Saturday, May 31, 2008



So, it really happened. Having been open for only 11 weeks, we won the Haringey Business Awards New Business of the Year 2008. It's hard to believe, but here it is.
That's our name that is.

The evening started off at the Decorium, North London's Premiere Banquetting Venue. Actually it started in The Goose, and the the Jolly Anglers. The Goose was too busy so we went for a 'livener' in the 'JAnglers' as it's known. Suitably nervous and excited we arrived at the Decorium. Oooh Look

Oooh Look how many smartly dressed people there were.

We had some pretty tough opposition, especially from the Alek at Leader Financial, who have set up a brilliant company to help (mainly) Polish speakers get financial help in Haringey. Here's Alek (and if I had any sort of a memory I would be able to tell you his partner was)

You have to remember that this award is for the best new business in ALL of Haringey, so to get into the last 3 was an amazing achievement, and the thought of a free meal was enough to cheer up Tim. I put on my best shirt.

After the pre dinner drinks and the lovely meal, the awards got underway, and thankfully the first up was us. I never expected that we'd win and it was absolutely crazy when 'and the winner is.....The Big Green Bookshop' was announced. Tim and I were ushered up to the stage and I grabbed the award and Tim was passed the microphone (I think, by me). He thanked people and said he had a 20 minute speech prepared (ha ha ha) and then I said thanks and then we got whisked off to have official photos. These weren't them. Tim singing...

. Me with the Mayor, the lovely Alan Dobbie (lab), who should win awards in Wood Green every year for the work he does in the area.

Anyway. That was that, and today it was back to reality. The hangover is now over and I shall shortly be enlightening you all on our latest marketing campaign!!

Thanks for all of you who voted for us, and continue to support us. We work really really hard and know that the customers are the people who decide whether we succeed or not. There's no resting on laurels, just because we've got a trophy, but it's nice to get a bit of recognition...innit?

We have had some Murakami progress, but my lips are sealed at the moment...

Friday, May 30, 2008

I'm here Now


So you can go home.

Not hungover. Still Drunk

Haringey Business Awards


We Won!

I'm massively hungover, so i'll write more after a bit of sleep and maybe coffee. I'm sure Tim'll turn up at the shop soon....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Back to Work


I've had a day and a half off, and it's helped heal the Wembley wounds that'll be there for a long time. My Mum came to see us, and in case you thought that your mum was the best in the world, i'm sorry to shatter your illusion. It was probably a good try though.
She arrived on Sunday afternoon and after visiting the shop and pottering around Wood Green Katie cooked a lovely roast chicken (and other stories) in the evening, washed down with a very acceptable Montepulciano D'abruzzo (£2.99 or 2 for a fiver), and then we watched 'Enchanted', a wonderfully daft story about fairy tale characters finding themselves in New York. If you haven't seen it here's a little clip I love a parody (Vanessa, for example).

Then we all went to beddybyes and looked forward to a lovely bank holiday Monday sunshine special. However we probably should have looked at the weather report.
However it didn't put us off, and after a croissant and cuppa we headed off to Bruce Castle.
This is the second most famous place in Tottenham. Bruce Castle was Roy Castle's great great grandfather, and the family motto was 'Dedicatum O Dedicatum'. We saw some amazing antique tap shoes which had been passed onto Roy to do his world record attempt. There were also statues of Norris and Ross McWhirter, and Roy's trademark trumpet.
Sir Rowland Hill also lived here for a time. Here's a statue of the great man. Not only did he invent the penny post, and as no doubt you stamp collectors will know, he was actually Harry Hill's great great grandfather. They have a family motto, which we saw at Bruce Castle. It was 'Stoofus TV Burpus', which I think translates as, 'sorted, respect due'.
Anyway we had a great time there, and I got a postcard and a couple of books about the Hills and the Castles to read when I got home.
IN the evening we jumped on the bus and arrived at Muswell Hill (another of Harry's relatives, as I beleive). We had a great meal at ASK (a restaurant chain owned by Morrisey), and managed to dodge the showers on the way home.
So it was back to work today, and Tim had the day off to make up for yesterday. My Mum came in with me this morning and stayed in the shop for an couple of hours, as I tried to look as though I knew what I was doing. I unpacked boxes, phoned a couple of customers, answered a few emails, blew some balloons up and introduced her to one of our local customers (I say customers in the loosest possible sense) Andrew, who was on his way to get his hair cut, but wanted to come and say hello to Mrs Key. He was charming, and stayed in the shop longer than I've ever seen before (I told you my Mum was special).
Eventually it was time for her to go back to the mighty City of Bristol, and as she got on the number 29 bus (traditionally known as '29, bus of crime'), to get into London town I was left with a lovely feeling of the fun we'd had over the last day or two.
The day at the shop was rather encouraging too. We sold books and stuff, so hurah.

