Sunday, May 31, 2009


Our monthly Kids Reading Group meets on the last Sunday of each month, and as this was as last as you could get, to day was the day. We were there to discuss Un-Lun-Dun by China (in my hand) Mieville, a book demcratically chosen last month by the ambitious youngsters. At 528 pages it was a bold move, perhaps a bit too bold, because a few of the group didn't read it!
Those who did, however, thought it was brilliant, and they loved the negative hero aspect of it and also the crazy imagination of this rather good author (and the female lead character).

Today was also the birthday (well almost) of one of the regular members of the book group called Finn. We'd planned a bit of a surprise for him, because one of his favourite books is Tim, Defender of the Earth, by soon to be legendary Sam Enthoven.
Last year Finn wrote a review of the book for us to stick up in the shop. It just so happened that Sam came in one day and saw the review, he loved it and asked if he could use it for the paperback edition of his book. Finn was mighty proud and was very happy for this to happen.
So the sensible sized paperback is now out with Finn's quote on the back of the book. If you want to know what Finn said it was.

'If you don't like books with action-packed chapters with big scary monsters wrecking national monuments and giant cockroaches killing people, you will not like this book. I loved it..'

It's there on the back of the book, and also Sam writes on his website, that it's his favourite review.
So , enough pre-amble..we recently had a chat with Sam and thought it would be great to say thanks to Finn in some way for what he wrote. So this morning at the end of the Book Group meeting a smiling face peered through the window.

'who's that man with the snakeskin hat?' said one of the group.

When Finn saw Sam it was brilliant. He was so surprised and it was just how we'd hoped. He was presented with US Editions of both Sam's books, which Sam had signed (he told Finn he hadn't put a dedication in them in case Finn wanted to flog them!), and he stuck around for the group to ask lots of questions.
It's things like this that make me love what I do.
Go community bookshops, go!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Last Chance at the Crap Betting Saloon

The last day of the 'betting challenge' is Saturday, and I have one more chance to produce a miracle.

I'm £8Oish down after a series of desparate bets to catch up with the man who clearly never loses Scott Pack. It all started to go wrong after he produced a run of wins in November and pulled about £40 ahead. As gamblers know, you should never chase a win, but this competition encourages this. So I did. And really really badly.

So I'm pretty much stuffed....unless I pull the big one out on FA Cup Final day. In order for me to win (and this is highly unlikely) I need to find a winning bet of 80/1 or more and Scott needs to lose his final bet.

My initial thoughts are to go for a big big Everton win, but seeing as they can't score ore than 2 goals in a game, I wonder whether something else might be more suitable.

I'm not going to be able to place my bet on the blog tomorrow, because I'll be joining the legendary John Hegley
for a performance of his poetry etc. at rhe Haringey independence day, so my betting decision will have to be made now.....
OK Paddy Power have Everton to beat Chelsea 3-1 at 80-1. They also have Nicolas Anelka at 80-1 to score a hat-trick.
I think that the 'birdman' has my bet. It's so unlikely, but so is life.

Wish me luck

Monday, May 25, 2009

Back Home (England 1970)

Well, after a lovely holiday away from the world and all that rubbish, we're back in the Green that calls itself Wood.
Here's a few of the dreamy highlights from our time living in a tent shaped like a Dunce hat.

Inside the Tipi. It looks lovely don't it? It isn't always so lovely when it's pissing down with rain and the wind is blowing all the smoke from the wood burning stove back into the tent, but overall I give the tipi 7 forked tongues out of 10.
Ducks and Chickens squeezed out eggs for us, and kept Freya amused with their inevitable clucking and quacking.
The Eden Project. God did one of those once, but Adam and Eve screwed it up. Maybe they'll think twice this time, because it's a wonderful and inspiring place to visit.

Freya, eating food. 1. Homous on toast in Fowey (a really lovely cafe called Pinky Murphy's Cafe) and 2. Banana in the Glendurgan Gardens

They had a maze, and as is de rigeur for such occasions, we took the obligatory photo.
'Oh no, which way do I go now?....'

They also had exotic plants, which (once again) gave us more opportunities to perform the stereotypical shot. Bellamy/Attenborough/Tool.

Here's a couple of photo's for my Mum, who we visited in Bristol on the way back to the Green.Wild Goose Cottage in Goosham. We spent many happy times in this cottage when I was growing up, and it looks just the same.
My lovely Mum with my lovely daughter.

So, what have I missed since going away. We had no electricity, so no TV, radio, internet, to keep us up to date with all the important issues that are going on. I have heard a few snippets which I need confirming though.

1. Someone got through to the final of Britain's Got Talent by giving birth to sextuplets in 5 minutes.
2. Eminem won the Eurovision Song Contest with his version of 'Tamil Tiger Feet'
3. Peter Andre and Katie Price, the Tory backbench husband and wife team have been named as the source of swine flu.
4. Silvio Berlusconi won the Monaco Grand Prix, and don't let anyone tell you different.
5. Jonathan Ross is no longer alive on Radio 2
6. Status Quo are playing Galstonbury (i can't believe this one!!)
7. Michael Jackson is the latest casualty in the Apprentice. His rendition of 'Ben' was described by Sir Alan as 'bloody awful' and he said 'you, my son, should pull your bloody socks up'.
8. After a huge mix up, the percussion based crime novel 'The Lost Cymbal' by Den Brown is number one in the bestsellers. Den tells us all to look out for his new cannibal themed blockbuster about a tribe's search for Lenny Henry's wife,'Baking Dawn'.

