Author Topic: Bookstore in London left alone by Rioters  (Read 1405 times)

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Offline Matthew

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Bookstore in London left alone by Rioters
« on: September 21, 2011, 10:44:05 AM »
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  • The shop that no rioter wanted to loot... because it sells books
    David Cohen
    21 Sep 2011


    On the worst night of London rioting almost every shop in Clapham Junction was ransacked - except one. The bookshop.

    In one of the most telling images of the summer, looters stole TVs, hair products and iPods, but the Waterstone's branch was left untouched.

    The "joke" the next day was that the rioters do not know how to read. Simon, the manager of camping shop Blacks, watched it all from an upstairs window, hiding in terror as hundreds of looters plundered his shop and the street.

    "They smashed our window, ripped the plasma TVs off our walls, took all our jackets and rucksacks. I saw them go into Claire's Accessories, break into NatWest, liberate our neighbours Toni & Guy of hair products. They carted off iPods from Currys, clothes from Debenhams, mobile phones from Carphone Warehouse. I was horrified.

    "But Waterstone's, directly opposite us was untouched. For the looters it was as if it did not exist."

    When Waterstone's deputy manager Alicia Baiger arrived next day to a street littered with broken glass and debris, she was amazed to find that her shop - with its £199 Sony eReaders and three-for-two £10 paperbacks - had suffered "not even a scratch".

    What this free-for-all revealed better than any consumer behaviour poll could, is that many young people have no desire for books. Not even when they are apparently free.

    Something must be done to address illiteracy in London, and the Evening Standard is trying to play a small part in the solution. In a packed, buzzing conference room in Islington library, our first volunteers are being trained as reading helpers.

    From undergraduates to retired bankers, they will shortly be placed in schools to support children who have fallen behind in their reading. They came because they were inspired by the Evening Standard's Get London Reading campaign which seeks to fund an army of helpers trained by our partner charity, Volunteer Reading Help.

    All summer, VRH has been processing applicants. Of the 700 people who applied, 350 have been interviewed, 330 have been dispatched for Criminal Records Bureau approval, and 68 have already been trained and placed in schools.

    "The quality of applicants has been extremely high and now it's all systems go," said VRH chief executive Sue Porto.

    "A further 200 Evening Standard volunteers will be trained this month and next at 20 special sessions across London, from Hackney to Hounslow.

    "We expect to have 170 volunteers in schools by the October half-term, which means a critical helping hand for more than 500 children. VRH aims to phase in the rest of the volunteers to help at least another 500 children as the school year unfolds."

    The Standard visited a training sessions to see who responded to our literacy drive, and why. The 18 trainees attending in Islington were a vibrant, confident, multicultural group who will be deployed mainly in schools in deprived parts of east London.

    Rosie Agnew, 27, one of two VRH trainers in attendance, is tasked with giving them the skills, strategies and ethos they will need.

    "The response to the Standard campaign has been fantastic," she said. "Twenty per cent of the 700 applicants are men, twice as many as we usually get, and there are more younger applicants too, with one in six under 30 and nearly half under 50."

    Each volunteer must be available for two 90-minute sessions a week during school term for a year, no small commitment. So what motivated them to sign up? Investment banker's daughter Abigail Golob, 23, who is studying physiotherapy at St George's Hospital in Tooting, wants to help children who struggle to read like she once did.

    "I remember hating the books I was given to read as a child," she said. "I read very, very slowly and would quickly fall behind. Reading was something I did at school because I had to, but I detested doing it at home.

    "I was afraid of big books, so my mother's resolution was to chop them into manageable chunks, physically ripping them down the spine so I could tackle them in sections. It worked, I persisted, and Harry Potter was the first book I read all the way through."

    Abigail was inspired to sign up after reading the stories of children with no books at home. Despite a privileged upbringing, she said she sees the costs of being unable to read all around her.

    "I have a friend who grew up in care and can't read and my boyfriend is the same. They have the reading age of 10-year-olds. The other day I opened a tin of artichokes and my boyfriend couldn't read what it said on the tin.

    "I see how people regard him as stupid because he is illiterate, and how hard it is for him to get a job. I want to help children avoid that fate and open their eyes to the fun reading can bring."

    For David Morris, 73, a retired businessman, becoming a volunteer is payback time.

    "It was only because I got one-on-one help in my last year of high school that I learned to read," he said. "I grew up in Dagenham, but there was a lot of instability at home and I was moved to five primary schools in four years.

