This Is Not A Book Shop

I spent this morning in my local independent book shop as ‘writer in residence’, chatting to customers and writing something on the spot as part of Independent Book Shop week. Here is what I came up with.


This Is Not A Book Shop


This is not a book shop.

This is the hive mind, the gold mine,

the ideas pool; this is the coffee-scented

arena of the drip-drying cagoule.


This is not a book shop.

This is a universe of mugs and maps and

Mr Men, moleskine pads for hilltop romantics

and ass-pocket books on quick-fix Zen.


This is not a book shop.

This is a silent stand against the shadowy Man,

a retail middle finger, a palace for the browser

the armchair drowser and the midweek malingerer.


This is the snapping piranha,

the straight banana,

the church of words,

the Amazon’s scourge,


the last known outpost of purchase power –

a place to stake your claim as a lover of fonts

and ferocious flights of fancy or perhaps

just a shelter from the Pennine rain.


It’s a million things but a book shop.

This is an emporium offering

fifty shades of clotted cream pages,

no two sentences crafted the same.


It’s the bed where the seeds for revolutions

are planted. No. This is not a book shop –

this is a deluge, a waterfall of words,

don your goggles, take a breath: dive in.


Written in an hour on location in The Bookcase, Hebden Bridge, this day June 26th 2015, for Independent Bookshop Week.

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