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COVENTRY – CORK – POETRY EXCHANGE 2017

A brief review of the CORK leg of this year’s poetry exchange, the COVENTRY events will be taking place 8-9 Nov.

ANDREA MBARUSHIMANA

I needn’t have worried where I was going to get my hugs from. Somehow in the space of 24 hours the people of Cork had already carved a home out for me in words and pebbles and standing stones. What a trip! It’s hard to know where to start…

After meeting Paul at the airport we took a look at the city from on high, a hotel balcony furnished with possibly the world’s greatest chocolate brownies and a panoramic view of the city in summer sunlight. Then we were stabled in the Handlebar B and B and walked, waiting for our Irish debut, funnelled by narrow streets towards the beautiful Cathedral where I found a strange stone that turned out to be a (probably human) bone and slept under a tree in the sun. It was that kind of visit. Full of humanity and history and weight.

 

Cork is a vibrant and fascinating place, the centre of which is surrounded by water in the same way Coventry city centre is surrounded by the ring-road. The centre is collected and being squeezed upwards. But Cork has managed to keep it’s architectural charm and support independent and quirky commerce. It is a shopping mecca, but the values of the place are better demonstrated by the number of places in which to enjoy yourself with friends – eating, drinking, chatting.

Monday night we rocked up early at o Bheal and this gave us time to chat to people as they came in while my nerves gathered. The bar upstairs where we were stationed had the gorgeous, earless bust of a horses head on the bar. Oh, it was just knocked up by someone who used to work here – it’s sister is at the University! Cork is a city of creators. The famous o Bheal five word challenge gave further proof as nearly everyone in the room got up to the mike to read out the poem they’d crafted from a random generation of words in just fifteen minutes. The diversity of subject matter and the quality of the writing was inspirational. Russ’s and my own headline readings were warmly greeted and I settled down to enjoy the open mic-ers who were fantastic. Afterwards everyone tumbled round the corner to a bar that looked more like the apothecary it took over from, till the early hours of the morning. We had fun chatting to al the genuinely lovely, warm people whose work we’d listened to. It was brilliant.

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Next day we met the Mayor of Cork, who’d deputised a cultural attache to the reading last night – a man who’d eloquently expressed his passion for history and culture and his support for the arts. It was interesting to talk with them both about the pressures on culture in the face of austerity. We talked about Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021 and the impact of Cork’s experience as European City of Culture in 2005.

Via stone circles, the beach, skinny dipping and dinner with more new friends, we ended up in in Clonakilty in Western Cork for our final reading, with Coventry feeling very distant in space and time. De Barras club has played host to Bowie, who was invoked by Alexis during her reading. I did my best, reading from my new book from Silhouette Press ‘The Africa in my House’ and responding to interesting and insightful interview questions from Moze. Russ plied everyone with lyrical stories from Coventry and it was great to hear Ciaran and Stan, who we are expecting on the return link of the exchange in Coventry in November. Once again the five word challenge was amazing, as were all the readers. It was mesmerising watching everyone’s performances in such an auspicious venue.

It’ll take me a long time to unpack all the experiences and conversations from this short journey. I began writing two poems during my stay (not counting my five word challenge attempts, which believe me, really don’t count!). There are ribbons of ideas and thoughts about culture, comparisons between our two cities and attitudes to the creative arts which I’ll need some time to follow and unravel. What I can say beyond a doubt is that the whole trip was an absolute pleasure and an honour, that my Facebook friend count has increased exponentially and that I really want to revisit Cork again as soon as possible, to visit more of the sights but mostly to reconnect with the lovely friends we made. Big, heartfelt thanks to everyone involved.

Andrea Mbarushimana is a community worker, artist and writer, Andrea has been published in the London Magazine and Here Comes Everyone, exhibited in the Herbert, Coventry Cathedral Chapel of Unity and on various brick walls and has worked with refugees, minority groups, young people and parents.

