Friday, January 19, 2007

Further to my post dated January 7th. Today’s edition of the Irish Times has an article concerning the plight of Independent Bookshops in Ireland. The general consensus is that things are going form bad to worse for the small retailer. To paraphrase the article small retailers are just one bad rent review away from going out of business.

In the main the focus is on Anthology Books in Meeting House Square which is soon to close it’s doors. As I’ve stated in a previous post it’s sad and disappointing that Anthology Books is soon to close, but it will continue operating an internet sales business.

What of the other small retailers in Dublin. Well Chapters have recently moved from Middle Abbey Street to a new and improved store in Parnell Street. The Winding Stair Bookshop on Ormond Quay has recently re-opened, both new and improved.

You also have The Secret Bookshop in Wicklow Street in which to wander through. Not to mention the sadly under rated Book Worms on Middle Abbey Street.

Greens always disappoints and as a friend of mine said once up a time, looks as if someone stood on the far side of the road and fired the books in.

Of the bigger shops you have Waterstones and Hodges and Fidges. And at the bottom of the pile you’ll find Easons. Once upon a time Easons used to be a bookshop now it’s a rather large storeroom which sells magazines.

Outside of Dublin are things any different? To tell the truth probably not. For instance Kennys bookshop in Galway recently closed its doors for the last time, deciding instead to concentrate on the online sales business. Meanwhile in the City of the Tribes both Charlie Byrnes Bookshop and Bell, Book and Candle in the Small Crane appear to be going strong.

The outlook is mixed and many more small independent booksellers may go to the wall. But perhaps not everything is necessarily all doom and gloom.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Last year, just before Christmas, I was privileged to hear Irish poet Louis de Paor recite this poem in Christchurch Cathedral. Here it is for yiz all.

The Singer

These two here in front of me
think he’s singing to only them

when he plays a loving lament,
their fingers ache to be home

where they can play on each
other till morning. The lonely

and old flames are amazed
a man they’ve never met

has the broken tunes of their dreams
off by heart on the tip of his tongue.

When he touches the strings
that tied them together the first time

ever, the married couple in the corner
move closer in spite of themselves.

When the sleeve of the man’s shirt
brushes his wife’s shoulder, a young fella

at the other end of the room
takes off his summer jumper and asks the barman

to turn the heat down for God Almighty’s sake.
The girl made lovely by sorrow prays

he’ll never rest until he finds her.
Outside, a fleet of sirens storms the night,

squadcars, ambulances and fire-brigades
running from the fire that can’t be put out

in the smoldering hearts of the men inside
who are late again for the neverending funeral.

Beside the bridge, the morse code
of loneliness broadcast on flurries

of air is clear as day to the man
who has just jumped. The water is smooth

as a sheet and he is deaf to the world
as the music fills his mouth,

washing away a world of worries.
The singer keeps on strumming

the strings that stretch from the heart
to the mouth of his guitar.

His cry is soft as the river, a blanket of water
drawn up over all our sleepy heads.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Another black day in artistic terms for Dublin City as Anthology Books in Meeting House Square recently announced that it is to close down. Although only open for a short while Anthology Books, with its novel writing classes, workshops and zine retrospective, made a big impact in the cultural life of Dublin. Unfortunately this did not guarantee financial success and so the shop is set to close it doors soon. However life will continue in the form of an online ordering business that will focus on Irish authors. Anthology Books is currently holding a closing down sale so feel free to root among the bones for some bargains.

On a more positive note, though possibly related, the newly re-opened The Winding Stair Bookshop and Café seems to be finding its feet and going from strength. For instance you can pick up issue 3 of The Paris Bitter Hearts Pit therein. See ya there.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Come on now admit it. Who if anyone listened to New Years Day by U2 yesterday? Happy New Year to everyone.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Technorati Profile