I hear that the Independent on Sunday has been to Fulham/Waterloo. Well done to Adam and Matthew. Superstars innit.
And also congrats to the choice of bookshop that managed to get to number 21. I hope that someone gets a big old bonus for this, and I ain't talking about the regional manager.
We're going to an awards ceremony ourselves on Thursday. We've been shortlisted for New Business of the Year award at the Haringey Growth Business Awards. We might get a trophy, and also we've had to let someone know our dietary requirements for the ceremony. Blimey, we're living the life of Riley.


Monday, May 26, 2008

It Hurts


...i suspect that i'll never visit Hull ever.

It takes a few days to get over stuff like this, but bear with me.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Some Things That I Am Thinking from Inside My Headbone


So, it seems that the misery memoir is not selling as well as it used to. Who'd have thought it? Sudoku anyone? Books written from blogs? the spice girls reforming after Take That did it? Big Brother 24? Celeb scandal magazines? Star Wars? Indiana Jones?
I suspect that some of the books published which fit into this newly created genre are absolutely rubbish. I also suspect that the books that got people into this newly created genre (million little pieces, child called it, angela's ashes) aren't as rubbish. I fear for the future of anonymous memoirs. Those call girls just don't write as well as they used to.

I think that there are some booky wookshops out there that should be cheered and visited with full wallets (and left with empty ones). This list starts with us, but that's not the point. Mostly Books in Abingdon won gold at this years Nibbies. New Bookshop of the Year is a brilliant accolade and hurrah for them. They have a wonderful bookshop and they seem to be able to put together some great events and if I nick a few of their ideas, it's simply an homage to their greatness.
And then there's Crockatt & Powell. No nibbies for them though. what's all that about? They're a chain now god damn it, but despite that they have just opened the most sumptuous bookshop in Fulham. Congratulations and all that to them.

Here's some books. They are good. The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse We got it from those dang tootin yankie doodle Americans at Baker and Taylor, and i love it. I discovered it about 12 years ago, and being something of a fairy tale fan (Anglela Carter is fab) found the whole book intoxicating and escapist magic. Come to Wood Green and buy a copy if you like. 253 by Geoff Ryman Another book published ages ago, but what's wrong with that.
There are seven carriages on a Bakerloo Line train, each with 36 seats. A train in which every passenger has a seat will carry 252 people. With the driver, that makes 253.
This novel describes an epic journey from Embankment station, to the Elephant and Castle, named after the Infanta de Castile who stayed there, once. This is an example of the verbal imprecision that costs British industry millions of pounds a year.
Numbers, however, are reliable. So that the illusion of an orderly universe can be maintained, all text in this novel, less headings, will number 253 words.
Each passenger is described in three ways:
Outward appearance : does this seem to be someone you would like to read about?
Inside information : sadly, people are not always what they seem.
What they are doing or thinking : many passengers are doing or thinking interesting things. Many are not.
I nicked that from the website. I still love this book, and I especially like the fact it has a page dedicated to a pigeon who's found himself on the tube by mistake.

Look who came to the shop this week for Big Green WednesdayKAREN Mc(FLIPPIN)COMBIE, that's who. Ally's World, Indie Kidd, Sadie Rocks and Stella Etc. Karen McCombie was lovely and the kids really enjoyed meeting her (I'm guessing by the big smiles and stuff like that). Thanks Karen, see you in June for more fun.

No news from Scott Pack with Haruki's number, and Stan hasn't replied to my email yet. I didn't think it was going to be that easy really. Next week we'll take it to the next level.