Andrea made two short films televised on the Community Channel, one with young migrants and one tackling Islamophobia and she’s a regular spoken word performer at Fire and Dust in Coventry. Her Uncle once described her as ‘a real searcher’, which feels about right.

The Africa In My House by Andrea Mbarushimana

RUSS BERRY

Andrea and I spent a fantastic couple of days in Ireland, performing at O’Bheal’s in Cork on the first night and at De Barra’s in Clonakilty on the second – both of them wonderful venues packed with enthusiastic listeners and supportive fellow poets. Paul Casey greeted us at the airport and instantly made us feel at home in Cork, pointing out sights to see and filling us in on the local history. We were blessed with fine weather, finding time to relax in the Cathedral grounds before enjoying a (vegan friendly) Thai red curry at the Co-op Quay restaurant overlooking the river. I was surprised to find that O’Bheal’s has not one but two in-house artists who sketched us during our performances – and the late night apothecary wine bar around the corner was an unexpected delight!

On the second day we met the Mayor of Cork Tony Fitzgerald and his deputy Kieron McCarthy (a passionate local historian who had attended and read some of his own poetry the previous evening). I thought it might feel a bit strained, but they were both very engaging and genuinely interested in the Twin Cities project. In the afternoon, on the way down to Clon, we stopped off to visit Drombeg earthworks and stone circle before going for a quick swim in the sea.

 

At De Barra’s that night I got to know Ciaran and Stan, two outstanding performance poets who will be visiting Coventry for the ‘return leg’ in November. We were also interviewed following our performance, giving us the opportunity to elaborate on some of the experiences that motivate and shape our writing. We packed a lot into our brief visit and met some charming, warm and very talented people. I feel very lucky to be part of the project.

Russ has been writing poetry for around 4 years, after featuring in the Bradford-on-Avon – Poems on a Beermat Competition in 2014. Russ regularly performs at Coventry’s Fire & Dust open-mic poetry night and at events around the UK. He has published poems in local anthologies and in Writer’s Forum magazine. In 2016 he was Writer-in-Residence for the Concealment and Deception exhibition at Leamington Spa Art Gallery and winner of the Oriel Davies Gallery prize for nature poetry.

BIG Thank you to Paul Casey of O Bheal and the people of Cork  – all of whom are – in their own way – fellow poets!

Entrée Optimism

City Arcadia – launch – Coventry – 31/7/2015

The City Arcadia project has officially announced the first 10 artistic propositions that will become the future,  soon to be appearing across Coventry throughout 2015 and beyond.

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Artists from across the UK have engaged with the City Arcadia project including creators from Coventry, Manchester, London and Kent.

Birmingham artist, Ryan Hughes, kicked-off the event with his Marking the Internet and the Physical. With an unseasonably generous amount of sunlight, the shopping arcade was transformed into a cathedral of light, highlighting the new ruins already sentenced to demolition, currently remade into a meeting/exhibition/dining/exhibition space in its last throes. Ryan’s work featured several (I counted ten…) red translucent perspex geo-coding pointers, similar to plectrums or pizza slices that gracefully orbitted above visitors, warping beams of sunlight and casting red teardrop shadows on the arcade walkway.

City Arcadia Co-curators and Directors, Laura Elliot and Michael Mayhew introduced the launch with a nod towards future opportunities for people to find out more about the forwards/backwards, modernity/progression ethos behind the project. With funding and support from Coventry City Council and Arts Council England, City Arcadia has sparked renewewed external interest  about local arts partners in a scene that was already quietly flourishing, albeit unseen by many outside the city.

The propsitions range from post-zombie-pocalypse-fallout, ripping sound from two-toned ringroad vibrations, lanlocked surfaces reimagined as a fantasy beach, a traditional card-game divining the future and many workshops, performances, and talks.

