Posts Tagged ‘Library’
A book for a book, roses in Trafalgar Square, a letter and The Band….
1. On Carnaby Street, in Kingly Court, there has popped up a book exchange. It’s essentially a free library where you can drop off a book that you have read and leave with another that you’ve plucked from the shelves. I love this communal idea, where you not only get a new book but you can leave comments and share memories or recommendations. It’s like a huge hippy book club and suits the ethos that Carnaby Street stood for in the sixties. Curated by students from the London College of Fashion. The first book I spotted was one of my favourite books, The People of Providence by Tony Parker. I urge all you bookworms to take part.
2. Album of the week is Mariee Sioux, Gift For The End. Honest, simple, vintage sounding folk music from a lady so young singing songs that are so very old and wise. You can listen on Spotify.
3. Trafalgar Square smelt like an English Rose garden on Saturday. In amongst the fauna and flora I got chatting to a lovely lady from Capital Growth. They organise community food-growing spaces in urban areas. Having been on my boroughs allotment waiting list for two years this is a great way to get involved if you feel like sticking your fingers in some soil. You can see what’s happening in your local area by visiting their website.
4. On the passing of Levon Helm, drummer with The Band, this week my Dad said “another great musician bites the dust”. A day later he was followed by Bert Weedon, the man who taught so many people to play guitar. Really sad week for music to lose such important and inspirational characters. Whilst shuffling around YouTube to find something appropriate to add to this list I came across this documentary with The Band and it’s definitely worth a watch.
5. I am sometimes a better friend the further away you are from me geographically. This is because I love writing letters and making parcels for people. This week I was on the receiving end of a package from dear friend Pea who has been exiled to Australia. It arrived on a day where I needed it most and made me howl with laughter and cry tears of missing her sadness. From a letter the size of a small booklet which included a list of music she has recently found and loved (An Horse, Frankie Rose, Lemonade, Wooden Shjips) to a Kaleidoscope that I haven’t put down (experimenting with photography above). Send someone something, anything. It will make their week. ♥
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I grew up in a small seaside town, the type that Morrissey was scorning in Everyday Is Like Sunday. From a young age I learnt how to sneak into holiday camps, how to prise a Winkle from its shell and that if a bird shat on you it was good luck. I also fell in love with books.
Brixham had a small, tiny library in the town centre. It was essentially a hut. Spurred on by my mothers bedtime readings of The Hobbit, Funny Bones and Mrs. Gaddy and the Ghost (my favourite) we would visit the library on a weekly basis and choose a book for the week. A practise that I sadly suspect has declined over the years.
The book that I took out of the library the most was what I referred to as “the eggs and tadpoles book”. For some unknown reason (Feminism, a belief that we should choose our own books, a belief that knowledge is power) my mum let me continually check this book out of the library. Continually. I don’t exaggerate. I loved that book. It was a polite and inoffensive introduction to the reproductive system which left the below image burnt in my brain.
My odd obsession thankfully did not result in an over sexed teenager (in fact the extreme opposite as I was a painfully awkward teenager with bad skin and slightly batty enough to remain ensconced in my own strange little world but that’s another story), leaving my mum worry free and eventually able to be head of the local schools library once we were all at senior school. It seems her entire life, even that strange land us children can’t get our heads around, the time before there was an us, my mum has surrounded herself with books.
I have strong memories of seeing books being dried on the radiators, their pages crinkling under the heat and the print blurring from the shock of water, after she’d inevitably dropped them in the bath. A habit passed down from mother to daughter along with a love of reading.
It’s National Libraries Day on Saturday 4th February. It’s so important we keep literacy alive and our libraries from becoming extinct. Do go support your local library, even if it means getting out a book on the reproductive system. ♥
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I have spent most of this afternoon curled up on a sofa far comfier than the ones I have at home reading W.H Auden poems in Selfridges pop-up library, Words Words Words. Although initially sceptical of a library in a store whose main aim is to profit they’ve actually created a quiet haven away from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street. There is no pressure to buy, although the special editions lining the shelves are extremely tempting for any bookworm.
In fact, despite the calling of special edition books (more like a whisper than a holler, we are in a library after all) Selfridges are offering free literary workshops from Penguin Classic Book Clubs to The Idler Academy offerings in Grammar & Latin and Greek Philosophy.
Like people’s music tastes I always think people’s choice of reading material says a lot about them. Dotted on the shelves are celebrities top picks. Amongst them Sophie Dahl chooses Graham Greene’s The Comedians. Mark Ronson picks Michael Chabon’s Kavalier and Clay, and Beverley Knight opts for William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. All amongst my most cherished books.
This beautiful little corner in a basement has a huge budget behind it, unlike our public libraries. Sadly I can’t help thinking that if our libraries had this kind of money and celebrity endorsement behind them then perhaps they wouldn’t be our latest endangered species. It makes you ponder.
I leave you with Z is for…. ♥