Rather excitingly we have just passed 5,000 followers on our Twitter account Thanks to everyone who has helped us to reach the milestone, below is a mosaic of some of the most beautiful, intelligent, humorous, best-read people on the planet…
May 15, 2013 • 1:49 pm 0
April 4, 2013 • 1:29 pm 2
Our Music Shop is now in place in a brand new home attached to the main shop.
New shop floor space has been opened up at the flagship bookshop by removing a staircase and opening up a room that was previously a large stock room, as well as freeing up the ‘Oxford shop’ – the room on the other side of The White Horse pub
The Music Shop’s new home looks great and provides yet another reason for people to visit the world-famous Norrington Room – one of the world’s most magnificent rooms of books, built in 1966, which has two and a half miles of shelving and is built beneath the Trinity College quad
The Music Shop specialises in classical CD recordings, music books, printed music, instruments and other accessories and is one of the most respected such places in the UK
But it’s not just classical music – the shop stocks printed music and books covering all genres of music, and the recordings department has sections on Classical, Jazz, World and Folk music, as well as local artists.
There is a single sheet download service available in the bookshop
Just like many Blackwell’s Bookshops, Blackwell’s Music prides itself in the abilities of its staff to offer expert advice. Peter McMullin, one of the most experienced members of staff is recognised both locally and across the industry as being one of the most impressive and knowledgeable specialists in his area – he recently won an award to this effect, being named Printed Music Retailer of the Year at the 2011 MIA Awards
Blackwell’s Music has an especially good relationship with a range of institutions and schools
The Music Shop has a long and proud history in Oxford
The original Blackwell’s Music Shop was located in Holywell Street
It as on the right of the King’s Arms Garage. Before a garage for housing vehicles for customers/guests staying at the pub, could have been stables and courtyard area, where Shakespeare’s King’s Players parked their carts and horses when they performed several times at this place, and became the most popular place in the area for them in the 17th century. (The main entrance to the pub was in Holywell Street).
Blacking of horse leathers was carried out here in the yard in the 18th and 19th centuries.
In 1955 the King’s Arms passageway coming between the two rooms here where Blackwell started the Music Shop. Sir Basil Blackwell had been so impressed by the sales of the 1954 edition of the Grove Dictionary of Music that he felt music merited a separate shop.
In 1955 Mr F. J. Dymond was Manager, and under his management the business expanded considerably.
In 1970 a spacious new building was designed by Gillespie, Kidd and Coia to fit in with the street scene.
Over a mile of shelving was constructed to house the ever-increasing output of standard music literature from publishers all over the world.
The stock at this stage comprised at least 25,000 different items of printed music and 4,000 different books on music, both in English and other languages.
The staff were now twenty-one in number.
Sir Adrian Boult who conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra officially opened the new shop in 1970 on the 9th November. He studied here at Christ Church 62 years before.
The Music Shop then moved to 23-25 Broad Street in 2000
And now a new chapter…
To celebrate the move we have a vibrant programme of musical events planned. These events include:
The Sixteen – Saturday 13th April at 4.30pm
The Sixteen, established 32 years ago, is recognised as one of the world’s greatest ensembles. Comprising both choir and period-instrument orchestra, The Sixteen’s total commitment to the music it performs is its greatest distinction. A special reputation for performing early English polyphony, masterpieces of the Renaissance, bringing fresh insights into Baroque and early Classical music and a diversity of 20th-century music, is drawn from the passions of conductor and founder Harry Christophers, who will sign CDs for half an hour after the event.
Out of the Blue – Friday 26th April at 5.30pm
Out of the Blue is an all-male a cappella group from the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University in England. The student-run group sings an eclectic mix of songs, focusing on covers of modern rock and pop hits.
Oxford Belles – Saturday 27th April at 5.30pm
The Oxford Belles are Oxford’s sassiest, original, all-female a cappella group, made up entirely of Oxford and Oxford Brookes students.