Find out more about the 10 propositions – coming soon:

At the very least, a city should gift its citizens freedom, threaten them with new possibilities – this is an ongoing tussle in the appropriation and control of public space by local authorities, dividing opinions over construction and planning atrocities carried-out in the name of The People – witness the bland, pedestrianised human highways of fixed furniture and too-green grasses approaching Coventry train station.

City Arcadia is a unique opportunity to exploit Coventry’s existing spaces and striking post-war architecture to snare fresh audiences into art made strikingly accessible and exciting, in a way that static presentations can sometimes remain uninviting – a direct challenge; an intervention, is needed – indeed a few people in transit wandered through the event and took more than a passing glance, on the cusp of asking questions and getting involved  – small steps are required towards greatness.

The most exciting notion of the propositions offered and yet to be fulfilled is the raw potentiality of an initial concept and its becoming; what it will/won’t deliver – and everything that might still change during its creation – City Arcadia is a journey into an unknown optimism for the arts in Coventry.

www.Facebook.com/MichaelLauraCityArcadia

Tweet: @CovArtspace, @thisismayhew, #cityarcadia

For enquiries email: curators@coventry-artspace.co.uk

InZine Fest III – sign-up now!

SATURDAY
12-5pm
21/3/2015
@ The Pod
1A Lamb Street, Coventry, CV1 4AE

www.facebook.com/events/767800773289987/

DOWNLOAD event poster here...
DOWNLOAD event poster here…

A cornucopia of local and international zines, indie books/presses, including poetry, fiction, music, culture, food and art!

FREE to attend. There will also be a table of gratis publications – as well as the chance to browse the best of West-Midlands publishers (and beyond…)

Explore pictures from our last event:

 

As the event continues to evolve, we offer FREE table space for:

-zines
-indie presses
-publishers
-graphic novellists

…and beyond.

SATURDAY
21/3/2015
12-5pm

The Pod
1A Lamb Street
Coventry
CV14AE

Contact

adam.steiner@silhouettepress.co.uk

www.facebook.com/events/767800773289987/

Silhouette Press Equal Opportunities Policy

Silhouette Press’s Statement on Equal Opportunities

 Silhouette Press is committed to implementing and promoting equal opportunities in its activities, services and practice. It realises that discrimination exists in society (whether protected by law or not), and believes that this prevents potential and ability from being realised in young people and others.

Silhouette Press will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of:

  • Race
  • Colour
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation or identity
  • Ethnic or national origin
  • Disability
  • Partnership status or home responsibility
  • HIV or AIDS status
  • Age
  • Political or religious belief
  • Trade union activity
  • Socio-economic background
  • Refugee or asylum seeker status

As a provider of a service to the community, Silhouette Press accepts the responsibility to promote equal opportunities and challenge discrimination wherever it occurs. This document sets out the main consequences of this commitment and the action to be taken in order to achieve equal opportunities.

Silhouette Press recognises that some users of its services may, because of their past or present distress or illness, say or do things which would otherwise be unacceptable and incompatible with Silhouette Press Equal Opportunities Policy. Silhouette Press will do all it can to challenge such behaviour. In cases where intervention is possible a gentle approach will be adopted which aims to alter attitudes and behaviour while maintaining support for the distressed client.

Silhouette Press reserves the right to open its membership to any organisation who supports our aims and objectives. However, it will exclude from membership those organisations that actively work against the development of an equal opportunities policy over time, despite encouragement from Silhouette Press.

Silhouette Press realises that a genuine commitment to equal opportunities must operate on all levels:

 

  • Silhouette Press will prevent unfavourable treatment, directly or indirectly, upon individuals from any group facing discrimination in its recruitment and deployment of human resources. Where discrimination does occur, it will be dealt with through the agreed procedures. This will be achieved by following the Silhouette Press Equal Opportunities Policy.

 

  • Silhouette Press will seek to prevent discrimination and ensure equal representation in the services it provides, the structures that it facilitates and the practice through which it carries out its work. This involves the development of greater diversity in the management committee, networks and membership, to ensure a genuinely wide representation.

