Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tona de Brett

Many of our regular customers already know that Tim’s Mum is Tona de Brett, legendary singing teacher to the stars (check this out if you don’t believe me) In fact I would be surprised if there was anyone in Wood Green, Hornsey or Muswell Hill who didn’t know. It is said that in order to gain access to Crouch End you must know that Tona briefly taught Annie Lennox.


Well, Tona – with the help of author & journalist Chris Charles – is writing her memoirs, and she could do with a little assistance.

We're looking for anyone who was taught by Tona, and we have set up an email address solely to collect their memories/stories of Tona. It is

Tona has lived and worked in Muswell Hill for over 50 years and, in that time, has taught hundreds (possibly thousands) of people. We want to hear from as many as possible. From the people she taught piano to as children to the megastars who came to top up their singing skills.
If you've ever had the pleasure of being taught by Tona, or can can share this with people who might be able to help, we'd really appreciate it. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

National Anthems. An evening with Alex Marshall & Rhodri Marsden

Tuesday May 24th – 7.00pm-9.00pm
A Celebration of National Anthems
With Alex Marshall and Rhodri Marsden
There are a couple of hundred songs that are sung by millions across the world each day, that school children know by heart and sports fans belt out perfectly even after eight beers. And they aren’t pop songs – they are national anthems.
In his brilliant new book Republic or DeathAlex Marshall brings the incredible stories of the world’s national anthems to life. Taking in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the Americas North and South, he embarks on an adventure that includes cycling the route along which French revolutionaries marched as they first sang La Marseillaise; entering a competition for the best singer of the Star-Spangled Banner; and attempting to bribe his way to an audience with the king of Nepal in order to uncover the story behind the only national anthem written on a Casio keyboard.

The book will be available at the shop for £8.99 and Alex will doubtlessly be happy to sign copies for you.

Alex will be joined by the multitalented and charming Rhodri Marsden.
Rhodri is currently in no less than three bands. Scritti PolittiPrescott and everybody’s favourite TV theme tribute band Dream Themes. In 2014 he talked (and played) at The Boring Conference, highlighting the similarities between 198 of the World’s national anthems. It went down a storm. And for one night only Rhodri will be recreating this momentous event right here at the Big Green Bookshop.
This is a FREE event, but please let us know if you plan on coming along, as I have a feeling it will be VERY popular.
Don’t miss it!

Judy Dyble - Book Launch. Friday May 13th.

Friday May 13th – 7.00pm
Launch Party for ‘An Accidental Musician’, Judy Dyble’s Autobiography.
Please join us for Judy’s glorious return to the Bookshop (Judy will be performing too!)
The original female singer for Fairport Convention, Judy left the band after their first album, aged 19 (replaced by Sandy Denny).
Judy's boyfriend at the time, Ian McDonald answered an ad in Melody Maker and joined Giles, Giles and Fripp, the forerunner of King Crimson. Judy joined this band, but left when her relationship with McDonald ended.

She then teamed up with ex-Them singer Jackie McAuley to form Trader Horne, but in 1973, Judy left the music business when she married DJ Simon Stable (Count Simon De La Bedoyere). Simon died in 1994, and apart from the odd appearance at Fairport Convention's Cropredy Festival, Judy didn’t perform again for many years.
 In 2003, she restarted her musical career and produced several albums to great critical acclaim. 2015's 3-CD anthology sold out immediately and was well reviewed in Prog magazine, amongst others.
Judy’s autobiography, written with journalist and author Dave Thompson captures Judy’s extraordinary story perfectly.
Please come along to help celebrate with Judy. As an added bonus she’ll be joined by Alistair Murphy, Jeremy Salmon to (as she put it) “sing a bit” too!
The book will be available on the night and Judy will be very happy to sign copies for you.
This is a FREE event, but judging by her last appearance at the bookshop, it will be VERY busy, so please make sure you get here early. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Taking Crowdfunding to Another Level

Well, blimey. 

As many of you already know, about two weeks ago we were robbed. About £600 was stolen from behind the counter by a sneaky opportunist thief, as Tim was helping someone choose some books.

It was a bit of a sickener. It was a huge sickener. 

Having heard news of the robbery, Sam Jordison, co-director of the brilliant Galley Beggar Press, decided to start a Crowdfunder to see if it would help us get some of the money we'd lost back.

