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 29, 2013 • 5:28 pm 2
8th June – 6th July 2013
Blackwell’s are proud to announce that once again, after the success of previous productions such as The Odyssey and Doctor Faustus, Creation Theatre will be treading the boards in our very own Norrington Room, with their production of the well-loved classic, Jekyll & Hyde. Saved by their most generous benefactors and supporters, following the wettest summer in 100 years, Creation will return with their forthcoming production of Jekyll & Hyde. This show will see the company exploring a new approach with an intimate performance to 100 guests each night.
The Norrington Room will be transformed into a spectacular theatre as Creation delight and astound with a story of Good vs. Evil in the body of one man. Taking as inspiration the esteemed work of one of our greatest authors, Robert Louis Stevenson, one actor will embody every role in this tale of gothic horror. Refreshments will be available on the evening, and our expert booksellers will be on hand, should a book take your fancy from the Norrington Room’s almost 3 miles of shelving.
The show will run from Saturday 8th June to Saturday 6th July. Dates and times: Tuesday & Wednesday, 7:30pm. Thursday – Saturday, 7:30pm & 9pm. Running time of one hour. Tickets are available in advance or on the door. Please be aware that seats are limited to 100 per performance, and therefore booking is advised. Seating is allocated. Performances are suitable for adults and children from the age of 8. Seated tickets are £16, standing tickets are £10. Book your ticket online at http://www.creationtheatre.co.uk/booking/how-to-book
April 29, 2013 • 11:56 am 0
The Seven Ages of Oxford’ and several other original watercolour paintings from the new book ‘That Sweet City – Visions of Oxford’ with poetry by John Elinger and illustrated by Katherine Shock will be one of the first exhibitions to be found for Oxfordshire Artweeks which starts officially on 4th May. (Site 66). The exhibition runs right through until 30th May and marks the launch of this new book of poetry, walks with maps and atmospheric illustrations of some well known and some little known haunts of this magical city.
Poet John Elinger (Sir Christopher Ball, former Fellow and Tutor in English at Lincoln College and then Warden of Keble College) lives in and knows Oxford well as does the artist Katherine Shock. Together they pay tribute to the city they love in seven series of seven poems and paintings in the new Signal Books publication and many of the paintings can be found at Blackwell. (Others will be shown during City Week from 4-12 May at Site 154 in the Woodstock Road). The Book is available from 1st May.
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…
February 20, 2013 • 2:45 pm 0
Blackwell’s is proud to announce an evening to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Helen & Douglas House, in conjunction with our ‘Medical Matters’ Medical Week.
On Tuesday 26th February at 7pm, we will be joined by Clare Edwards, the Deputy CEO and Director of Clinical Services at Helen & Douglas House. Clare will be talking about palliative and specialist care at Helen & Douglas House, supported by case studies of the many children, young adults and families that use the hospice for respite, emergency and end-of-life care. Consultant Paediatrician, Dr. Emily Harrop, and Nurse Consultant, Karen Brombley will also be present to offer their expertise on the subject.
In 1982, Helen House opened in Oxford as the world’s first children’s hospice, and they have been supporting families from Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties ever since. To mark their 30th anniversary, they have put together a photo exhibition, ‘We Are Thirty’. It documents life at Helen House and Douglas House, and features 30 children and young adults who use the hospice houses, as well as families who have used the hospice in the past. We will be displaying the exhibition throughout Medical Week and on the evening itself.
We will also be holding a raffle with plenty of fabulous prizes to be won, all the proceeds of which will go to Helen & Douglas House.
So please join us in celebrating and supporting this extremely worthwhile cause.
Tickets for this event cost £4, £3 of this will be donated to Helen and Douglas House. Tickets are available at our Customer Service Department, Blackwell’s Bookshop, 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford. Telephone: 01865 333623.
February 1, 2013 • 1:15 pm 1
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, author of ‘Happy Relationships at Home, Work and Play’, Psychologies agony aunt and psychotherapist, Lucy Beresford divulges her top tips for couples.
Lucy will be joining us on Tuesday 5th February at 7pm to talk about her new book with broadcaster, David Freeman. Tickets cost £3 and are available from our Customer Service Department, Blackwell’s Bookshop, 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford. Telephone: 01865 333623.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and so the thoughts of some of us turn to love and intimacy. Some of us will be in relationships, some of us are looking for a partner, but all of us need to be reminded that long-lasting love must be worked at, consciously, every day.
To begin with, we need to recognise that we often have unmet needs or hopes left over from childhood. Without realising it, we could be trying to repeat a childhood relationship in which we felt unloved or rejected or disrespected. By unconsciously repeating the same kind of relationship as grown-ups, we are trying to repair it. By taking responsibility for what needs we bring to our present-day relationships, we can stop blaming our partner for failing to meet that need.
We also need to pay attention to what happens in the bedroom. For example, porn is having a negative effect on relationships. Recent research has shown that women of all ages are feeling under increasing pressure to look a certain way in the bedroom, and that men speak of being bored by ‘ordinary’ sexual activity. As a result, couples are becoming increasing dissatisfied with their love lives.
But of course, porn is not an accurate representation of intimate relationships. So even if we are newly married, we need to find time to talk sensitively to each other about sex in general and our sex life in particular. Sex isn’t about recreating the same excitements which existed at the beginning of your relationship, but about maintaining a sexual journey, which fulfils and nourishes you and your partner.