Normal service will be resumed soon.

Friday, May 15, 2009


We're about to head off for a week in Cornwall. Katie, Freya and I shall be staying here..
This is a Tipi in Mill Valley in Wadebridge, and we'll be here for a week. Look what it's like on the inside..
It's a big old tipi, ain't it. Let's hope the weather's nice.
Being in a tipi means I shall be sans electricity for a week. Off Grid. No access to the world wide web, no way to find out if the e-reader has been successfully implanted into someone's brain, or whether Waterstoats are abandoning the Hub in favour of a very affordable and reliable chap with a shed in Norfolk to look after the stock. If, in the next week, the espresso book machine turns into a Hal like computer, and refuses to print poorly constructed poetry or heartfelt autobiographies ('i'm afraid I can't do that') I'll not know a thing about it.
Never mind...
In order to give myself a chance of winning this betting challenge, i've put down a bet for each day next week that I can find one. I'll be interested to see if any of them come in.

So next Sunday, we'll be back and firing on all cylinders, particularly this one

Please do't let my absence stop you from;

a. Visiting the shop
b. Commenting on the blog
c. Commenting on the shop
d. Visiting the blog
e. Going out
f. Aspiring to greater things
g. Despising Jeremy Clarkson
h. Eating Cheese
i. Fighting crime
j. Humming to yourself as you walk down the street
k. Living the life of riley
l. Adding me on Twitter
m. Buying a ticket for the Will Self event
n. Smiling at strangers
o. Considering your self at home
p. Considering yourself one of the family
q. Drinking water out of the tap
r. recycling
s. looking both ways before you cross the road
t. baking a cake
u. sending that birthday card that you have to
w. finishing that chapter
x. introducing the word 'peachy' into your vocabulary
y. tying up your shoelaces
z. telling the whole world about the wonders of The Big Green Bookshop in cosmopolitan Wood Green.


An Event

Friday, May 08, 2009

A Week of Horror

Monday; May Day. A day in the Pagan Year called Beltane, meaning 'day of fire'. Maypole dancing and wicker men all over the country.
As Lord Summerisle sang 'Summer is icumen in, loudly sing cuckoo. Grows the seed and blows the mead, and springs the wood anew. Sing, cuckoo! Ewe bleats harshly after lamb, cows after calves make moo.'

Here's a fine example of a Wicker Man

Anyway, as a family of pagans, off we went to sacrifice a goat and dance around the maypole. Naturally Highgate village is the centre of this kind of activity in North London, and we caught the bus to Waterlow Park in order to join in. Well 50% ain't bad and so we got to enjoy the Maypole dancing.

We looked everywhere for a wicker man, but this is the closest we found. We got asked to leave when we set fire to it and a got a goat out of my backback. I've no idea why.

Wednesday. Two days after Mayday. A day in the Pagan Year called Cavledar, meaning the 'Day of Horrors'. Vile and terrifying stories being told regaled across the land. The Big Green Bookshop boasted some of the finest of that horror as 3 exciting, talented and chilling writers came to the shop to entertain us.
Joseph D'Lacey, author of the magnificent Meat, and his newly published disturbing beast of a book Garbage Man (to be reviewed very soon), Bill Hussey, author of Through a Glass Darkly, and his newly published atmospheric masterpiece The Absence (to be reviewed very soon), and Mathew F Riley, winner of the British Fantasy Society's Short Story 2008 competition, and fellow West Country boy.
They each read extracts of stories and answered far too many questions than they had to. from L-R. Lee Casey (who designed the wonderful Limited Edition chapbook that was available to all those who turned up), Joseph, Mathew and Bill.
It was a brilliant night and both books have been flying out of the door since we got them (it's the devil's work I tell you).

No more horror since then, except our business rates bill...

Friday, May 01, 2009

Now what shall I write about today....

Let's have a look and see if there is anything interesting happening in the booktrade...
Carol Ann Duffy is going to be the new poet laureate. Mmm
Dan Brown's new book...nope

Oh hang on a minute, what's this...
The new Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is now out and available at TBGB
Yes, number 2 has hit the shelves.
Of course, as you know Bobobo is a man who can read other people's hair, as well as use his own hair to fight evil ne'er do wells (master of the Fist of the Nose Hair). Extreme tongue in cheek manga is the way forward, and this series (for now there is a volume 2, becomes a series) is going to be brilliant.

Anything else going on?
No, I think that's the most surprising bit of book trade news today. I wasn't expecting this out for a few more weeks.
If I've missed anything unexpected and surprising that no one was expecting please let me know.

Anyway, With less that 30 days to the end of the embarrassment that is the Betting Challenge, I already owe Scott Pack one Toblerone, which should have got to him after Christmas (but not this long after Christmas). So, as i'm £60+ behind at the moment, this month my bets will all be on stuff with odds of 50/1 or more. As the Alarm sang...
It will be glorious alright!

The asparagus season is upon us, so pasta and asparagus for tea tonight. Yum