Opera Anywhere are an opera company which specialises in site-specific opera. At the end of May, there are bringing two productions to Blackwell’s Bookshop: one week of The Mikado followed by a week of The Pirates of Penzance.
We look forward to welcoming you…
March 1, 2013 • 3:16 pm 0
Here are some of the lovely books that are currently grabbing our attention at the moment…
February 12, 2013 • 9:38 am 3
It is so easy to forget that there was bookselling going on before the Internet Age. For you nostalgic delectation here is a small insight into how it was done – STOCK CARDS!
We had boxes and boxes of these in every department and would use them to look up whether we stocked a book and also to place orders.
It was a simpler time
You can see from this card that we sold 362 copies of this Penguin edition Propertius: The Poems (the reorder quantities continue on the back of the card), it went into a reprint in November 1989 and that we initially subscribed 80 copies!
Our world has changed…
January 6, 2013 • 12:52 pm 0
Reading aloud is the new sexy according to this piece! We are blessed in Oxford to have a monthly event run by the ebullient Sarah Franklin. She explains all…
Here’s a New Year’s Resolution that’s hard to beat and easy to keep. Come to the Old Firestation on the fourth Tuesday of every month for Short Stories Aloud, Oxford’s friendliest literary night. Hear professional actors read stories by world-famous and up-and-coming authors.
There’s wine, there’s cake, there’s a gorgeous softly-lit room where actors lift the stories off the page. There’s a chance to ask the authors questions in the Q&A afterwards, or just to scoff brownies whilst you listen to other people’s questions.
Featured stories include those by bestselling novelists Ian McEwan, George Saunders, Catherine O’Flynn, Nikesh Shukla and Sophie Hannah, as well as exciting debut authors including Sarah Butler and Julie Mayhew.
Tickets are a mere fiver on the door (£3 concessions): or free admission if you bring us a cake. See, told you we were friendly…
The next Short Stories Aloud show is at 7:30pm on Tuesday, January 22nd at the Old Firestation, 40 George Street. Contact
January 1, 2013 • 2:45 pm 0
“Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
As we face up to a fresh start, a new year, it is time for me to renew my bookselling vows. Primary among these is to find the ‘books of worth’ to put in front of our customers. Some of these books will garner much attention, some less so; some will sit atop the bestseller lists, some will only sell a few; some will have the full resources of a major publishing house put behind them, some will be published by a one man band.
Here then is the first tranche of books that I am looking forward to becoming acquainted with for the first time this year:
A bittersweet recommendation this as it is the last complete work from that most-loved friend of booksellers Maurice Sendak. A veneration of his brother, Jack, this is guaranteed to have added poignancy with the death of the author last year. Due for publication on 31st January.
From one of our greatest living historians comes the story of the first Anglo Afghan war. No doubt there will be parallels to be drawn between this disastrous episode and the current situation. As ever with Dalrymple you will get a rollicking history dripping in authentic detail
James Wood is undoubtedly one of the pre-eminent literary critics of our generation. Expect this collection of 23 essays to fizz off the page – he writes about a variety of influential writers from George Orwell to Michel Houellebecq, Cormac McCarthy to Thomas Hardy. Due for publication on 7th February.
The author was a pioneer of web 2.0 but is now the most credible dissenting voice of the less appealing society that new technologies are likely to mould. Taking off from where his previous book, You Are Not A Gadget, left off this book is a political, technological manifesto for a better future. Due for publication on 7th March
If you like your writing to be imaginative, creative and thrilling then Anne Carson is for you. Her new book is a sequel to the verse-novel ‘An Autobiography of Red’ that was published in 1998. Quite a wait (although not as long a wait as a later entry in this list!) but I have no doubt that it will be worth it as the story of Geyron – “who was red and had wings and fell in love with Herakles” – carries on later in his life.
