Posts tagged Crouch End

RIP Prospero

I learned recently of the demise of Prospero’s Books, my local independent bookshop in Crouch End. It made me very sad – it was a great bookshop, with knowledgeable staff who were always very supportive of me and of other local writers. I was even on their bestseller list for a while. The strange thing is that the place always seemed full of customers, a lot of whom were actually making purchases as well. So I’m not really sure why it couldn’t continue. I still have some good independent bookshops… Read More

Roelof Bakker, ‘Still’, Hornsey Town Hall

Just wanted to give a belated mention to a really good photography exhibition in Crouch End recently. It was a series of photographs of Hornsey Town Hall, an Art Deco listed building that has been minimally used for a long time now. After Hornsey was absorbed into the larger borough of Haringey in the 1960s, the town hall was no longer needed for its original purpose, and there has been a debate for ages about what to do with it. In the meantime, Roelof Bakker went in and photographed the… Read More

Rumours of the death of bookshops

I got depressed about bookshops recently. A great little London literary magazine, Smoke, has just published its last issue. The editor/founder Matt Haynes explained: Of the hundred-odd shops that stocked our early issues, well over half have now closed. And when Borders ceased trading just before Christmas, we lost not only more than 25% of our sales overnight, but also three dozen high-profile spots from which to be subliminally sublime. I was really sad to hear this. Smoke is a magazine where I got one of my first stories published,… Read More

My book is a bestseller*

* in Crouch End. Hey, it may not be the New York Times bestseller list, but it made me proud when I walked past my local bookshop, Prospero’s Books, and saw my book at #4 on the Bestsellers Chart. I even asked someone to take a photo. Come on, it’s probably the last time in my life that I will see my name next to Barack Obama’s 🙂

Sheer egoism

Yes, I went around bookshops looking for my book on the shelves. And I started taking photos of it… OK, so it’s not very cool. It’s not something I could picture Salman Rushdie or Iam McEwan doing. But I enjoyed it!

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RIP Pick More Daisies

My favourite cafe in Crouch End, the cafe where I wrote most of my novel On the Holloway Road, has just put up a notice saying it has fallen victim to the credit crunch and closed down. It was a shock to me. The place was perfect for writing. It had friendly staff, American-diner-style bottomless coffee, good food, big windows to stare out of, convenient plugs for a laptop, and Fawlty Towers tapes playing in the bathrooms. And it was just around the corner. Also, on reflection, a reason I liked… Read More

Library cuts

I love libraries. Always have. I could spend all day in a library, working my way through the stock. I even love the weird library smell (what is that? It’s not the smell of books, because bookshops don’t smell like that). So I was upset to see my local library in Crouch End, London borough of Haringey, featured in a Socialist Worker article about library cuts. Here’s an anonymous Haringey librarian quoted in the piece: “It’s about deskilling – getting rid of professional librarians. I think this is preparing the… Read More