Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Old pictures of Ramsgate and ramble

With Homebasics in Ramsgate going on the market and the recent closure of Farley’s in Ramsgate, the independent shop in a town, where you can actually buy something and take it home with you, is weighing on my mind.

As a sort of historian I am aware that English towns mostly developed around trading and the progression to a nation of shopkeepers was influential in forming our society I’m sort of wondering if the shops all go what you have left.

Will our towns sort of undevelop? Are they already on the way?

I have had a day of dealing with correspondence, mostly the replies from the other day, mingled with do you know anything about what my house in Margate used to be and where did my granny live in Broadstairs.

There seems to be another increase in people moving to Thanet again, this one has come and gone a bit over the years with Ramsgate in particular seeing big influxes after both word wars because a lot of the houses were empty at the end of them.

I see my self as an UFS rather than a DFL as when we had been living in Salisbury I, being disabled was at boarding school in Hampshire, got a letter from mi mum with a train ticket to Ramsgate where she had bought a guesthouse.

Some of my emails were to important people and in the strange world of the internet some of them obviously feel themselves too important to reply to a shop assistant like me.

Stranger though than that is the ones where you write to the email address of a person running a major organisation and get an automated reply implying that the person at the top who you sent it to isn’t aware of their email correspondence.

Apart from the obvious issues surrounding “Hi Head of big organisation, here is the evidence that you workers have their fingers in the till.” There is the much worse aspect of the liability issue surrounding “Hi the lifejacket I bought from your company sinks.”

The other side of this coin is the VIPs’ who reply courteously and promptly, or who obviously have someone they trust to do this for them. Of course with me, being in the booktrade, it’s often authors, so I suppose they may have more important things to write.

In the arts and with literature the bookseller was traditionally an important factor in the relationship between the writer and the reader, the virtual absence of independent new bookshops seems to be having a marked impact on the UK’s production of new literary authors.

Looking at the wiki 21st century authors nearly all of the big names seem have got established before the late 20th century and the demise of the independent bookshop.  

This type of thing is tricky to confirm and would have once been a subject of interest at Booksellers Association Bunfights, as a secondhand bookseller who has tried to generate a reasonable quality of stock while competing with internet prices, I have been wondering if there is any way to achieve this with new bookshops.

I suppose I’m rather focused on the business of the internet technology and how it is impacting on our lives. With book customers I am heating a lot less of I wouldn’t use technology and a lot more of an understanding that reading using technology and reading from paper are two distinct experiences and readers seem to need both.    

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