Thursday, 29 May 2014

Jim Saunders and the Bookshops of Hay

The other day I stopped by Broad Street Books because I noticed a new book about Hay in the window. It's called Hay: Landscape, Literature and the Town of Books, by Jim Saunders. The photographs are lovely, and we were wondering who Jim Saunders was, because neither I nor Dale knew him.
This evening, I met Paul Harris stomping up High Town with steam coming out of his ears. "Have you heard of Jim Saunders?" he asked. It seems that he was giving a talk at Hay Festival on Saturday, about his new book. It seems that he has lived in the area for 25 years, and runs a business called And it seems that a snippet of his talk has been on the news today, in which he said that, if all the bookshops in Hay disappeared, Hay would be fine.
Er - what?!!!
Does he seriously think that removing twenty businesses from a small town - businesses for which the town is known around the world - would do no harm to the local economy at all? He's certainly infuriated at least one local bookseller.

Meanwhile, I met another friend in the morning, and we chatted about what we'd been to see at the Festival. She was going to go to the talk about Everest - because she had been the babysitter to the family when the speaker was a little boy! "How did he go from that to climbing Everest?" she asked. She was going to go along to embarrass him - but decided not to be so unkind in the end.

And welcome back Toby Parker, who used to sing at Kilvert's Open Mic and then the Globe, who has been busking around town today.
There was a little bit of sunshine this afternoon, but someone told me yesterday that it's supposed to be the wettest year since 1770 this year!


Mark Hainge said...

Addyman's Annexe is running a petition to get Jim Saunders to retract his statement.

dogman said...

Retract? perhaps rephrase, reassess, reconsider?
His statement has caused hurt, offense and some dismay in some quarters but if he really believes it to be true then so be it. But perhaps it is the old, old ploy of stirring up controversy for self publicity? I don't know, only he does. I believe he is in error and I would submit reasoned arguments putting forward my opposition. However as Omar Khayam wrote "the moving finger writes (sic) and all thy tears nor wit shall err remove a word of it". Perhaps his sin is of not considering or caring about the impact of actions on others, in which case he is a disciple of the present rulers of our land. Just saying.
Dogman Hay