    "At high school, I was put in the lowest ability group where people made animal noises and just messed about. Later they wanted to make me a prefect, but I declined because prefects had to read on stage from the Gospels - and I couldn't read.

    "It was only when my father bought a TV that I taught myself to read the Radio Times so I could work out what was on the telly. In my final year of high school, a teacher gave me one-on-one attention and it helped enormously."

    Jaishri Hamilton, 53, who came to London from Tanzania at 18, is a retired investment banker living in Wanstead. "The campaign in the Standard made me think about people who have been less fortunate and I am keen to play my part," she said.

    Irene Chung, 67, a mother of five from Palmers Green, retired as a facilities manager this year. "I was schooled in the Caribbean where books were hard to come by," she said. "I find it difficult to comprehend that children in London have so much and yet squander their opportunity."

    Penny Cook, 21, an English undergraduate at Greenwich University and the youngest trainee, said: "I am here because my nan was illiterate - and because you can't do anything in life if you can't read."

    Over two days, the group is taught how to win the trust of reluctant readers, tips for building pupils' self-esteem, games to play as ice-breakers, and encouraged to see the world from the point of view of the child. "These trainees are very high quality," said Ms Agnew.

    "They are excited, a bit apprehensive, but absolutely up for it. In a few weeks they will be placed in schools and each will be assigned three children. The vanguard of new Get London Reading volunteers is about to make an impact."
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    Offline Graham

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    Bookstore in London left alone by Rioters
    « Reply #1 on: September 21, 2011, 11:40:39 AM »
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  • That's a funny story. If you'll allow me to diverge a bit, I have to wonder whether literacy (mass literacy) is important in a traditional society, such that traditional Catholics should be bemoaning the increasingly poor literacy of the modern world. A literate culture whose primary medium is the written word, being more rational, clearly tops a semi-literate TV-centric one, but I think an oral culture tops a literate one.


    Offline Telesphorus

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    Bookstore in London left alone by Rioters
    « Reply #2 on: September 21, 2011, 12:38:09 PM »
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  • Quote from: Graham
    That's a funny story. If you'll allow me to diverge a bit, I have to wonder whether literacy (mass literacy) is important in a traditional society, such that traditional Catholics should be bemoaning the increasingly poor literacy of the modern world. A literate culture whose primary medium is the written word, being more rational, clearly tops a semi-literate TV-centric one, but I think an oral culture tops a literate one.


    Being a reader is obviously very important, but it is true that "literary" people tend to express the bad philosophies and morality of modern society in a far more pronounced and perverse way than simple-minded tv drones.

    Great literature is an awesome thing that can allow one to share in the extraordinary perspective and insights of great writers.

    All the same, most of the time, it goes right over peoples heads.

    The decline of poetry is probably the most significant trend in literature.

    Offline Graham

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    Bookstore in London left alone by Rioters
    « Reply #3 on: September 21, 2011, 01:23:35 PM »
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  • Quote from: Telesphorus
    Quote from: Graham
    That's a funny story. If you'll allow me to diverge a bit, I have to wonder whether literacy (mass literacy) is important in a traditional society, such that traditional Catholics should be bemoaning the increasingly poor literacy of the modern world. A literate culture whose primary medium is the written word, being more rational, clearly tops a semi-literate TV-centric one, but I think an oral culture tops a literate one.


    Being a reader is obviously very important, but it is true that "literary" people tend to express the bad philosophies and morality of modern society in a far more pronounced and perverse way than simple-minded tv drones.


    I agree, in a contingent way, that being a reader is very important: it gives us access today to thoughts that have long since died out in the cultural ‘mind’. In a culture where epic poetry, for instance, thrived orally, I wouldn’t think it important to be a reader at all, unless one was unusually learned.

    Today’s literati are often snobs who turn up their noses at the logical outcomes of their own perverse ideas. This fact isn’t exactly what I had in mind when I criticized mass literacy in the earlier post, since I’m well aware that the print medium informed some relatively admirable cultures in the West for close to 400 years. I’m trying to say that mass literacy may be an incipient decadence, and I’m not convinced that Traditional Catholics should emulate fake conservatives and liberal snobs in bemoaning its deterioration in the modern world. You said yourself that what tradition needs is a new civilization. Well, that won't be created by improving literacy.

