A few months ago I escaped from my family and ran away to a bookshop where I was taught how to make a notebook by weaving the cover and holding it together using ‘coptic binding’. A lovely woman from the Czech Republic, Lucie, showed me how to do this in the bookshop, when I expressed an interest in what she was making – the cost was very reasonable, and I took two notebooks home with me.
All this was accompanied by real tea and a choice of teapot and cup.
Throughout the afternoon I listened to music by Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra. The bookshop is eccentric, delightful, whimsical, arty, bohemian… It sells books like these:
The selection includes beatnik, travel, jazz, literature and poetry and second hand books. Twentieth century works are a speciality, for example, Virginia Woolf, Isabel Allende, Pablo Neruda to name but a few.
The ambience is very relaxed, you could just sit on the sofa and chat, nobody would harass you or even expect you to buy anything! The ‘wordiness’ obsession is everywhere…
Dennis, who owns the shop spends a lot of time renovating old furniture – he sands and paints the wood and adds literary references to the finished pieces.
Lucie runs various short courses on book making and also sells her own work. In the evening the shop is often open until 11pm with live jazz or similar. They have regular cultural evenings, talks, poetry readings, party events, even a reading group. It is a place of comfort – very welcoming. Indeed I felt that it was an afternoon of therapy, pampering and relaxation!
So I would urge anyone to ditch the family and escape to the Albion Beatnik Bookshop, 34 Walton Street, Jericho, Oxford. Lucie’s work can be viewed at www.immaginacija.com, (click on this URL, my links don’t appear to be highlighting…).