Thursday, 22 September 2011

A spectre is haunting Europe...

.... well, not quite, but we are pleased to see the formation of the Alliance of Radical Booksellers. The number of radical bookshops is a fraction of what it used to be - soaring high street rents, the abolition of the Net Book Agreement and changing political times all conspired to see off many shops, while Thatcher's Children preferred to open clothes shops and cafes instead. But radical bookshops have never vanished, and several have a longer life under workers' control or benevolent boards or committed individual ownership than most bookshops in the UK. There's something of a spring in their step these days, and the formation of the Alliance is part of that. There's a couple of new shops on their way too, and, with the hefty involvement of Five Leaves, a new national radical book prize being launched in October as is, formally, the Alliance itself. There's a provisional website at

And, yes, the old Maoist images on the site are ironic, in the same way that they were in News from Neasden: a catalogue of new radical publications which appeared in the 1970s. Anyone with a run of that... do contact me.

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