Upon hearing the news, most people respond with a combination of raised eyebrows, grins and mild squeals of excitement. And then comes the question; why a bookshop…?
I expect every person who has ever opened a bookshop has a different answer but – hopefully – has a shared passion for books.
The last ten to fifteen years of my life have slowly been consumed by live music and culture. It started so innocently, with the writing of a free, physical fanzine that celebrated and explored the music scene of the city I’d grown up in. I loved this, and look back on it fondly. “Zine!” was the perfect excuse for pretty much any behaviour, from unprepared interview techniques to a complete absence of grammar or proofing.
Jumping ahead a decade, that led me to a job running a CIC that delivered a city wide music festival and an award winning music education programme focused on those who otherwise lacked a way into the wonders and joys of music and grassroots culture.
But at the same time, my hobby had become my job and the environment in which it took place, both physical and existential, had become increasingly difficult to breathe in.
And so I found myself upping sticks and breaking a many-generation long cycle of never leaving our home town, to land in Jedburgh. Running the aforementioned business from a distance and tiding myself over with freelance work, I began to think, what do I want? And also, how can I be useful in a place like Jedburgh?
With a young daughter, our little family unit is very happy in our new home. I began to think about running my own little shop. Most people I know would expect that to have been a record shop, but I’ve become largely jaded by music. Plus, Jedburgh has a second hand record shop already.
And so it came to me; books. I love books. I maybe love bookshops even more. I like to visit them. I spend money I don’t have on books I don’t need, because I find them wonderful.
In our modern world I find books tactile and real in a deeply important way. In an environment of tweets, clickbait, snap opinions and busy lives, I see the creation of a book as a heroic venture.
My previous work was built upon the idea of live events being an essential means to bring people together in the real world, to create shared memories and experiences. I still believe in that. I’ve just moved sideways a little, into the realms of sharing ideas, knowledge and opening doors to new worlds of possibility.
As with most things in my life, I’m self taught and am throwing caution (and maybe sense) to the wind to pursue something exciting and hopefully worthwhile.
I look forward to sharing it with you!