    Quote
    The decline of poetry is probably the most significant trend in literature.


    And poetry is made for oral recitation. It wasn’t invented for print. In a way, print makes poetry obsolete.

    Offline Telesphorus

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    Bookstore in London left alone by Rioters
    « Reply #4 on: September 21, 2011, 01:42:42 PM »
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  • Quote from: Graham
    Well, that won't be created by improving literacy.


    Many traditionalists are lacking knowledge they should have.

    Quote
    And poetry is made for oral recitation. It wasn’t invented for print. In a way, print makes poetry obsolete.


    That's sort of like saying that recording devices make acoustic music and live performance obsolete.  

    The fact that people do not generally appreciate such things shows the impoverishment of culture compared to 100 years ago.


    Offline Catholic Samurai

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    Bookstore in London left alone by Rioters
    « Reply #5 on: September 21, 2011, 02:22:19 PM »
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  • Quote from: Matthew
    The shop that no rioter wanted to loot... because it sells books
    David Cohen
    21 Sep 2011



    "They smashed our window, ripped the plasma TVs off our walls, took all our jackets and rucksacks. I saw them go into Claire's Accessories, break into NatWest, liberate our neighbours Toni & Guy of hair products. They carted off iPods from Currys, clothes from Debenhams, mobile phones from Carphone Warehouse. I was horrified.

    "But Waterstone's, directly opposite us was untouched. For the looters it was as if it did not exist."

    When Waterstone's deputy manager Alicia Baiger arrived next day to a street littered with broken glass and debris, she was amazed to find that her shop - with its £199 Sony eReaders and three-for-two £10 paperbacks - had suffered "not even a scratch".



    Her shop wouldn't have been so lucky if I had been there!  

    *Not that I would ever engage in looting, but out of all of those shops I would consider the bookstore to be the goldmine! HalfPriceBooks, here I come!  :dwarf:
    "Louvada Siesa O' Sanctisimo Sacramento!"~warcry of the Amakusa/Shimabara rebels

    "We must risk something for God!"~Hernan Cortes


    TEJANO AND PROUD!

    Offline Graham

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    « Reply #6 on: September 21, 2011, 02:23:33 PM »
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  • Quote from: Telesphorus
    Many traditionalists are lacking knowledge they should have.


    What does that mean? It's so vague I can't agree or disagree. I've already noted that in the modern world, being a reader is important. But the importance of us reading is contingent on the fact that we're living in a deceitful and decadent culture. Widespread literacy isn't a fundamental necessity for healthy culture, in fact it's probably harmful.

    Quote from: Telesphorus
    That's sort of like saying that recording devices make acoustic music and live performance obsolete.

    The fact that people do not generally appreciate such things shows the impoverishment of culture compared to 100 years ago.


    Recording devices have certainly had an effect on the way we create and listen to music, comparable to the way print has effected the way we think and speak. In both cases there has been a 'disenchantment', a de-poeticizing, and I'm not convinced it's something to be championed by those seeking to create a new civilization.

    Offline Telesphorus

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    « Reply #7 on: September 21, 2011, 02:25:27 PM »
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  • Quote from: Graham
    What does that mean? It's so vague I can't agree or disagree.


    I mean they aren't taught some fundamental things that Trad Catholics (about history, politics, etc) should know, partly because of a low level of education.



    Offline stevusmagnus

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    Bookstore in London left alone by Rioters
    « Reply #8 on: September 21, 2011, 02:30:46 PM »
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  • Books are like kryptonite to a looter.

    Offline Wessex

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    « Reply #9 on: September 21, 2011, 07:04:44 PM »
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  • Waterstone's is a national chain of bookshops that thrives on selling the 'autobiographies' of countless celebrities written by others. It provides an adjunct to the huge vanity culture of which the rioters are in their own way wanting to be a part.

    All those noble citizens rushing to the aid of a lost generation need to question the billions of pounds poured into a modern education system that produces minds that are unfit for anything constructive. In what language are they going to communicate? Cell phone shorthand, rap lyrics or the pigeon English of restive immigrants?

    Offline Graham

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    « Reply #10 on: September 21, 2011, 07:27:57 PM »
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  • To follow up on what I said earlier -

    " ... this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.

    ... only in principles of justice and goodness and nobility taught and communicated orally for the sake of instruction and graven in the soul, which is the true way of writing, is there clearness and perfection and seriousness ... " - Plato


     

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