I started working on this project in the Summer of 2019 with an end date of December 19. However, due to family illness and other crises, I asked the Arts Council if I could put the end date back to late spring/early Summer of this year and they were good enough to say yes. So thank you ACE. Other factors such as the ongoing wait for refurbishment of George Street Community Bookshop also contributed but I have got a lot of work done on it.
Thanks to the Bookshop, the project donated around 80 books for homeless people around Ashton -under- Lyne via the wonderful Pauline Town at The Station Pub. She does incredible unpaid work on behalf of so many. Books are a bit of a chance for some to escape their worries for a short time at least.
Working with producer Craig Edmondson, I’ve recorded 10 songs that make up the bulk of the project. Many of the themes were suggested by the replies to the survey you can find on this website. I’ve had a phenomenal response to it, both online and via hard copies in the Bookshop. My instincts, the responses confirm, were correct; people love their books. When I do the show for the project I’ll be talking about the feelings, ideas and memories that your books give you. There are some very powerful and moving testimonies.
Many of you agreed to provide a video message talking about the books or reading a passage from a favourite, but the response to this has not been as strong, but I’ve discovered that my mass email about it landed largely in people’s spam boxes! I’m going to try and email people individually and also call out via social media in order to get a bigger return. Keep an eye out.
Initially the idea was to play a number of small work in progress events at the Bookshop, but the delayed refurbishment put a block on this. I have played a couple of the songs live on my Facebook page which was well received but I need to do a bit more. My idea now is to play a full set of the songs streamed on Facebook and if possible elsewhere (technical help welcomed) sometime in March as well as a house concert for a small number of guests before playing 2 full shows with a band sometime early May. I’ll keep you posted I hope. The last 6 months have proven that books are a comfort as well as a source of entertainment or relaxation. Here’s one of the songs, very personal emotions but universal the survey tells me. The finished version is almost Spector like with its production, this is a bare bones performance.