Bristol City are playing Hull City tomorrow to decide who goes into the premiership. This is rather important for me and although I wasn't able to get a ticket to Wembley coupled with the fact i'm working tomorrow, it's likely i'll be rather distracted.
I'm not able to put into words how important this football match is to me, but please think good thoughts towards the West Country tomorrow.

Lastly today, the summer promotions are arriving on the high street. It might be more cost effective if they started producing 'Not 3 for 2' stickers, as they wouldn't need to sticker as many books.

Remember to have lovely Bristol City thoughts now...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

As an aside...


whilst I await a call from Scott Pack with Haruki's mobile phone number, I thought there'd be no harm in sending this e-mail to Stan Lee

Hello Stan,
We own a bookshop in London, England, and have run a competition to ask our customers who they want to see to do an event in our shop. Stan, you got the most passionate response from our customers. Tell me, when do you plan to visit the UK again, and when you do, could you fit a visit to our shop into your busy schedule. If you want to know more about us, we're called the Big Green bookshop, so googling the name will bring up all sorts of stuff about us.
Look forward to hearing from you soon,

I'll let you know what he says.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Murakami. The search begins


OK, so the votes are in and you've decided that you'd like us to try and get Haruki Murakami to visit the shop.
Fair enough.

So, I guess the first thing to do is this.... does anyone know his phone number, or e-mail address.
Looking forward to hearing from you

Monday, May 19, 2008

It's Blog Post Number 200, isn't it.


This is our 200th posting, and as such will be an epic story of love, voting, holidays, windows, events, JCBs, angry mobs and awards. I suggest you put the kettle on and make yourself a cuppa, or pour yourself a glass of wine, as I think this might ramble on for some time.

I've been on holiday with Katie for a couple of days. We thought it would be a good idea to have a break before our baby is born at the end of June (July 3rd officially, but I have my suspicions it'll be a few days early). We spent the weekend in Lyme Regis, and I have to say, it's gorgeous. Mmmm, Lyme Regis. It's got 3, possibly 4, bookshops. We went into one, a second hand bookshop that had an amazing range of stock, despite being a health and safety nightmare, and were greeted with the proprietor, in a panama hat and a lovely safari jacket, watching with utter glee a live performance of 'I Want To Break Free' by Queen on his computer. As we browsed the shelves and chose a couple of titles to buy, the song came on again...and as we continued to look around he put it on once again, and stared and grinned at the screen in front of him, as Fredddie Mercury strutted and pranced through the song that we'd heard 3 minutes earlier. He did reluctantly serve a couple from who were looking for some Grisham, but hurried back to his screen as soon as he could to watch the frontman for a few more minutes. The shop was great though, and I picked up a couple of ideas to bring back to Wood Green. I suspect Tim wil be surprised tomorrow when I turn up in a white catsuit with a figure hugging yellow jacket to boot.
In Lyme Regis we also did all those seaside things that everyone should do. Mini Golf. I lost by one shot.. Walking along the coast.
Discussing the audacity of seagulls. We decided that gulls were wankers, and have no sense of decorum. They sit on car bonnets and on top of picnic boxes with that look about them....arseholes.

We also visited the wonderful Chimp and Zee Bookshop, owned by Catherine and Laurence Anholt. This is the only bookshop that I know of (and probably the only one that exists) that only sells books by the owners! It's amazing and clever and beautiful and magical and special. But by no means anywhere near as amazing and clever and beautiful and magical and special as the person standing in front of the shop window here. If you get a chance to go and see their shop, please do.

we've ahd a load of shop events recently and here's a little bit about them.

An Evening with Dr Sandra Richards.
What a great evening, hosted by the soon to be legendary Dougie
The evening was a huge success and by the end it was standing room only as Dr sister sandra started talking. Lovely people.

We had a poetry evening recently, and the local Stanza poetry society performed for us. It was, once again, a popular event, and we had between 20 and 30 people turn up to listen to the poets. I asked for the audience (before the performances) to give me a smile....

