Bookfair?

I liked shopping for books at Waterstones, but I suppose that all has to stop now: Waterstones says it can’t pay living wage, as 1,300 authors support staff appeal

No doubt someone will ask how they will ever pay a living wage if people boycott the chain, but that’s unfairly saddling everyone else for its poor management – although, I suppose to shareholders, and the market in general, it’s seen as good management.

To my mind, if you can’t pay a living wage, you can’t afford your real staff costs and you’ve got a problem. And of course, the excuses from the top of the company would be much easier to swallow if those sitting there weren’t so well remunerated despite their inability to pay a living wage. Apparently (if Wikipedia is correct) the managing director lives with his family “…in a 4 storey house in Hampstead. They have a second house in Suffolk, and a third in Scotland.”

I don’t begrudge people making money, but it seems to me that it might make it easier to own several properties if you don’t have to pay your employees fairly…

More Misérables…

EbcosetteApparently people are freaking out that the BBC’s new adaptation of Les Misérables doesn’t have any songs in it.

I don’t know if this is down to general stupidity or simple ignorance about the original Victor Hugo novel. I’ll try not to pass judgement on the levels of ignorance in this country, but instead pose it as a question: are people really this stupid that they think the BBC left the songs out?

Maybe I’m taking the issue too seriously and go with the more humorous retorts. As one bright spark tweeted, “Victor Hugo just messaged. He’s livid that the BBC have taken all the songs out of his musical.”

 

Shakespeare on the tube…

I don’t know how long it’s been there, but I only noticed The Bard on the platform at Charing Cross tube station the other day.

rpt

Apparently it’s a poem called On the Portrait of Shakespeare by Ben Johnson and was opposite Shakespeare’s portrait on the inside of the First Folio edition.

I’m resolved to keep my eyes open for more such things…

More train adventures…

cofI like to finish books once I’ve started them, but yesterday I gave up after thirty pages of disappointment and just left one on a train for someone else to find.

The Fuzzy and the Techie was recommended in a recent newspaper review. It tries to address the Humanities Vs STEM debate and calls for a the two fields to work together for the betterment of technology; to make it more human.

The author makes his point well very early on, but writes in a style that just didn’t sit well with me. It’s not quite businessy, and not quite academic but because of its breezy simplicity, made me think that – ironically – though it’s probably aimed at the more sympathetic humanities audience, he’d probably pitched it at time-poor and thinly (as opposed to widely) read techies.

I abandoned it with a note in the front cover to say that I hoped that whoever finds it will enjoy it. It will probably just end up in the bin the next time someone cleans the train though…

Weird writers…

Well, we’re all a bit weird aren’t we, but some seem to have explored new levels of eccentricity. Jack Milgram has put together another great infographic, this time detailing the idiosyncrasies of famous authors.

It’s one of those long scrolly ones, so click on the pic below to see it in all its glory:

quirks

Personally, I prefer to write with a fountain pen when getting down ideas, my notebooks are all Moleskines, and if I need to be really creative, I like a couple of drinks (no more!) to lubricate the cogs in my head.

This is as quirky as I get!

Today I am Dr. Gachet…

Dr_Gachet

“I’ve done the portrait of Mr Gachet with an expression of melancholy which might often appear to be a grimace to those looking at the canvas. And yet that’s what should be painted, because then one can realize, compared to the calm ancient portraits, how much expression there is in our present-day heads, and passion and something like waiting and a shout. Sad but gentle but clear and intelligent, that’s how many portraits should be done, that would still have a certain effect on people at times.”

Vincent van Gogh