Then something amazing happened. People all over the world started donating money. The original target that Sam set was reached and passed in a matter of hours. And it kept on coming.

As I type this, over £5500 has been raised. And not only that, the messages of support and the wonderful things that so many people have said about the Bookshop have blown us away.

I wrote about my feelings in The Guardian HERE, and Tim and I are still in total shock at the response.

Thank you isn't a big enough word on this occasion. Imagine it typed in a font size of around 48250. It still isn't big enough.

We've been discussing how we can best make use of the money raised, so I thought I'd share some of them with you.
  • We've recently introduced something called The School Reward SchemeEssentially, every book you buy from us, 10% of that money will go to the school or nursery of your choice to spend on books for their library. So, we're going to give 10% of the money that's raised and split it between 5 local schools/nurseries that we feel could really do with it. 
  • It's going to help us pay off some of the big old bills. This one particularly springs to mind. 

  • We've been researching funding options to help finance Big Green Education, our not-for-profit company, which aims to promote the love of reading in schools. This boost will allow us to work more closely with the local schools, hopefully leading to more Patrons of Reading being put in place.                                                                                                                                              
  • Some of the bookcases in the shop are getting a little battered, so we're can hopefully replace these for shiny new ones from Ikea.                                                                                                          
  • We are commissioning a statue of Sam to have in the window of the shop*
There's so much more we can do too. Essentially, this extra money will give us a bit of breathing space, something many small businesses like us very rarely get. You lot have given us this breathing space and it means the world.

We will, of course, be throwing a big "Thank You" party, of which you are all invited.

Meanwhile, if you have  a minute or more free might I suggest you go over to Galley Beggar Press website and have a look at all the amazing stuff they've got over there.

*this isn't true. Sorry Sam.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Wine in Literature. A Tasting Experience with Oddbins

Thursday February 25th - from 7.00pm
Wine in Literature. A Tasting Experience with Oddbins.  
“Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.” – John Keats
Well, we can’t guarantee the serenading of music or the fine weather for that matter but we think John Keats was on to something with the books and wine.
Which is why we’ve teamed up with the lovely people from Oddbins to offer you a series of five very special wine tasting events throughout 2016. Each of these tastings has a relationship with the world of wine. Whether it takes centre stage, sets the scene or aids the course of the story, these books would not be the same without it.
Each of the tastings explores a different theme and you will have the chance to sample some of the most delicious wines from Oddbins’ vast selection.
Run by Angela Cosgrove, from Oddbins, they will be held every two months at the bookshop, on the last Thursday of the month, starting on Thursday February 25th.  They’ll kick off at 7.00pm and each will finish around 8.30pm. There’ll be a chance to purchase extra bottles of the featured wines at discounted prices on the night too!
Tickets for these events are just £12 per person (HERE), per event, but if you‘d like to come along to all five, we can offer you a discounted price of just £50 (HERE).
FEBRUARY’s event is entitled;
‘Setting the Scene’
The settings of these books are characters in themselves and the imagery told conjures the beauty of the wine producing land within which goes hand in hand with the quaffing of the local wines.
This will be followed by;

'Classic Authors’
We know their names but did we get the significance the role of wine (and a little beer...) plays in these novels and short stories.
‘Modern Literature’
Food and Drinks has been part of culture since time began but now it is often found playing a role that shapes who we are and our characteristics. The protagonists in these books have shown how consuming the world of wine can be in their life choices and relationships.
‘Winemakers Memoirs’
These books all reflect the romance and struggle of cultivating vineyards and the labour of love in producing wine, from ‘flying’ winemakers to beginner’s luck the wines and how they make them are told and reflected in those tasted.
‘Wine Mysteries’
 These books all tell the tale of murder, corruption and foul play in the world of wine. From detective winemakers to spilt Claret in the vineyard it seems wine and crime go hand in hand.
Tickets for February’s event are available at just £12 HERE.
If you want to book ALL FIVE tastings you can purchase a ticket for just £50 HERE