 

Responsibility

 1.1.  The committee of Silhouette Press has overall responsibility for the effective operation of this policy. However, all volunteers and service users have a duty as part of their involvement with Silhouette Press to do everything they can to ensure that the policy works in practice. Those responsible for recruiting volunteers to work in Silhouette Press projects are responsible for ensuring that they are aware of Silhouette Press Opportunities Policy and adhere to it while working as Silhouette Press volunteers.

1.2.  Silhouette Press will bring to the attention of all volunteers and service users the existence of this policy, and will provide such training as is necessary to ensure that the policy is effective and that everyone is aware of it.

1.3.  If any service user or volunteer feels that they have been, or are being discriminated against, in any way, they are entitled to pursue the matter with the committee.

 

1.4.  All instances or complaints of discriminatory behaviour will be treated seriously.

1.5.  Complaints or allegations of an unfounded or malicious nature will also be treated as serious.

Disabled Access

 

1.6.  Silhouette Press will endeavour to ensure, as far as is practicable, that all the premises it uses have disabled access. When considering new premises, every effort will be made to ensure such premises are fully accessible.


Use of Language

 1.7.  Volunteers and service users should avoid and challenge the use of language which, in any way, belittles anyone

1.8.  Where the language used has a personal impact on others, and it has been made clear to the person concerned that their use of such language is unwelcome and/or offensive, disciplinary action may be taken if they persist with it.

 

1.9.  All materials used or developed by Silhouette Press will be judged in the light of the promotion of equal opportunities, and those considered to be discriminatory will not be used.

 

Sexual Harassment

 

1.10.      No volunteer or service user should be subject to sexual harassment.

 

1.11.      This is interpreted as unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature including:

  • verbal sexual abuse
  • physical contact
  • repeated remarks which an individual finds offensive

 

1.12.      If it has been made clear to the person concerned that their behaviour is unwelcome and they persist with it, then the service user or volunteer who is the recipient of the behaviour will be entitled to make a formal complaint.

 

 

Monitoring and Review

 

The Policy will be constantly reviewed by the management committee to ensure that no Member of the group is put to a disadvantage either, directly or indirectly. This monitoring will apply to the practices of staff and volunteers, the member organisation, the composition of the Committees and the provision of services.

It is the responsibility of every individual to eliminate discrimination and to ensure the practical application of this Policy.

The board of Silhouette Press will review this policy every 6 months.

Adopted on: 1/7/2014

Review Date: 1/12/2014

Straight out of Coventry…

The HCE team arrived in the more-than charming surroundings of Much Wenlock for the last day of the Wenlock Poetry Festival 2014.

Arriving late morning we descended on a book stand at the Edge Arts Centre and went to meet and greet other writerly-types from across the UK, of course, we are far too anti-gauche to name-drop directly, needless to say it was a pleasure to mingle in such distinguished literary circles!

In search of refreshment, and nourishment of the spoken, chewed and spat-out word, we visited the George pub for the final open-mic of the festival on the theme of nature and place. The event displayed a vibrant mix of the earthy-toned geography of the Shropshire valley landscape and humourous recitals of people in flux and out of time from once familiar places – it was great to see poets from Birmingham, Wigan and Derby share their respective points of view from lands high, low and, like Coventry, flat.

We continued on to other pubs, Talbot, Raven et al and visited the rather brilliant Wenlock Books which has great coffee, a fine typewriter and most importantly a brilliant array of secondhand books as well as a rather charming set of brand new poetry tomes.

 

Monkey read, monkey type (Wenlock Books)
Monkey read, monkey type (Wenlock Books)

On a passing note, much of Much Wenlock, The Talbot pub in particular, suggested a distinctly older poetry crowd, perhaps the reckless youth were hung-over following an excess of rhyme from Friday night into Saturday morning, but nonetheless it was a shame to see the lack of younger poetry-lovers…that being said, we missed the Foyle young poets (13-17 year-olds) reading, so perhaps everyone was there? Regardless, this spurs us on to boost engagement both on the page and in person.

