people are asking for recommendations or advice, bringing in their self-published work, or eagerly enquiring about their favourite magazines. Our customers are so enthusiastic about their particular passion and supportive of what we do, I’m always discovering or learning about something new.


Can you remember the very first magazine you enjoyed?


I think I’ve always been a collector of magazines. As a kid, I can remember getting the Beano every week. There was a film magazine in my teens called Neon, which I bought religiously. I have a particularly fond memory for a magazine called Specialten, which came in a gatefold sleeve with a print and an accompanying DVD. I still have my complete collection. I also collected a magazine called Very Nearly Almost, primarily for their screen-printed collector’s editions.


We get so many different publications each week, which ones would you say have left the biggest impression recently?


Catnip by the people behind Broccoli Magazine. It’s such a joyous and ridiculous magazine that I’d challenge anyone who didn’t find something to enjoy in there.


Iron Halo by Sal Salandra. Salandra creates these incredible “tread painting” tapestries reminiscent of Tom of Finland and Hieronymus Bosch.


Unlicensed: Bootlegging as Creative Practice published by Valiz. I’m fascinated by bootlegging, its history and its more recent mergence into the mainstream as a legitimate practice and fetishised aesthetic. I especially enjoy seeing this creeping into publishing too. I have a massive collection of bootleg Simpsons publications.


If you could pick 3 books to take home with you tonight, what would they be?


I’m guilty of almost always purchasing everything I want immediately, I have no restraint. If money wasn’t a consideration I’d definitely take home: The Great Escape by Relm, The Dragon Bar Book and Katherine Bernhardt - Why Is A Mushroom Growing In My Shower?


Are there any events, pop-ups or products coming up that you’re excited about?


We’ve always working on the next thing, so there is lots of exciting stuff on the horizon. I’ve ordered so much new stuff over the last few month that’s still due to arrive and there are already a few events pencilled in for the year ahead. We have the Vitsoe Residency coming back in April and our Volumes collaboration with MMU coming back in May. There are several others events bubbling away in the background, maybe a book signing, maybe a coffee event, we’ll see.


Lastly, which favourite local neighbourhood business you like to recommend to our customers?


Definitely Idle Hands and Siop Shop for sweet treats and Coffee Pot for a fry-up. I like playing board games so I’m often in Fanboy 3 and Travelling Man. I miss being able to visit Oklahoma!





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