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Showing posts from June, 2010

Slumming in Sussex

I had a splendid day last Wednesday (16 June 2010) popping my proletarian nose into the houses and lives of the Bloomsbury Group. A fascinating programme of visits started at Berwick Church to see the Murals, then to Charleston, and on to Monk’s House. The outing was organised by the Friends of the Women’s Library. If you don’t know about the Women’s Library you are missing a national treasure. Situated in Old Castle Street, London E1 and now part of London Metropolitan University, it is a marvellous resource for women’s history. And – mark this all you university libraries whose mission seems to be to keep out as many people as possible – it is open to all. It’s an art gallery too and puts on some wonderful displays, including the most memorable exhibition Art for Vote’s Sake in 2003 which featured some of the beautiful embroidered banners used in women’s marches. I’ve never been a huge fan of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell’s work but I enjoyed the Berwick murals. The tradition of pa

Topping times

David Mitchell: what’s not to like? He’s intelligent, critically acclaimed, charming, self-effacing, courteous, and if Cloud Atlas (the only of his books I’ve read so far) is anything to go by, an interesting and talented writer – and he watches Dr Who . He proved all this and more on Friday 28 May in Bath at an event organised by Topping and Company. I’ve referred briefly to Topping’s before. I hope that when I die I go to Topping’s: it’s heaven. The independent book shop in Bath has got hand crafted bookshelves, probably more signed books than you’ll see in any other bookshop, and friendly and knowledgeable staff. If you go for a browse they’ll make you a pot of coffee served in pretty blue cups and saucers. If you go to an event they’ll pour you a decent glass of wine. If you tell them you’re looking for a book by what’s-his-name and you can’t remember what it’s about but it’s got scholars in it and you think the author’s Canadian they’ll tell you it’s the Cornish Trilogy and tak