Three Go Mad…in Wenlock

At 4.30pm we came around to the Old Pottery, two poets in tow and the third punctual upon arrival. All three read a poem featured in issues of Here Comes Everyone magazine, as well as other selected works.

L-R: Neil Laurenson, Dwane Reads, Antony Owen
L-R: Neil Laurenson, Dwane Reads, Antony Owen

Neil Laurenson (Worcester) kicked-off the affair with a series of nuanced and understated poems that prick as much at political absurdity as they do at the national pomposity of museums and “public” gardens, with a liberal dose of Karl Marx thrown in.

Dwane Reads (Derby) burnt through a fierce set of his brilliantly orated poetry that is both yelled and cooed (sans audio assistance) with poetry that is forhright on social injustice and tenderly empathetic (and very bloody funny to boot).

Antony Owen (Coventry) worked through three collections of hard-won imagery evoking the Coventry blitz and modern conflicts with an eye and ear towards challenging the myopic racism and social divisions that remain prevalent throughout many parts of the UK.

All three poets were greatly received by a small but keen audience – SP would like to thank Wenlock Poetry Festival for having us, our poets for reading and the loyal listeners who shared the experience with us – we hope to return in 2015!

Adam Steiner, 1/3 of SP/HCE.

 

Write & Eat meets Food Union – The Story So Far…

SP Creative Projects Lead, Adam Steiner, looks back on 5 months of food, fury and creative fun!

The Write & Eat meets Food Union project – a collaboration between The Pod, a Coventry City Council mental health community resource, and Silhouette Press – has now been running for 5 successful months. Following a series of summer creative writing pilots in 2013, we have worked alongside The Pod and an award-winning chef to cook healthy and affordable food that also tastes good and engaging new audiences in creative writing.

Soured cucumber and mango salad (with harissa yoghurt)
Soured cucumber and mango salad (with harissa yoghurt)

How Does It Work?

The set-up is simple: the free sessions are open to everyone and people come to The Pod mid-afternoon, where we utilize the training kitchen space where cook and then eat together in the welcome space of The Pod’s Revive Cafe. Everyone involved works from a series of themed recipes, such as Veggie Blitz, Valentine’s Day and Healthy Ready-Meals (after Jack Monroe) which means that a variety of food is on offer and people are encouraged to work together and pitch-in with other tasks such as washing-up or cleaning down the kitchen area.

Shortly before eating, I run a brief poetry workshop which often yielded interesting work as I encouraged people to work around spur words from the recipes and to think about different aspects of the cooking.

Why Food Union?

The Pod project aims to work with members of the community to build their capacity and resilience in cooking healthy and tasty food on a budget.

Healthy,tasty home-cooked ready-meals!
Healthy, tasty home-cooked ready-meals!

 

 

 

 

The Pod recognised the growing pressure of welfare reform changes upon everyone who is in receipt of benefits as the system gradually changes into the potentially confusing Universal Credit scheme – in particular the impact this is having upon the people they work with who often live with severe or enduring mental ill health. A strong emphasis is placed upon the sustainability of the food, we often work from a budget of £40 of locally-sourced ingredients, the majority of which is bought fresh from Coventry indoor market, and we feed on average 20-30 people (a cost of less than £2 per head).

The project has provided different people different benefits or opportunities: some people wished to expand their cooking skills by producing cost-effective food that they can produce en-masse and store as an alternative to unhealthy and over-priced ready-meals; others simply attend to enjoy a sociable cooking environment or learn more about writing poetry from challenging themes. Food Union is currently evolving to work more closely with local volunteers, universities and the community.

You can browse more of the individual session themes on the Write & Eat project page, here is a quick overview of some of the food and poetry produced so far:

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HCE Survey – The results are in!

