The manager of George Street Community Bookshop in Glossop, singer-songwriter Steve Roberts is undertaking a project to compose songs that explore our relationships with books.
He has funding from Arts Council England and says he is taking the opportunity to act as a propagandist for books and bookshops.
To help him in the task he has set up a survey to find out what it is we love about books and he has commissioned the painting, above, by New Mills artist Paul Gent entitled All Power to the Bookshops!
Steve started his musical career in his home city, Liverpool, in the 1980s and has been involved with a number of bands over the years. A 30th anniversary gig for one of them – Sixteen Tambourines – in the city on November 9 is already a sell-out.
He moved to Glossop in 2008 and he established himself in the area’s musical community getting involved in organising gigs and festivals along with writing songs for short films and stage plays.
“For just over a year now, I’ve also worked part time as the manager of Glossop’s typically wonderful second-hand bookshop. Books are a passion of mine and through the shop I’ve found hundreds of people in the community just as passionate,” he said.
“Over the months the idea for this project came to me from these conversations. My brief is pretty straightforward – write songs that do justice to all the many and personal reasons that people love books.
“To help me I’ve created a survey. It isn’t an academic undertaking; I’m trying to capture the emotional and intellectual heart of our love for books. They hold memories for us along with the stories they impart and somehow, I want to get that content, or spirit and soul into the songs.
“Surveys won’t tell me everything of course but I hope to gain some understanding of why we love books so much. Any support I get from people completing it will help greatly.
“I’m also hoping to encourage reading throughout our community. I know that children love books, they instinctively recognise which books are ‘theirs’ even if they haven’t been in a bookshop before. They recognise something about the colours and typefaces and their faces light up.
“The surveys returned so far confirm my belief. Books for young people are a gateway to enlightenment and thought, to concepts that wouldn’t occur if you’d never read a book.”
If you want to help Steve either go to the bookshop where he has copies of the survey or fill it out online at http://www.steverobertsmusic.com