Friday, July 31, 2009

Think of the title first, did we?

They tried to get Andrew Sachs to do this first, but Russell Brand went and ruined it for him.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Booker Prize

A rare glimpse of the judging panel of this years Booker Prize, sponsored by PG Tips

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Horrid Henry Face Making Competition

We held a competition to find the best face puller in Wood Green at our Horrid Henry afternoon.
Here are the 7 finalists.

Gurny Fartbringer

Cowbell Grumpfacer

Grugnut Plopcheeks

Felicia Terrormumps

Crablot Poopington

Flora Clodhopper

Pooface Pimplenose

Now, it's up to you to decide who's got the ugliest mug in Wood Green . We've got a vote up on the blog, and the winner will recieve prizes worth at least £12.50. The more voters the better, so please take a moment to look at these terrifying hideous creatures and vote for your most monstrous.


Today we had a visit from that naughty little fellow, Horrid Henry. He was a right handful, but we told him before he came that he had to behave himself. The day started at 1.00pm and Henry came along and said hello to all the boys and girls who'd turned up. It was a very hot day, and Henry was beginning to get a bit tired after 45 minutes, so we said he should go home to his mum and dads for a little lie down. About 15 minutes later a few more Henry fans had turned up and were a bit disappointed that Henry had gone home. Especially as we'd suggested that the fun would last until 4.00pm. I must add at this point we also had a yucky dip, and also a competition which we'll get to later.
At this point we realised that we couldn't let Henry's fans go away without meeting their favourite hooligan, so I phoned his mum and she said he'd be back in 20 minutes.
Coincidentally, I had to leave the shop at about the same time as Henry returned, and apparently when he came back he was feeling a bit naughty. He mucked up all our displays, he threw our bookmarks on the floor and he was a right tearaway. And about 5 inches taller?
Here are a few photos from his visit.

New best friends

You're not so Horrid Henry.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Our shop is rarely busy enough to need 3 people working there at once. Perhaps this Saturday will be one of those days
However, having said that, Tim and I are spending more and more time away from the shop. Be it visiting schools with authors, meeting publishers to try and organise new initiatives, sorting our accounts out, marketing, piddling about with the website, talking to different organisations about what we can do for them, delivering books on our bicycles or flyering 1000 homes (like I did today). Whatever it is we're doing, it means that we're getting to the point where, despite each of us working around 50 hours a week, we were having to turn stuff down. All this non shop stuff's vital if we're going to thrive and survive, so we had to do something about it.
And this is what we did.This is Mark. He's a bookseller at the Big Green Bookshop. He works on Wednesdays and Thursdays (although this is very flexible) and understands exactly what real bookselling is all about. He's reads lots and lots of stuff and is passionate about reading (not the place in Berkshire), gets excited about new books that turn up and is able to translate this excitement and passion into noises from his mouth at customers (recommendations). He's fluent in bookspeak, having worked in bookland for a number of years, and is able to put up with Tim and I for almost 73 minutes at a time. He is the defenition of the word 'asset'. Or something like that.

We took on Mark, not because we're making millions of pounds and thought we could do with a breather, but because we couldn't really afford not to. It gives us a chance to do all the stuff we need to do outside of the bookshop to enable the good ship Big Green' to keep bob bob bobbing along.

I realise I haven't used the word goat in this blog, but sometimes it's not possible.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Le Tour, Le Golf,

I've not mentioned sport on the blog for a while, so please allow me to indulge myself for a moment.

The Tour De France has been going for a couple of weeks now, and today (stage 15) is the stage that I predict that things are going to get very interesting. Big mountains men that the really strong riders will start to assert themselves.
I love that Lance Armstrong is back in the Tour, but I still reckon Carlos Sastre, my winning prediction last year, is going to do something amazing. Contador is the big favourite, and he showed he has the beating of Lance, but at 50/1 Sastre is well worth a pop.

The Open Golf is on too, and Tom Watson, at 59 years old, is leading he tournament going into the final round. It would be incredible if he won, but I suspect that Retief Goosen will do the business.

And apparently we now know how to play cricket as well. Can we snatch a draw from the jaws of victory. I wouldn't be at all surprised.

That's all the sports new, now back to the studio.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Not Trumps

I had this idea once of combining Top Trumps, authors and boxing commentary. This is the result.