We asked YOU – the readers, writers and artists of Here Comes Everyone  – what the magazine needs, what’s it worth and what should it look like in the future?

Please see the results below and let us know what you think and if there’s anything we might’ve missed!

Thank you to everyone who voted in the project!

 Q1.

Stories tipped the balance here as our readers are clearly fond of a solid yarn and quality poetry. It was also heartening for publisher, Silhouette Press and the HCE crew to see that our themes are popular and are inspiring readers and contributors alike! 

The magazine is increasingly receiving excellent submissions of artwork so we expect this figure (0%) to rise if only by the number of featured pieces!

 Q2.

This question begged of you to tell us where and how we’re going wrong (if at all) and where we might improve HCE inside and out. Interestingly, 20% voted for website improvements and after a year and a half we are keen to upgrade www.herecomeseveryone.me.

Other votes err on better production values, such as typos, design and a higher quality printed magazine. This really hits home on other Qs inthe survey, particulalry as so many literary magazines struggle to maintain a print run and exist purely as blog-based websites.

2013  has seen significant growth within the HCE publishing team, as everyone grows in experience and skills, we aim to make the magazine bette with every issue!

 Q3.

On the surface, this may seem like a rather frivilous point of enquiry, but as with many not-for-profits, Silhouette Press and HCE rely upon a diverse range of products to cover our costs, items we see more as (literal) badges of honour and trophies for our competition-winners.

Stationery has raised a few eyebrows, though it is encouraging to see how studious and old-school some of our contributors are! Great to see that our badges remain popular – look out for new designs very soon!

There also appear to be numerous caffeine addicts amongst you requiring chic beverage receptacles, as ever, we find ourselves in good company!

Please remember, you can order bespoke coloured SP and HCE T-shirts from our online shop!

Q4.

This was interesting. We made a general point of uniting our readers and contributors, as the two are often bound together by themes – what’s the point in writing stories that no-one wants to read?!

The HCE team have previously opened up submission themes to votes. A few issues ago, both Blood and Water charted highly, here, not at all – perhaps people seek more concrete topics?

Regardless, people seem sick of War, the City and Gender appears done and dusted. Contra this, people remain be intruiged by Political comings and goings (scandal), Death (it lingers), the very open-ended notion of Transformation (thanks to Ben Nightingale for this one) and increasingly time has played upon people’s minds – be assured, these votes are duly noted so expect to see these themes appearing in one form or another in due course before the end of the world providing we are not hauled before Parliament .

Q5.

This is always a thorny issue for low print-run, high cost, top quality art zines. How much is art worth, why should people fund it and who wants to read it?! HCE magazine currently retails for around £5, we believe this is reasonable, relative to the quality of contributions we recieve, the willing desire of SP to provide an alternative forum to the literary status quo and the fact that many of our contributors and readers are fervently loyal and ever-supportive (which you cannot really put a price upon).

However, in the interests of growing egality, there is a clear desire for HCE to be priced within the £3-4 bracket. This is great in terms of presenting us with a challenge to sell more copies, engage new audiences and promote our contributors as much as we can – a target comes into view.

If you have any queries or additional comments to the results of our survey – you can email adam.steiner@silhouettepress.co.uk or the HCE Editor, gary@herecomeseveryone.me.

ONWARDS!

Write & Eat meets Food Union – Sugar & Spice!

Write & Eat is an ongoing Silhouette Press project that invites authors and other creative types to chat, craft and chow-down at The POD’s Revive Café in Coventry.

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Two satisfied chefs!

The project is constantly evolving and after hosting a successful Pecha Kucha 20×20 event of quickfire presentations on food banks, global poverty and cheese in 2013, January’s Write & Eat was all about Sugar and Spice.

another happy citizen - getting stuck in!
another happy citizen – getting stuck in!

