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September 12, 2008


Oliver Williams

On your other blog you've already given an undertaking to buy your books at this new local independent bookshop. At my end of Hackney people make a point of doing this at the excellent Broadway Bookshop. There's nothing po-faced about making this kind of commitment, if one can afford to abjure the 3for2 type offers in the chain shops, and the enticements of Amazon. Local independents normally have excellent fast book-ordering services. Patronising these good bookshops as a matter of principle may contribute substantially to their success, which in its turn envourages new buyers of books.

Dave  Hill

Thanks Oliver. Must get over to Broadway Bookshop some time.


I hoped I never saw this day. Trendies in Clapton :0(

Dave  Hill

Bookshops are trendy????


Bookshops? Trendy? Did I miss something? When I was living a desperately untrendy life on a council estate in Wales, I was a regular patron of bookshops and libraries.


....this is very positive for the area, I will make a visit.....hopefully one day discarded fried chicken boxes on Lower Clapton Road pavements will be replaced by discarded sushi boxes (Fairtrade™) at sometime in the future where all residents will be reading Ibsen plays and listening to Alban Berg.... one small step.....!


I was there for the launch, and was the very first person to buy a book there. Eleanor (the owner) was very pleasant, and she had obviously made quite an effort. The shop is really very nice, with a good mix of books.

One comment - there were very, very, few faces there which weren`t white. I hope that changes in time...


I'll be down there for a visit on Sat...

Patrick Smith

Thanks for pointing this out Dave, anything to make the area more attractive is highly welcome.
Now Clapton has: a vegan cafe, an Italian cafe-cum-deli and an independent bookstore, surely making it one of the most fancy areas in the east. Quite remarkable given its history.
Now if only it had a guitar shop...


"a vegan cafe, an Italian cafe-cum-deli and an independent bookstore" Just what the people of Clapton who don't work for the Guardian need. It'll be Stoke Newington Church Street rip off before you know it. Then the chains will move in and the end. But you'll be happy with your identikit British high street before you head off to Trustafarian heaven in Islington

Mark my words by 2012 it'll be spot the normal London accent in Hackney. Everyone will have private school accents

Dave  Hill

You're right, Davy. The rot's really setting in. Must move out immediately.


Davy the old bleed'n cockerspaniel hows it going me old china plate me old mate east london born and bred. When was the last time you heard a london accent. What does that even mean. Just because people get stabbed somewhere doesnt make it a great place to live. Nice people that read books are quite pleasant. This comment is largely unhelpful which i recognise, but i like the fact that i can be involved in a blog about clapton.


That's right, Davy, let's keep Clapton crap. We don't want bookshops here. We want things to stay just the way they are: Mississippi Fried Chicken, betting shops, Poundstretcher... We don't deserve any better.


Now then - this is all very interesting. As a Clapton resident who moved out of Hackney because of the 'Cat & Mutton effect' having lived there 9 years, I'm just about qualified to comment I think.

The first steps to the gentrification of Clapton surely occurred when The Lord Cecil was closed and burnt out. Since then, the dodgy organic shop (organic by name alone!) and the bookshop, along with a smart crowd at the Builders is making the area that little bit more upmarket.

Personally, I'm in favour of having one nice bar and a nice bookshop too. But I'd prefer them to remain hidden gems (so long as they can make enough money to survive), as they are now.

Broadway Market and London Fields are now, for me, out of bounds. The people that have moved there are just soul-crushing wannabes. On a nice day, walking through London Fields these days, all the immigrant communities and less well off have literally been pushed off the grass as sun-bathing dickheads litter the scene.

I hope the change in Clapton doesn't spread that far, but on the other hand I am pleased there are a couple of interesting shops popping up.

I want my cake, but I don't want to eat it.

jonathon tomlinson

I've lived in Hackney since 1992. And i'm middle class, over educated and have shopped organic with George on Well St. since the day i arrived. And i read books. Books with long words about philosophy and art and science and stuff. Endless poundstretchers, turf accountants and crack dens are depressing even for the poeple who frequent them. Chain stores, bars selling 20 varieties of frappacuppesspressino for over 2 quid a shot aren't good for the community either. What's good for Hackney is people who give a damn about the community. The content of their community activism matters less that the fact that they get off their butts and do something about it. Pages seems to me to be interested in that and should be supported. Hackney's strength is in diverity. Its a great place to live because anti-intellectuals can live (and blog) alongside anarchists, squatters, teachers, doctors and (god-forbid) trendy media-types.

jonathon tomlinson

The great (dead) American comedian, Bill Hicks:

I was in Nashville, Tennesee last year, after the show I went to a Waffle House, I'm not proud of it, I was hungry. And I'm alone, I'm eating and I'm reading a book, right? Waitress walks over to me, "Tch tch tch tch. Hey, what you readin' for?"
Is that like the weirdest fucking question you've ever heard? Not what am I reading, but what am I reading for. Well, godammit, you stumped me. Why do I read?
Well... hmmm... I guess I read for a lot of reasons, and the main one is so I don't end up being a fucking waffle waitress.
Revelations (stand-up comedy routine)

jonathon tomlinson



Swineshead - Can I just say that I am sitting in the 'dodgy organic shop' eating veg curry and coffee and it's very nice indeed.

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