She's short, bit nippy, and pound for pound she's going to be a tough opponent. But what's next for this class act? Whatever it is, you don't want to mess with 'The Great from Yate'.

. He's a big man, but he's out of shape. A Victorian heavyweight, who knocked 'em out at an alarming weight. He could do with a bit of TV to get him back up with the big guns. LARGE!

Local boy, done good. He's a wiry, tough individual who's on the up. This post Will Self destruct in 5 seconds.

What can we say about this boy that hasn't already been said. He's tasty. He done his time in the trenches, and he's quicker than he looks.

A powerhouse, and that's a fact. Is he just a one hit wonder though. The lads got class, i'll give him that. Collossal.

No relation of Linford, she lacks real pace. She's been around the block though, with over 80 memorable knockouts. She hasn't lost her Marples yet, either.

You can't dismiss him, he's got the minerals. The TV work's been kind to him, and he's still a big draw. Got to be respected.

This boy, he's got it all. He's rangy, light on his feet...they even named a day after him. He's sure to go down as one the Greatest.But will it be Dahlly, Champion of the World?

It's a shocker he's not more famous, and his loyal fans would be up in arms, but when push comes to shove, are his best days behind him now. Prove me wrong big guy!

A lad who likes to keep his head down. Big in the 80s, but has he got the razzle-dazzle to pull the crowds in now? A crackin' left hook. TASTY!

The big man's here and he's going nowhere. A giant, a legend, he's who the crowd have been waiting for. He rarely disappoints (Titus Andronicus was his only defeat), and only a tight codpiece might slow him down.

Give him his due, this may be a step up in class for the lad, but he more can more than hold his own. He's got pace and always gives a top notch performance. IMMENSE

Stocky, bullet headed Pratchett is fearsome. He'll take no prisoners this one. Lost a bit of pace recently, but you don't want to mess.

A big man in his day. Now look at the fella. He's nippy, a trait he picked up inside. A monkey says he'll keep bouncing back though. TASTELESS!

Ernie knows the score. He's a heavy hitter who favours the right. Liable to shoot his mouth off. Likes a tipple.

The Baker Street Baptist can face up to anyone on his day. He's no mug, and when he's on song, he'll take you apart. Tasty left.

the self proclaimed 'greatest', Ellroy knows a thing or two about the business. He's been around for a while, and still draws the crowds. A big, powerful man monster.

He's huge, he's a monster, he's immense. Thing is, will he be next year. It's early days for the glamourboy Brown, so let's just sit it out and watch from the stands.

pump up the volume, 'cos here he comes, like a sledgehammer to the cranium. Claims he's a Quiet American, but don't believe a word of it. Who can stand in the way of the Power and The Glory that is the Jolly Greene Giant.

Leo the lion. A beard the like you've never seen, this is a big old bear and he's taking no prisoners. He writes like he fights, BIG TIME.

well hello, little lady. This crackerjack never lets you down. Her rabbit punch is legendary, and although she lacks a bit of pace, if you corner her she won't go down without a fight. TIGGYWINKLE!
You can now print this post out, cut out the cards and have a lovely game yourself.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Work Experience

Hi. My name is Jess Allen, I'm 15, I go to Alexandra Park School and for the past two weeks I have been doing my work experience at the Big Green Bookshop. I have helped with ordering books, Packing books, writing reviews about books and now writing on the blog. I also restocked the shop with milk. Over the two weeks I have met publishers and even the occasional author. The point of work experience is to see a glimpse of the real world, learn about the working environment, gain new skills and the best one as I see it, to get out of school two weeks before everyone else.
It has been really good. I've learnt everything I'd hoped to add a few extras.
Simon, Tim and Mark have all helped me get to grips with working in a shop and they have all been(in Simon's favourite word)lovely. If you've visited the shop recently then you may have seen me around. Perhaps the most interesting thing for me has been the choices in books. Biggest sellers, rarer buys and then the usual customers who are interested in particular genres. I couldn't tell you why I find it interesting. Honestly don't know but I've learnt a lot which is the main point.
Overall, work experience has been a great experience.
I hope you enjoy this blog,
I know I haven't provided the usual wit and humour you are used to with Simon's but I've done my best.
Thank you and I will return to the bookshop in the near future to buy books.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Oi, Gardners or Bertrams

Isbn 9781848761513.
Please get some more of this book. You haven't had any for ages, and people keep asking for it. You know it makes sense.
Can I hasten to add we don't get all our books from these two goliaths of the booktrade. But this has been a real big hit (and probably would be in other shops if it was more widely available), and having it in stock at Berties and Gardners would allow us to get it a lot easier and quicker.
Is the blog mightier than the teleorder? We shall see...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Some Nice Press for Us (because no-one else is going to tell you about it are they?