Criticism corrodes relationships, so we need to keep cross words to a minimum. It’s helpful to bear in mind how we would feel if someone criticised us all the time. Even if we grew up being criticised in childhood and therefore believe we can’t help ourselves, we do possess the capacity to change. By catching ourselves about to criticise, we can make a choice about whether to carry on doing so. Instead of always looking for the negative, we can try competing with our partner to be the one to say positive, encouraging things, and do loving or helpful things.
Above all, whether we are currently in a relationship or looking for that someone special, remember that the more we put in, the more we put ourselves on the line in a relationship, the more rewarding our intimate relationships can be.
© Lucy Beresford, Happy Relationships
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
December 17, 2012 • 4:05 pm 2
We are thrilled to announce that we be holding a Christmas Shopping Fundraiser Evening, in aid of Creation Theatre, on Thursday 20th December from 6 till 9pm.
Along with Creation Theatre, we invite you to buy those last minute Christmas presents, at our late-night shopping extravaganza. Not only will we be opening later on this night, we’ll also be providing the mince pies and wine for you to get into the Christmas spirit while you browse.
Following the wettest summer in 100 years, and a 50% drop in tourism to Oxford, Creation currently finds itself in great need of support to fund their future. Despite their best efforts, the bad weather has meant that unless they are able to raise £50,000 by the end of the year, they will be unable to proceed with plans for any more shows after their current Christmas show, ‘Aladdin and the Magical Lamp.’ It would be a great loss to the Oxford community if this happened, and so for this evening 20% of all book sales will go towards Creation Theatre.
They will also have a box-office set up on the night, so you can get your tickets to their current Christmas show, ‘Aladdin and the Magical Lamp’.
So join us on Thursday from 6pm, not only to get in some more Christmas shopping before the big day, but also to support one of Oxford’s most-loved institutions.
Aladdin and the Magical Lamp
Thursday 6th December 2012 to Saturday 5th January 2013
The North Wall Arts Centre, Summertown Oxford
If you had three wishes, what would you wish for? This Christmas, Creation Theatre will whisk you away on a magic carpet ride with peasant boy Aladdin, Princess Badr-al-Budur, and a couple of mischievous, magical genies. Along the way you’ll encounter evil scorcerors, secret caves and an enchanted lamp, in this age-old tale of adventure that everyone can enjoy.
Tickets: £13.50 – £25. Box Office: 01865766266. Or book online at www.creationtheatre.co.uk.
December 7, 2012 • 4:57 pm 2
Guest blogger, Caspar Henderson, writes for Broad Conversation on his new book, ‘The Book of Barely Imagined Beings’. We will be holding an event with Caspar on Wednesday 12th December at 5pm. See below for more details.
In The Book of Imaginary Beings, Luis Borges maps a good part of the terrain of myth and story that humans have ever dreamed up. Amongst his inspirations was the medieval European bestiary, or ‘book of beasts’, a genre that reached its full flowering in beautifully illuminated manuscripts, in the decades before the Black Death.
Bestiaries are full of allegory and symbol because, for the medieval mind, every natural creature was believed to embody a religious or moral lesson. Hume and Darwin discredited this way of looking at nature. Our new reality, however, is that as we humans increasingly shape the world through science, technology and our sheer numbers, such other living things as do thrive and evolve are increasingly becoming corollaries of what we love, value or neglect. In this sense, the world is becoming allegorical again.
Our times are more like the Middle Ages than we like to think. We still routinely mix rational thinking, mythology and spirituality, which can be good for us, with delusion and lies, which never are. We may have a vastly greater store of knowledge, and have made enormous strides in human health and political liberty, but it is far from clear that we are capable of using this knowledge wisely, as continuing blockages to rational action on climate change show.
Self-styled techno-optimists such as Stewart Brand, author of Whole Earth Discipline, suggest that we are as gods so we might as well get good at it. Agreed, industrial civilisation has given us awesome powers, but a better characterisation of how we handle those powers is made by Braden Allenby and Daniel Sarewitz in The Techno-Human Condition: We are as gods? No, for we have created the power but not the mind. We have got used to, even blasé about, the possibility of nuclear winter, in the way a two year old gets used to a loaded .357 magnum lying on the floor within easy reach.
A good starting point for a life well-lived is continual effort to enlarge the boundaries of one’s imagination and knowledge to all the dimensions and details of the real world. Henry Thoreau may have written that in wildness is the salvation of the world, but this environmental visionary and political radical was not a wooly thinker. It was Thoreau not the supposedly practical folk around him who refused to believe that Walden pond was bottomless and actually took the trouble to measure its depth with a plumb line. As Richard Feynman later said, our imagination is stretched to the utmost not, as in fiction, to imagine things which are not really there, but just to comprehend those things which are there.
We know that the oceans, for example, contain creatures stranger than anything you will find in a medieval bestiary: beings as tall as men that have no internal organs and thrive in waters that would scald us to death in moments; others which are highly intelligent but able nevertheless to squeeze their bodies through spaces the width of their own eyeballs. We know that there is a vast world of cold darkness on this planet in which almost every creature glows with its own light. Some of the creatures you might find also appear in The Book of Barely Imagined Beings, a work inspired both by medieval bestiaries and the newest discoveries in science. I hope you can join us for the talk at Blackwell’s.
Caspar Henderson’s The Book of Barely Imagined Beings is published by Granta. @casparhenderson and barelyimaginedbeings.com
Join us as Caspar will be discussing his book and signing copies on Wednesday 12th December at 5pm. This is a free event, all are welcome. We advise that you arrive early to avoid disappointment.