Lisa Tickner was in last week to talk about her new book Hornsey 1968, and although it wasn't a full house, it was a fascinating talk, given life by a very very good speaker.

we have a couple more events this week. Daniel Davies is joining us on Thursday for the launch of his new book 'The Isle of Dogs'. I read this on Friday, and it is magnificently uncomfortably engrossing, and the twist at the end of the book just shouldn't be all. It is excellent, and I'm looking forward to meeting the author of this crazy book.

Other Things

This doesn't help if you want any customers whatsoever

Two weeks down the kaahsi

Anyway, good news in the shape of Marie and Sabrina, who have made our dire attempts at window displays look even more embarrassing by doing this in about 90 minutes.
More volunteers and we continue to feel very very humbled by the help we've been getting.


So you've voted for MURAKAMI to come to the shop. Are you mental? Who do you think we are?
Yeah Baby. That's right. We're the Big Green Bookshop. That's what I'm talking about.
I'm surprised he hasn't been on the phone to beg for a visit since the results have come in. If you're reading this Haruki, just give me a call and we can sort this out nice and easy. You don't want to let the fans down do you?
If I hear nothing in the next couple of days, it looks like i'm just going to have to get the ball rolling myself.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Best New...


We've been invited to the Haringey Business Awards, because of all you lovely people who filled in the voting form. We don't know if we've won anything (other than a free dinner) but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Which makes it hard to type.

We know we haven't won best new restaurant, despite some strange voting. And why not? We give out free coffee. What other restaurant does that? I often eat my lunch in the shop, and we have supplied crisps, biscuits, corn chips, cakes and other digestables to our customers at the events. Oh, and wine and juice and water and stuff, too

So why shouldn't we be nominated for the best new restaurant? Hmmm?

Oh yes. Vote for Stan Lee

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I Support Bristol City



It was either this or a Wurzels song.
Bookshop talk later.

Friday, May 09, 2008

A New Quest to keep us busy


Right, here's the deal.

There's a list of authors to the right of here...just there..up a bit..that's it!
This is our longlist of authors that we're going to try and get to do an event or a signing at our shop.
Now, what you should do is to vote, who you think will be the best person for us to try and entice to the Big Green Bookshop. Once the voting's over, we'll start the quest to get that author to come and see us.
The quest is likely to be a long one, as these people are probably busy over the next few weeks, but we'll keep you up to date on what we're doing to persuade them and what response we get.
It's possible that we may need to get some of you lot involved in the quest. A lot of these authors don't live in the UK, so we may ask for some help from our blog readers overseas. But it should be entertaining ne c'est pas?

For your information.

Stephen King. 350 million selling Horror and Science Fiction author. Possibly a little tricky. I've read 3 of his books

Delia Smith OBE. 18 million selling cookery author, and Norwich City Football Club director. I've read (or used) 2 of her books

Banksy. Bristol born artist, nobody really knows what he looks like, except his Mum. I've read 1 of his books

Stan Lee. Comic book legend, and co-creator of Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Iron Man and many more. One of my all time heroes. I've read approx 3000 of his comics

Don Delillo. Prolific and critically aclaimed American literary giant. I've read 3 of his books.

Jackie Collins. Raunchy, bonkbusting novelist, famous for her novels Stud, The Bitch and her 'Hollywood' series. I have read 0 of her books.

Patrick Suskind. Reclusive German author of Perfume, and The Pigeon. I have read 1 of his books

Haruki Murakami. Increasingly popular Japanese author, who's extraordinary books include The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, and Norweigan Wood. I have read 3 of his books

Cupcake Brown. American 'misery memoir' author of a Piece of Cake. I have read 0 of her books

William Shatner....Captain Kirk off the Starship Enterprise. That's all you need to know.

One of these pieces of information is incorrect, but there you go.

Choose wisely, and may the best author/artist/starship commander win.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

There's a New Indie Bookshop in Town


The town of Tetbury to be precise. It's called the Yellow Lighted Bookshop, and it opened recently to cheers and waves and a small barking dog no doubt.
Hereward Corbett (for it is he who has done this magnificent thing), should be raised aloft and toasted throughout the land. Unlike noisy oiks like us, he has quietly and professionally put together a beautiful looking shop, which Tetbury and its environs should all be very proud of.

It seems that everyone's at it. You can walk 100 yards without another of those bloody independent bookshops opening nowadays. What is this world coming to.