Last weekend we had a visit from RachelH from Londonist, a brilliant website that celebrates good things about London and lists events and stuff.

The upshot was this lovely article about us. That made us rather happy.She also took some rather flattering photos (of the shop), too.

Then we opened Time Out London for Children,
Available on our website here.
On page 259 we found this
(that Crow place is well worth a visit if you're in Crystal Palace too).

Then a couple of pages later, this.
A whole page of photos from our shop!
That's me up the top reading a peekaboo book to Freya. Harry (Tim's most active son) is browsing our well stocked shelves in another photo, and there are a couple of other shots of the glorious Big Green Bookshop too. A whole page!


I've been adding a few more events onto our new website, and i've also put some links up on the top right of the blog for easy access.

There's so much news at the moment, so i'll try and keep you up to date over the next couple of weeks, but I think i'll be playing catch up for a little while, so bear with me.

By the way, if you want to write a (pleasant) comment on the Londonist site about us, then feel free. It keeps us on the front page if you do..

Saturday, July 04, 2009

That was the Week that was.

Has it really been a week? Good heavens.
OK. To sum up.
Monday, was my day with Freya and we had a right old laugh in Alexandra ParkShe likes a peach.

She also likes a swing.

Tuesday was my brother's birthday. His name is Justin.
This is my brother...this was a disastrous blind date he went on once. I think he's putting on a very brave face.
I love my brother very much, and hope that this public declaration of affection will allow me another week to get a really nice present for him.
Wednesday was the launch of Rosie Furber's new book The Most Intimate Place.
The book launch was in Blackheath Library, which, for those of you who know London will realise, is a long long way from Wood Green. Especially if you don't travel by tube (long story, panic attack/unnatural/zombies). So I hopped onto my bicycle for the long journey south. I think it was supposed to be 13 miles there, and I guess having got lost 3 times on the way it was closer to 16. So it's ironic, after spending that long in the saddle, that it was my 'most intimate place' that was very relieved to have gotten there.
The launch was huge and the library was jammed with well wishers. Rosie is one of our most fantastic supporters and, aswell as playing the fanfare on her trumpet on our opening day, has been to lots of our events and has always answered the call if we needed her.
Here's Rosie (in red) with her husband James on the left and some of her friends.
I can't wait to get stuck into the book. Crime and sauce...what a combination!
Thursday and we welcomes Jayne Joso and Mez Packer to the shop to read from their new books.
I was really looking forward to this evening, as both the books really appealed to me. And those of us who turned up weren't let down at all. Mez and Jayne were both superb and their readings enticed pretty much everyone in the audience into buying copies of their books. You too can buy these books by clicking here for Jayne's, and here for Mez's.
Friday was my day of working from home, and I finalised our Summer Extravaganza for kids at the shopClick on the picture and i'm sure it'll get bigger.
I also added another event to our growing list on the website.
1. Greg Stekelman, TheManWhoFellAsleep is coming to the shop on August 12th

I'm adding another 5 events over the next week, so it's worth checking back to see all the groovy stuff that's going on.

Saturday and I was at the shop by myself as Tim's youngest, fastest son Harry was celebrating his birthday. Tim, Harry and a gang of Harry's mates were donning 3D glasses to go and watch a thing at the cinema that required these kind of things. It was fairly uneventful in the shop as the Hornsey Carnival (local popular thing) was happening today, but nevertheless we did OK.
So this evening I was sitting on the balcony type thing at the back of our house with Katie, and I was savouring a lovely big old bottle of beer. The night was drawing in as I poured the last of it into my glass and I reflected on how particularly frothy it was. As it was late, we decided to go inside, and as I picked up my now almost empty glass and headed into the kitchen I noticed the reason the beer had been particularly frothy. It was the slug that had crawled into the glass at some point earlier in the evening.
You should try it.

So that was the week that was.