Sunday, September 14, 2008

Catch Up

Sorry for a gap in proceedings, it's been a little busy in Simonworld, but here's a catch up of what's been occuring

This will be the first week in about 9 that we haven't had an event in the shop. We're averaging about 2-3 a week at the moment, so it's nice to have a week where we can chill out a bit in the evenings. Last week we had the fantastic Andrew Clover in to do some of the stuff from his Dad Rules one man show. He's been at the Edinburgh Festival with it, so it was a reet treet for the select group who turned up. Andrew is a very funny and entertaining fellow, and I hope he'll come back to the shop again.
We've also had our monthly poetry event. Now poets are a funny old bunch. When we opened the shop we didn't have a poetry section. We decided that we'd incorporate it into fiction (and plays), as we thought that those customers who always made a beeline for fiction might be introduced to poetry, an area of the shop that historically always struggles to make a profit.
It took about 26 minutes before our first outraged local poet demanded to know where the poetry section was. He wasn't best pleased, and after about 3 weeks of constant barracking from the seemingly neverending North London poetry societies, we relented, and introduced a poetry section. We also decided that we'd support these societies by providing them with a venue to perform.
This started well enough and our first couple of events were well attended. However, since then the individual poetry societies tend to only come along and listening to their own poets. Despite all the poets having an agenda of the events in the shop, they seem rarely to turn up unless they're performing. I thought poets would be a bit more adventurous than this. I also thought they might support the shop a bit more than they do as we stock all their books and we're offering them a pretty good venue to listen to something they so vehemently claimed we had to support (not to mention the free wine). We'll just have to see how well the next couple go...

Two of our better selling books in the shop are books that aren't being published any more (they're being suppied to us via the author). These books are selling through word of mouth, and also because they're very very good books.
One of them has been chosen by our children's Reading Group as this month's book choice. This group meets once a month, and after discussing the previous choice, the kids like to pile into the children's section and find a book that they then try and persuade the rest of the group to read for next time.
We've had Toonhead by Fiona Dunbar, which they loved. We've had Tunnels, which got a mixed review, Imperial Spy by Mark Robson and the groups favourite so far The Riddle of the Poisoned Monk by Sarah Matthias.
Anyway, going back to my point this month's choice is What You See is What You Get by Rosemary Furber. One of the group read this a couple of months ago. It's got skateboards in, science, ghosts, geeks and annoying sisters. But most of all it's a well written, scary exciting pageturner. I hope that Wolfhound republishes it, or else some forward thinking publisher takes it on (if that's how things work). Anyway, we're selling it at £1 off, so if you want to read it we'll post it to you for a quid, so you can sort of get it for the price of the book I guess. Here's the number 020 8881 6767, as if you didn't know it. Or you can just pay using the paypal button, and type in WYSIWYG in the notes box (It's a fiver to you guv)

The second book you'll have to wait a bit for, as i'm going to be doing an interview with the author soon, so hang on in there.

It was my beautiful girlfriend Katie's birthday today, and I had a day off. We went off to the farmers market in Alexandra park, and then for a a little walk with Freya, .

Little Freya's taking after her daddy a bit.....

WE're having a lazy afternoon, and we have a lovely chicken pie for tea tonight, so I might even be able to manage that myself. Happy birthday Katie. x


Rackstraw Press said...

Could you blog the events?

Also: why not try inviting each Poetry society to send *one* poet to each event, so that each event is a combination.

Simon Key said...

Hello Rackstraw Press,
thanks for the suggestions.
I have listed all our recent events on the blog, but I should try and make it a bit clearer. I'll work on this.
The poetry events each take different forms. Some are publishers promoting their own poets, some are poetry societies. One of our more succesful evenings was a Cornish Poetry event! So although we couldn't adopt your idea for every event, it may be worth trying every 3 months or so. It's worth a shot.

adam said...

We stopped doing our monthly poetry nights in November last year after 18 months. 'Nuff said. A tip: Avoid the ones that have Arts Council funding.
That said, hope it works out for you...

San said...

We had the same problem at C's. There was even one poet who did draw an audience, but he always turned up half an hour late, drank most of the (free) wine before and during his performance, left green glitter all over the place and completely ignored the manager, staff and even Mr C himself (who was only there because the poet had asked us to specifically invite him).
No 'thanks', no 'goodbye', nothing. He did send us emails before and after the event telling us how much he loved our shop and how wonderful we all were and could we please reserve a date for his next performance. Ummm... no.

That said, the events for Tall-Lighthouse were always a joy. They did their part in promoting the event and were always very nice and helpful.

Candy Gourlay said...

baby looking really fine.

hey, you're doing great stuff!

CPMatthew said...

Hi Simon - poets!

The trouble with most poets is their unrecognised genius.

I used to be a poet. When I stopped thinking I was a genius I gave it up.