This looks to be a beautiful book albeit with a salutary tale – this is taken from the author’s Bumblebee Conservation Trust ’In the last 80 years our bumblebee populations have crashed. Two species have become nationally extinct and several others have declined dramatically’
One for the bibliomaniacs to look forward to here – the story of a ring of thieves in 1920s America who stole thousands of rare books to order for secondhand book dealers
From the brilliant Dalkey Archive Press comes an unexpected treat; a collection of shorts by Flann O’Brien, many included in book form for the first time as well as his last, unfinished, novel ‘Slattery’s Sago Saga’ I shall have a large glass of something full-bodied and round to hand in readiness for this
Danny Torrance is back – 36 years after he survived The Shining. It is safe to say that this is the most anticipated novel of 2013. The quality of some of the writing of Stephen King is now, rightly, acknowledged as having literary merit above and beyond his extraordinary popularity. Due for publication on 24th September.
This is just a glimpse at some of the gems coming your way this year and, of course, we would love to hear what books are making you quiver in anticipation. Happy New Year!
Already the need to add to this list has arisen – and how! The concluding part of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s legendary 1930s walk as an eighteen year old from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople is being published in September. ‘A Time of Gifts’ and ‘Between the Woods and the Water’ are, rightly, revered as Travel Writing at its absolute best and although ‘The Broken Road’ is unfinished it is gleaned from an early draft he wrote and his diaries.
And then this
There is no information other than this, but this information is enough to set many hearts afluttering…
Penguin Press to publish new Thomas Pynchon novel this fall called BLEEDING EDGE.—
Ron Charles (@RonCharles) January 04, 2013
December 14, 2012 • 1:50 pm 1
Eek! Time seems to have turned from a trot into a gallop. To give you a bit of help in seeing what appeals this Christmas here is a quick rundown of the books, DVDs, games & other things that we think will appeal to you. Included are some highlights from both our Music shop and our Art shop…
There’s still time to do your shopping but the tock is ticking. Loudly.
December 7, 2012 • 12:19 pm 1
The ‘Summer’ weather was the worst in living memory and coupled with the effect that the Olympics had on tourism outside of London was bad news for our lovely friends at Creation Theatre. They fund their productions exclusively through their ticket sales so a 50% reduction in tourists visiting Oxford has hit them very hard.
We love Creation Theatre – not only are their productions innovative and great fun but they are, collectively, one of the most inspiring groups of people that we have ever worked with. Naturally we want to do what we can to help secure the future for such a culturally important organisation for Oxford.
You can help too by bidding in our book auction:
We have 5 specially signed and dedicated copies of Michael Palin’s ‘Brazil’ The dedication reads “Thank you for supporting Creation Theatre” and 5 signed copies of Philip Pullman’s ‘Grimm Tales’ that we are auctioning. All proceeds of the auction will go to Creation. Of course they would make delightful Christmas gifts but, more importantly, the money raised would help to ensure spectacles such as this are not lost to Oxford:
Place your bid by emailing email@example.com by Wednesday 19th December. Please spread the word along with the raffle that Creation are running, the great work that Barefoot Book and Whistling Cat Books are doing for the cause or by any of these other fundraising ideas. Of course helping to sell out every performance of Aladdin and the Magical Lamp will help too!
Thanks in advance for anything that you are able to do…
December 7, 2012 • 10:53 am 1
Morning all! I’m only after four book titles today from the following picture clues – the clues may be phonetic or literal… As ever answers to firstname.lastname@example.org to have the chance of winning a modest prize. Good luck!
Answers revealed below – thanks for everyone who played, the winner as chosen by Alison out of the hat is Derek! Congratulations
1.(Steve) Waugh + Peas (War & Peace)
2. Tom (Conti) Saw Year (Tom Sawyer)
3. Pride + Pre Judge Ice (Pride & Prejudice)
4. Shots Miss (Marple) Cell NE (Schott’s Miscellany)