Monday, May 05, 2008

So Many Things (but oh so important to us all)


here is a big catch up of all the stuff that (because we're busy as bananas) we haven't had a chance to tell you.

It rained this week. Since we've opened, it seems to have done that more than would be considered average. This makes me blue (not in a political sense. I don't want to bring politics into this blog). It also hailed. Look see, look.. You see?
Look see, look again. But more
It was a bit stinky. We also had a leak. Look see, look I originally suspected it was the Hippopotomus on our roof, eating cake that caused it. But no, it seemed to be the hole in the roof. So I apologised to the hippo, and started to bail out the shop.
Once suitably bailed, the sun decided to rear it's elusive head. Taunting us with it's big yellowness (not that this suggests that I support any particular political party, heaven forbid), and a spectacular rainbow appeared. Look see, look. Rainbows are lovely aren't they?

The rainy day was the same day that we had Tom Hodgkinson in, and thankyou once again to all the people that came to support both us and him on that night. It really was appreciated.

Here's another thing.

Customer orders are a really important thing for us in the shop. This suggests a few things, both good and bad. Bad thing is that we don't have the right books in the shop, which is why people have to order them. Good thing is that we can get these things really quicky and also people want to order from us. It's probably a bit of all these, but as long as people keep ordering and we keep supplying the books quicker than speedy gonzalez then hurrah!
Here's the man we rely on to deliver these books to us (the one on the left). He rocks, and it's always a mystery when he's going to turn up. But he rocks. We think that this man could soon become an internet sensation.

Here's the last thing today.

I enjoy writing on this blog, and I hope that you enjoy reading it. Although it is a blog about opening a bookshop and all the hilarious trouser related incidents that happen (Tim's trousers fell down at a pub quiz last week by the way, he really should tell you all about it), about 35.2% of it has nothing to do with bookselling. It's about things that happen around the shop and around Wood Green. I love Wood Green, as i've mentioned 23 times before on this blog, and sometimes things happen that effect the shop and the area in some way. Actually, sometimes things happen that have nothing to do with the shop or the area (like the music on the blog, or the 'Hoots mon, there's juice loose aboot this hoose' video I put on last week). Sometimes they are light hearted, and sometimes they aren't.
Here's the crux of the point. It's our blog, and our opinions are on it. Sometimes they are Tim's opinions and sometimes they are mine. I've probably tried a bit too hard not to offend anyone in the past, as I have a tendency to worry too much about what other people think. I miss many nights sleep worrying about things that most people consider unimportant. But we both have opinions, and I think it's only right that, when we feel it's appropriate, we share them.
Now some of you might disagree with these opinions, and that's fine. You can decide to read this blog or not. But it would be a big old lie to not say stuff that we thought was relevent. And lots of stuff is relevent. So there we are.
It's likely that nothing will change and we'll continue to photograph delivery drivers, and celebrate Wood Green Graffiti. But, from this day forth (or fifth), I for one will decide what I write on this blog.
So the first thing i'm going to write with that knowledge is.

I'm not really a fan of the reality TV series Strictly Come Dancing. Yes, I know that the majority of the UK are big fans of this, but sometimes majorities are wrong. Sometimes people are swept away on a ridiculous rollercoaster of personalities like Bruce Forsyth(who usually I think is brilliant). I blame tabloids like the Sun (who I also am not a huge fan of), and The Standard (ditto, not Beth), for making programmes like these popular, when in fact they are a real waste of time and are about as useless as Graham Norton without an autocue. Yes, we all think that it's all just a bit of fun, but just think about it for a second and you'll realise that what you're watching is pepople who can't dance, dancing.......
think about it..............

think about it.........


but you vote for them to stay in until the next time, so you can watch them again.

Anyway, that's my opinion.

Our Bestselling Books


if you're interested, here's a few books that have done really well since we opened

Yiddish Policeman's Union- Chabon
Persepolis- Satrapi
Dawn of the Dumb- Brooker
Flea Palace- Shafak
End og Mr Y-Thomas
Princess Bride- Goldman
Fludd- Mantel
Mr Pip- Jones
Restraint of Beasts- Mills
Railway Detective- Marston

there's no pattern to this yet, and i've left out the books that are in our bookgroups etc. It is reassuring that 4 of these books I got in especially because I really like them myself, and have been able to recommend them to customers.

