Perfect Pairing

‘The Raven’ by Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most recognised poems in literature.There are many excellent readings available but I think this short film captures the mood and flow of the poem perfectly.

Poe’s writings didn’t always follow grammar rules and Christopher Walken is known for his dis-like of pre-ordained punctuation, perhaps that is why this combination of words and narrator works so well.

What do you think?

Cheeky Besoms

Cheeky Besoms (Bizzms) are a Glasgow-based artists’ collective featuring musician Brian McFall, visual artist Louise Malone, and writers Ruby McCann and Jim Ferguson. We aim to put on live arts events and exhibitions in places where such events do not usually take place. In 2019 we will be hosting a series of spoken word and music events at the Calton Bar on Glasgow’s London Road as well as show-casing writers at the Aye Write Festival on Saturday March 23rd.

 

We prefer to highlight artists who engage with their locality, and with the breadth of humanity, in a non-elitist, humanistic style. People who see art as part and parcel of everyday life, the natural and democratic flowing and flowering of creativity from and between individuals and groups outwith marketing and hierarchical commercial interests are welcome to join us. Artists should of course be paid for their work and where possible paid well. From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs is a 19th century principle we’d very much like to remain current, vibrant and expansive.

 

So if you need company and poetry, music and drink we’ll be happy to meet you at the Calton Bar, London Road for our Alternative Burns Night on Tuesday January 22nd from 7pm. Cheers!

 

A Gentle Reminder to Read…

By Bethany Grayland-Leech

 With the numerous new and exciting technological advances, it can be easy to forget about one of the oldest ways to enjoy your free time. As fun as it is to get lost in the virtual world, I fully believe that the written word has yet to lose its simple charm and can still provide us with ample enjoyment. So here is a little list to gently remind us to put down the remote or controller occasionally and make a cuppa, sit in a comfy chair, and pick up a book:

  1. Gives knowledge

 ‘Reading is important, because if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything.’ – Tomie dePaola

Perhaps one of the most obvious reasons to read. Reading imparts knowledge, and everyone knows that knowledge is power. It doesn’t matter what genre you enjoy or whether it is fiction or non-fiction, reading can provide you with a method of learning that is relatively cheap and hugely accessible.

  1. Improves your brain

 ‘Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.’  Richard Steele

 Researchers from Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago studied the effects that lifelong reading can have on our brains. It was funded by the National Institute on Aging and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Eligible participants were those aged over 55 years and they were tested every year from 1997 onwards. They also agreed to have a brain autopsy when they died.

The conclusion of the study was that frequent cognitive activity may slow the rate of cognitive decline and it is consistent with prior research findings.

If you are interested in finding out more details about the study, visit: https://www.nhs.uk/news/neurology/could-lifelong-reading-protect-against-dementia/

  1. Reduces stress

 ‘Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.’ – Kofi Annan

 We don’t need studies to know that this is true. I am not denying that playing a video game is hugely cathartic, but they can often be very expensive. A book tends to be a lot cheaper and there are hundreds and thousands to choose from. Reading is one of the easiest ways to become transported to another world and it is very easy to understand the thoughts and feelings of a protagonist. You may even find that reading can provide you with perspective and therefore, give you a solution to any problems that have caused you to be so stressed.

  1. Learn about another world

 ‘Books are a uniquely portable magic.’ – Stephen King

 Throughout my life, I have read many books. When I was younger, I was obsessed with the Little House on the Prairie series, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I remember being so amazed at their way of life as it was so different to my own. I had travelled back in time and I could see it all so vividly. I learnt about the different views they held, the difficulties they faced, and as I got old enough to understand, questioned the family’s and society’s attitude toward the Native Americans. Although I don’t agree with the treatment of the Native Americans, I learnt about the values of another era.

Another favourite book of mine would be Faerie Tale by Raymond E. Feist. An entirely different book and a work of fantasy fiction. This was the first book to ever genuinely scare me and as someone who struggles with imagination, it was an absolute delight to be scared by the written word and to experience such an unnerving world.

  1. Discover and create yourself

‘Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.’ – Frederick Douglass

This is one of the most important reasons to read and it ties in with the first reason I have mentioned, obtaining knowledge. Reading can open so many worlds to you, each with different morals and values and ideas. By reading a variety of texts, you can educate yourself and learn about different cultures and worlds and this is key to discovering certain aspects of yourself and gaining a better understanding of what makes you, you. Literature provides you with an assortment of lessons that you can pick and choose from and it will help shape who you are and who you become. You are never too old to learn and evolve.

The only good Amazon is Wonder Woman.

Amazon is probably the most well-known and largest online retailer of pretty much everything. It can open up sales channels to independent/small business that would normally be beyond their potential reach, in theory it is a great opportunity that most people should take. However, scratch the surface and the gleam of this opportunity is not so bright.

As a company we have taken the decision to stop selling our books on Amazon. There are a few reasons for this bold decision.

When a book is published, one of the first questions most authors are asked is ‘are you on Amazon?’ It is as if the availability of your book on this mega online platform is a sign of credibility or quality, something which could not be further from the truth. They don’t value authors or small publishers and have an aggressive policy towards independent booksellers who cannot keep up with the constant demand of decreasing their prices to maintain a decent ‘recognised’ sales level. It’s a dirty process and GYCC have decided that we will no longer be part of it.

The opportunity to self-publish through Amazon is understandably tempting to authors, for next to nothing you can have a book out, the ironic thing is that most people will earn next to nothing for their work and be encouraged to pay for advertising or give their books away in order to promote them. The ever changing algorithims that create book suggestions are problematic to keep a track of and the bare truth is that unless you cough up for advertising or are already receiving heaps of reviews, your book will not do well.

Our own experience of selling through Amazon was not good; every week there were further issues such as restricting our sales, delaying payments and demanding to see our author contracts, we felt tied to Amazon and were expected to jump through their hoops to be seen as a ‘credible’ publishing house.

We refused.

There are increasing reports of the disgraceful treatment of Amazon workers, the most recent one that came to my attention was that the idea of having workers enclosed in a cage like structure while on shift, as far as I am aware this was dropped, but the fact that this was a real mooted idea was the straw that broke the back of our Amazon selling account.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/14/amazon-worker-cage-staff

Some people have suggested that what we are doing is career suicide and they may well have a point but we have to be true to our ethics and no longer want to be part of or beholden to this vile industry wrecking company.

If a customer is able to use the internet to buy a book then just as easily as they can type in Amazon they could go access many websites, including ours or those of other independent sellers. We cannot stop other sellers using the  platform to sell our books but we can take a direct stand and refuse to sell directly through Amazon.

We know that our action is small and Amazon will not even notice our absence from their ever expanding clutches, they won’t lose sleep over us but we will certainly feel better and less harrassed by eliminating them from our wee business.

“If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.”

-Eldridge Cleaver

https://www.thebookseller.com/futurebook/amazon-more-dangerous-ever-and-publishers-need-plan-899551#

https://socialjusticebooks.org/about/why-boycott-amazon/