Posts Tagged ‘glasgow west end’

A last minute reminder that we have Caro Ramsay coming to read from her work tomorrow night at 7.30 in the bookshop. Caro stock is ever-rising as a crime author and she’s an interesting speaker. The event is in aid of Oxfam’s ‘Bit of a Do’ campaign around International Women’s Day (see previous posts for links). Tickets can be purchased at the shop for £3 and they’ll also be available on the night.

Then – date confirmed- next Wednesday, also at 7.30pm, we have Pat McIntosh (again, see previous post for more info). As with Caro, tickets will be £3 and available from us at the shop.


Finally today, I want to remind that our Vintage Childrens Book promotion is in full swing, and doing very well. Stock is starting to get limited now so please come and check out what we have sooner rather than later.

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In an instant, the city transforms. Or at least that how it seems. Byres Road can be quiet at 9.15am in the summer months. You remember that a huge percentage of the west end population is away. And suddenly – whoosh – one morning you’re opening up and throngs of students are everywhere. Time to get the window filled with textbooks….

This year the three Byres Road shops are issuing 10% discount vouchers. Yesterday we handed around 800 out on University Avenue for Glasgow Uni Fresher’s Fair. Strathclyde and Caledonian fairs are next week. The next two/three weeks usually see a spike in our takings with students looking to save money on their reading list outlays, so fingers crossed this year will bring the same.

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While out and about on Saturday last I noticed some welcome changes to Byres road and beyond. The downturn has caused significant changes to local retail, with many established businesses going under or moving out. It’s good to see new ventures moving in to the area. And maybe an afternoon of unbroken sun had something to do with it but I definitely had a sense that Byres road was resurging. Waitrose is due to open on the former Somerfield site. Tesco have apparently taken over Woolies old site. The new coffee and ice-cream cafe is booming. Vintage guru is a new retro clothes shop opened near Tennants bar. Further down there is a brand-new vintage lingerie shop and two units given over to a new bar-restaurant from the same people that developed The Left Bank on Gibson St. There’s a new venture on the bottom-felt corner of Byres road,  a new wine merchants round the corner on Dumbarton Road, a new cafe further along by Beanscene. You get the idea I think. For a while it seemed new and quirky ventures were only cropping up over by Woodlands and Gt Western Road after Kelvinbridge. So along with the likes of Specsavers and Vodafone, I’m pleased to see small and independent businesses taking a shot on our doorstep too.

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Shop updates

Having run back to back weeks of successful 3 for 2 promotions on the crime and sci-fi paperback sections, we have decided to include science-fiction and extend it for one more week on all three sections!! Make the most of it folks.

The postcard sale is winding down (very pleased with this year’s) and we are slowly beginning the shift toward the christmas season. All of our dated lines (2010 diaries, calendars, family organisers) are on display and a selection of our Christmas cards will be out in the next week. 

Also, with Fresher’s Fairs beginning this week, we will be concentrating on getting the best of our academic stock out into the sales and display areas. This year we have joined up with the clothes and music stores on Byres road to offer 10% off donated stock in any of the stores. We have flyers detailing the promotion and we will be handing them out at Glasgow Uni this week, Strathclyde and Caledonian Uni’s next week.

Finally, a teaser: a special loyalty promotion is on the way. This will be something that can benefit any of our bookshop customers so stay posted for more details.

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Oxfam’s first Bookfest is officially over. The 2 weeks of events have been instructive, tiring and extremely worthwhile. It’s great what can be achieved with hard work and willingness. Kudos goes out to all managers and volunteers who organised and contributed to surely one of the widest diversity of book-related events yet staged in the UK. In the future, with the experience gained from this year’s event, we hope Bookfest or it’s progeny can be really pushed into the public eye as the unique event that it is.

