Saturday, 1 August 2009

One of the bookshop staff 'phoned yesterday

and asked a rather odd question. She had been approached by one of the local government members and asked if the said member could come along to the knitting group that meets on the last Tuesday afternoon of the month. What did I think? (I nominally 'lead' this group.)
Now, for a start, I don't think I am the person to say 'yes' or 'no'. We are guests of the bookshop. Anyone can come along and knit. If they want to buy the occasional book then that is even better but there is no requirement that they should do so.
This person does not want to knit. She apparently said she wanted to find out what are issues of concern for us. I assume she means issues of local concern. It sounds a little odd to me. I threw the ball onto the side of the bookshop's owners but indicated I felt uncomfortable about it. We are a knitting group, not a political group. I think the members of it would feel uncomfortable.
Something similar happened to me once before. I was invited to a "knit and natter" event at the home of someone else. Unbeknowns to me she had also arranged for someone to come along and talk about her "organic cosmetic products". I do not use fancy cosmetics like eye-shadow, blusher or even lipstick. It was embarrassing. It was not what I expected and I probably would have found a polite reason not to attend. Life is too short to attend such functions.
If we have guests at the bookshop knitting group then my feeling is that they should be book or fibre or both related. That is the purpose of the group. It is not there to prop up the political aspirations of a stranger.
The stock in an independent bookshop will, invariably, reflect the interests and views of the person or people who choose the stock. I had been prowling around the bookshop earlier in the day in search of a gift. The request on the Fidra blog for stock suggestions for their new bookshop made me more than usually conscious of what is in our independent bookshop. I am aware that the tastes of the owners are not my tastes. I could still find books of interest. I know they will order something in if it is available. All too often it is not available. That is not their fault but a problem with our archaic protectionist laws relating to publication. The government is in no hurry to change these but seems intent on stifling reading in Australia. I am aware of all the arguments in favour of keeping the status quo.
If we add politics to the mix inside the shop as well as out then we are headed for trouble.

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