Music Quiz with Chris Salewicz

Friday February 26th. From 7.00pm
Join Chris Salewicz for a Very Special “Dead Gods” evening. 
£5 a team - BUY TICKETS HERE
Please join us for a brilliant evening with author, music journalist and all round legend Chris Salewicz as we host a MUSIC QUIZ to coincide with Chris’ new book “Dead Gods”.
Robert Johnson. Brian Jones. Jimi Hendrix. Janis Joplin. Jim Morrison. Kurt Cobain. Amy Winehouse.
 They were inspirational, controversial, talismanic and innovative. They lead lives full of myth, scandal, sex, drugs and some of the most glorious music that has ever heard.
Though each of their lives were cut tragically short at the age of 27, they would all leave the world having changed it irrevocably. Chris Salewicz tells, in intimate detail, the stories behind these compelling figures. From Robert Johnson and his legendary deal with the devil, to Jimi Hendrix appearing like a psychedelic comet on the London scene, through to Amy Winehouse's blazing talent and her savage appetite for self-destruction.
The quiz will focus on each of the artists in the book and throughout the night Chris will be reading and discussing the book. 
Traditional quiz rules apply.
·         Maximum teams of 4 people (you can be a team of one if you like, of course).
·         Teams cost £5 (payment in advance HERE please).
·         Refreshments will be available, but feel free to bring your own.
The book will be available to purchase on the night and Chris will be happy to sign copies and answer any of your questions about these incredible artists.

Saturday, December 19, 2015



  A final reminder about or quiz tonight, with Redemption Brewery beer and Wildes Cheese. 
We've had two teams pull out, so if you want to come along, you still can. 
It's £15 for a team of four (this price includes 4 bottles of beer and a cheese platter courtesy of Wilde's Cheese). 
If you don't think you'll be able to get together a full team, don't worry. You can either join another team, or you can be in a team of 1, 2 or 3. We will charge you £3.75 per team member. 


It starts at 7.30pm and your quiz master is illusive Twitter legend Greg Stekelman (@TheManWhoFell). 

There's also a special 3 for 2 on all books for everyone who turns up tonight!!

All the information about the quiz can be found HERE.

Please call us (020 8881 6767) or email (, if you want to come along.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Civilised Saturday

This year, a number of Bookshops are holding what is being described as "Civilised Saturday", which is being sold as "an antithesis to Black Friday.
Now, I'm all for a bit of civilised behaviour, but as a business, i'd be absolutely delighted if the shop was completely mobbed out with customers all day on Friday, picking up lots and lots of brilliant books.
(artist's impression)

I kind of understand the idea of "Civilised Saturday", which is why we're holding Sausage Saturday (a chance for people to spend lots of money here and also enjoy some lovely food supplied by local businesses), but I think that any opportunity should be taken advantage of.
Sorry if this seems a bit greedy, but as well as being a lovely bookshop that tries to support and celebrate its local area, we are also a shop who wants to be profitable and BUSY.
So maybe, just maybe, we'll be offering a few tasty little bargains on Friday too.
Shoot me (don't shoot me).

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Email Vouchers Available from us.

Email Vouchers
Available at the Big Green Bookshop
 A Big Green Bookshop Email Voucher.
Just get in touch with us, let us know how much you'd like to give and we can send that special someone an Email Voucher. The lucky recipient will get an email from us telling them that you've bought them a voucher to spend at the Big Green Bookshop. They can then choose books and we'll get them and post them (FREE P+P in the UK), whenever they choose to redeem it. 
What a treat, eh? 
Telephone; 020 8881 6767

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Recommend a book for us to stock at Christmas (please) and WIN BIG!!!

You like books, yeah?
Excellent. So do we.

We want the shop to be chockablock with gorgeous books this year and we'd really appreciate it if you could help us to choose some of them please?

We've started displaying a load of fantastic books that we think our customers will love, but we'd like you to help us improve our selection.

Is there a book you'd like to get this Christmas? 
Is there a book you think people should be buying this Christmas?

If so, please get in touch with the title of the book and a very short review (less than 30 words if possible). We'll then use your review to advertise the book in the Bookshop on one of those little recommends cards. You will even be name checked on the card (yes, you will be FAMOUS!).

A bit like this

Email us at
Tweet us at @biggreenbooks

Not only that, but ONE lucky person who sends us a review will win £20 (that's twenty pounds) to spend at the shop! (if you don't live nearby, we'll post your books to you).

We'll be taking suggestions until the end of November.

Ta very much.