Friday, 31 October 2008

A Crusaders memento from New Writing North

I see that New Writing North have posted a lot of photos on Flickr related to their various events and stagings, and amid the general interest it's nice for me to see a selection of shots taken at the Crusaders reading group sessions they ran back in early March at the Living Room bar in Newcastle. A lot of useful conversations come flooding back to me now...
Reading groups are, of course, a big deal these days, and their ubiquity reflects not only the British public's commingled fondness for books, chat, an easy chair and a drink; but also, I think, the problem of how hard it is for working people to make time for recreational reading these days. The group creates a platform for same, a shared social duty and pleasure, and I guess the choice of book has to be carefully calibrated so as not to waste any member's time too egregiously.
It was a fascinating experience for me to get so many direct and varied readers' responses to Crusaders at the Living Room. I was also well aware that, ordinarily, per the aforementioned issue of time management, such groups would tend to be engaged with the likes of The Gathering or The Corrections, or No Country For Old Men or Revolutionary Road, i.e. best-selling or award-winning novels of proven interest; and that Crusaders was on the menu essentially because of the element of local interest and the generous patronage of New Writing North. But I was made to feel nothing but welcome by those groups, as the NWN photos remind me, and by god they had all dauntlessly made their way through Crusaders, even before they gave their informed responses, so in a sense I owed them all a big drink.
I don't remember what was going on in the 'pointing' shot though it's quite possible I was referring to some incident in Crusaders that took place in a real location about 50 yards from the pub door...

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