My personal favourites were the Forensic CSI-style night and the World Poetry event. The first because it was fun, plain and simple. The second because of the poetry and song of Tawona and Ernest Sithole (please see the review below for more information). I’d also like to say thanks to Dr. Carol Trager-Cowan for coming last Wednesday and talking about Glasgow and Science. I know more about lightbulbs (Carol’s specialised field) than ever before and here’s hoping she and her team are succesful in developing an energy efficient alternative to the bulbs we currently use. More about Carol and her work can be found here:


Hopefully a review of city chambers will find it’s way on here soon, and also a review of the final event, Biotechnology and Medicine in the 21st Century held last Thursday. I personally did not attend so I’ll wait on someone else to write a piece.

John and I would like to personally thank all those who agreed to do events in our store and also to our volunteers for helping us set-up and tidy-up each evening. And on the off chance that anyone from Hillhead Library is reading, we realise we are a total pain asking for chairs every time we have an event and we would like to thank you for always providing.

Lastly – and most importantly – a particular commendation goes to John himself who has been stretched about as thin as possible over the last two months between coordinating the City Chambers event, our instore readings here and the supervision of all events in the area. He is now on a well-deserved weeks holiday..

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Here’s a review by Colin MacPherson of a recent event we held as part of Refugee Week.

“As part of Refugee Week and with the help of the Oxfam Asylum Positive Images Network the Oxfam bookshop at 330 Byres Road held a reading of poetry from members of the Maryhill Integration Network (m.I.N). The readings which took place on Tuesday 16th June were taken from Second Home, a book of poetry and prose compiled from refugees from across the world, now living in Scotland. These readings offered a unique insight into the lives and thoughts of those who have found a home in Scotland. Poems that were read by members of the Maryhill Integration Network included ‘How I See You’, ‘Another Incident’, ‘How I Got Here’ and ‘Second Home’.

The Maryhill Integration Network was established in 2001 and became a registered charity in 2006. It hopes to establish the integration of host communities and newcomers from different backgrounds to build social bridges and bonds, to influence services and to overcome isolation.With Scots from across the world marking the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns birth in this Year of Homecoming the poems read out during the evening provided a fantastic opportunity to embrace questions of identity and cultural diversity.

For further information on the Maryhill Integration Network log onto http://www.maryhillintegration.org.uk .”


Many thanks to Colin.

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The main event for our bookfest calendar was held last Wednesday at Glasgow City Chambers. Shop Manager John Connolly had worked himself to the bone during preparations so first off major credit goes to him. It was an excellent line-up and the day went very well. We hope there will be a full review on the oxfam.org.uk site soon.

Last Thursday evening 3 members of Strathclyde Police came to the shop to show us the techniques used in crime scene investigations (see photos below). They mocked up a crime scene in the store and brought a miscellany of actual forensic tools of the trade like dna sampling bags, evidence containers etc. Glasgow crime author Caro Ramsay was in attendance and was the first to agree to have her DNA sampled (given back to her of course!). We were then asked to split in to teams and come up with plausible (or rediculous) scenarios for the crime scene. An excellent event all round. Our many thanks to Strathclyde police for giving up their time (I think they enjoyed it as much as we did!).

Then on Tuesday we hosted performances of poetry and music. Our featured acts were Leela Soma, an Indo-Scot author living in Glasgow, and Tawona Sithole, a Zimbabwean also living in Glasgow who runs the Seeds of Thought poetry events (see photos below). Leela alternated between the everydayand the earnest to great effect,  underscoring the message more often than not with well-timed homour. Tawona’s work is more metaphoric and expansive in expression, inviting us into at times an almost mythical representation of his story. We heard several solo pieces from him. His brother Ernest was also in attendance and both brought Mbira with them. Mbira is a traditional African instrument. Playing of Mbira was a cornerstone of community and was once punishable by death in Zimbabwe. Many were burned, but in Tawona’s family two have been preserved. Tawona and Ernest play them to connect with, and educate us about, their heritage. The instrument makes a beautiful, slightly discordant (to ears used to well-tempered western instruments anyway) sound,  and we were treated to several pieces from the brothers. We are grateful to have had these unique artists in our shop.

More information can be found on Leela Soma at http://leelasom.com/Welcome.html

Tawona can be contacted thought their group webpage: http://www.geocities.com/seeds_ofthought/

Seeds of Thought runs regularly at the CCA and I recommend going along to see them perform.










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