The Albion Beatnik Bookstore website (or how a bookshop once changed a light bulb)

The web page of the Albion Beatnik Bookstore in Oxford, now closed (as usual) for business: muses and misspills on books, jazz, poetry, stuff like false flags and smoke screen: was randomly decrepit and proven to be more than neo-bankrupt: it was so analogue it was anal and now deceased.

Spot the Difference Between a Bookshop & Nostalgia (Not Everyone Can!)…/we-should-stop-fetishising-indepe… is one student journalist’s take on Oxford’s small bookshops…

books-pile-ofLily is bright (and groovy): bookshops have been fetishised into a commercial vacuum and have become part of the National Trust’s hinterland but with free entry. Now that The Guardian (possibly the worst newspaper in the world) has stopped dribbling their weekly nappy rash articles on how wonderful ‘independent’ bookshops are, these bookshops can be taken off the vintage and nostalgia shelf that at various times has stored red telephone boxes, trunk calls, railway steam engines, woofers and a wireless, and those little cardboard trays that Bounty bars used to sit on (remember them?).

It really is up to individuals to determine how they shop, and of course I can’t make out a case much that any shop exists other than for shoplifters and thrifty well-wishers; a shop can stand only on how it is valued and supported. So even though it is actually quite difficult to assess if Lily is for or against small bookshops in Oxford, though I think she is, at least I am not left sprawling on a pin: to have people constantly drip in and out of the shop with eyes on a stalk, like rabbits caught in a car’s headlights and with mummified and marshmallow goofiness a la Barbara Cartland is just too much. Books are not flock wallpaper perfect bound with glue, nostalgic and devoid of meaning; rather they are objects of use that can link the sublime to the ridiculous. At least Lily is not humming The Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society with its “pictures of things as they used to be,” where “all my friends are all middle class and grey, but I live in a museum, so I’m okay.” Bookshops aren’t actually museums and the sooner they are treated as part of the present world the better. And the less grumpy I shall be.

I’m not sure if Lily is standing in the next General Election or not. If she is, I shall vote for her.

The joy of small bookshops, Black Books style….

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This entry was posted on 23rd February 2015 by in bookselling and tagged .

News of Albion Beatnik Press

Two new series of titles – American Vintage and British Vintage – 24 titles to be published in 2019

Sarah Gillespie’s Queen Ithaca Blues

“Dipped in song, these are dizzying poems in which lovers are skyscrapers and words walk on wires between them.Bright with horror and stricken with laughter, Sarah Gillespie’s lyrical collection lives in the extremities, dealing with loss, vertigo and joy.” – Caroline Bird


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