Other areas that seem to be outselling the more traditional sections are Graphic Novels and gardening.
We don't have any manga, and so it's titles like Maus, and the Perry Bible Fellowship that sell well from here. We are beginning to crack though and will shortly be gettng a smattering of manga, although it's hard to know where to stop with something like that.

Just so you know, this is my first posting from the shop. And yes I do feel guilty. I should be tidying picture flats, or going through June new titles (yes we really do leave it a bit late don't we). Actually, I will go through June new titles now, so more about other things when I get home.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Any Other Boris


Boris Karloff?

Boris Pasternak?

Boris Mcwhirter, the Guiness World Records Twin?

Boris Yeltsin?

Boris, Fearless Leader's henchman in Rocky and Bullwinkle?

Baurice Chevalier?

Boris Vallejo, (saucy) Fantasy Artist?

Borris dancers?

Boris the Spider, a classic Who song?

Boris Lessing?

Boris Spassky, the third best Chess player ever?

Boris Day?

Boris Becker?

Nope. This dickhead.

We should be ashamed of ourselves

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Sam and Tom


yesterday was (as Lauren Child would say) my favourite and my best day. We had the second of our Big Green Wednesdays, and also our first evening event.
Despite the stinky weather, both were fantastic.
First up was the bundle of energy and fun, Sam Enthoven, author of two very popular books, The Black Tattoo, and Tim, Defender of the Earth. This weeks school were Noel Park (who have recently brightened up a boarded up shop in Wood Green by doing this brilliant mural.

The kids had brought along questions for Sam, and he managed to answer all of them in an interesting/interested, exciting/excited, inspiring/inspired way.
Some things that we now know about Sam
he likes stories with monsters in them
Jacqueline Wilson once bought him a pint
he has a tattoo of his favourite coffee mug on his arm
he wanted to be a rock'n'roll guitarist
he likes stories with monsters in them
the only thing about London he doesn't like (apart from the weather) is the smell of the West End first thing in the morning
he had a dinner party to celebrate his 100th rejection letter
he will not (if he can help it) write sequals to his books
he likes stories with monsters in them (and flying kung-fu)

Sam also told us that he writes 1000 words a day, that he got some great advice from Lee Child (or Philip Pullman I shall check my notes later), which said that writers block is as daft a concept as a carpenter getting carpenters block, and that writing was a job, which, as a writer, you had to do.
He was very passionate about living your dream, and encouraged the audience to follow their passions, be it in art, science or whatever.
I shall be adding more to this post a bit later when I get to work, but Sam went down a real treat, and happily signed books and talked to them until Mr Pearce, their teacher told them it was time to leave

I smiled a lot for a while after that.

The evening event was Tom Hodgkinson, a real inspiration of mine and Katie's. His books 'How to Be Free' and 'How to be Idle', sit proudly on our shelves, and we have his Freedom Manifesto on our fridge.
This was our first author event in the shop, and as the rain poured down and the climate cooled another 3 degrees, I wondered whether the evening was going to look something like this..
well I needn't have worried, because we had 30 very hardy souls make their way to the shop for the evening's entertainment. Tom was as wonderful as I remembered him and played and sang 'I'm Only Sleeping', and 'watching the wheels' by John Lennon, and spent an hour talking about the Idle philosophy in general and 'The Book of Idle Pleasures'in particular.
There was a question and answer session at the end, and then Tom signed copies of the Idler, and his other titles. He was really pleased with what we're doing at the Big Green, and offered his support to any future stuff we have planned.
Now like a doofus, I didn't take photos of the event. As I said, I'm a bit of a Tom fan, and got a bit too into listening and enjoying him talk, and it was only after he'd gone that the penny dropped. Can I request that if anyone there has photos of the event they contact me, so I can share them on this here blog.
In the meantime here are some Idle Pleasures for you to contemplate, and a picture of Eric Idle

Having A bath
Walking on the Beach Barefoot
Skimming Stones
Morning Sex
Walking In the City
Taking a Nap
Looking at the Stars
Catching Falling Leaves

go on, try one or two of them today.