Several citizens joined an award-winning chef to create a variety of dishes from rocky road to spicy Moroccan chicken and were able to feed a number of café visitors. The poetry workshop focussed upon taking inspiration from the ingredients and spices used in cooking as a launchpad for poetic ideas, from climbing for mangos, a child’s first taste of pepper to a heart of Jerusalem artichoke meeting Carol Ann Duffy’s infamous onion.

Spicy lentil salad
Spicy lentil salad

Write & Eat meets Food Union is a free event that is open to everyone to attend and get involved with cooking a variety of dishes and/or writing about different aspects of food on the monthly theme.

Soured cucumber and mango salad (with harissa yoghurt)
Soured cucumber and mango salad (with harissa yoghurt)

The next Write & Eat sessions will be held on 12/2/2014 (Red Winter) and 14/2/2014 (as part of Love Arts and Creativity Event) at the usual times of 2pm to start cooking, a poetry workshop at 4.30pm and finishing at 6.30pm.

Write & Eat is supported by Coventry City Council in cooperation with The Peapod Collective and The POD.

The POD, CV1 4AE
The POD, CV1 4AE
The Peapod Collective
The Peapod Collective

 

Working In a Bookshop – day one

I often wondered what it would be like to work in a bookshop and on Monday, I did just that, heading the Here Comes Everyone takeover of fellow non-profit, The Tree House Bookshop of Kenilworth, WM.

George Orwell’s scathing critique of the trade, Bookshop Memories, had already prepared me for the worst: self-loathing, endless sitting and an inveitable hatred of the perfect-bound bundles of paper you are there to sell, but thankfully, only some of what he wrote holds true.

The Tree House Bookshop is a great big goldfish bowl of a place, with an entire wall of glass decorated with the Treehouse’s ace logo stencil and numerous community event posters, there’s even a pitch-perfect breakdown of the bookshop’s running costs, encouraging the natives to pitch in with donations fiscal or physical (all furniture and items in the shop are gratefully-recived gifts) or to volunteer their time to help keep the place running through the week. The shop has a strong community focus with lots of events going on and a micro-gallery upstairs.

The galss fascia makes the shop perfect for people-watching and ideal for wandering townsfolk to look in, blink at the warm, welcoming environment and then move on. The weather was a terrible but the location of the shop, next to a major car park in the town, made for consistent footfall and lots of people showed an interest, but never made it to the door.

All too often I traced the footsteps of the idle rubes, willing them to enter and at least say hello or browse through some pages – a busy shop is a happy one – as I sat there wretched in my herringbone cloak gripping an Introduction to Modernism. It doesn’t take long for the place to become a little lonely and I could see what Orwell meant about growing sick of the sight and smell of books in their rows of wooden graves all housing dead conversations. Entombed as I was by seemingly unsellable words and a relatively indfferent populace, I was a more than eager ear for the visitation of one Peter Pots, who runs a local interest website, Ken On the Web (midwarks.info).

It being Armistice Day, our conversation inevitably moved to the Second World War. Peter himself is from Prague originally and was evacuated to England in 1938 as political pressure intensified around Germany and Austria. As part of the local history society, he told me about the former Globe Hotel, which had been sited just across from the Treehouse on Abbey End.

Shortly after an intake of evacuees who were bombed out of their homes on 14/11/1940 in nearby Coventry, the Globe was hit a few days later on 21/11/1940 by a spare bomb off-loaded from a passing German bomber, it was a direct hit destroying half of the Globe Hotel.

A few sales later, my day was done amd the bookshop was kept open for another day. Would I go back? Certainly, bookshops need both sellers and buyers (readers) and there are plans afoot for another HCE takeover in the near future – I hope to see you there, I will do my best to smile.

The Tree House Bookshop

A non-profit secondhand bookshop and community hub in Kenilworth.
Blog: www.treehousesecondhandbooks.wordpress.com
Website: www.treehousebookshop.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TreeHouseBookshop?hc_location=stream
Twitter: @TreeHouseBkshop

Find out more about the “bombing” of Kenilworth, here:

http://victorian.reuna.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18&Itemid=41