The Aardvark Blog
Last week saw the Aardvarks in full culture mode, and the shop continued to be very busy every day. Tuesday we were invited to the Hereford College of Art Degree Show in their new building on the campus of the National School for the Blind. The standard of both the decorative and fine art students is always very high, and we were impressed as always by the metal work, sculpture, textiles and fine art.
Arthur Aardvark purchased a painting by young Irish artist Daniel Tolan, although upon pickiing it up this week it turned out to be larger than any of the available walls in his burrow.
Friday night was the performance by Jordi Savall in Brampton Bryan Church. A packed audience ( the second highest ticket sales for any of the events at this year's Gregonyg Festival ) heard the maestro play a variety of pieces on his Bass Viol ( or Viola da Gamba ) many of them by soldier composer Tobias Hume. Last year Savall was presented with the Legion D'Honneur by the people of France, and although we in Brampton Bryan cannot offer him anything equivalent, we were delighted to have such a distinguished musician in our midst. After many minutes of applause and two encores ( or Deux Bis as they say in France ) we headed out into the night delighted. Our musical Humours restored.
Meanwhile big news in the world of books is that James Patterson is repeating what he did in the US last year and offering grants to independent book shops to help them promote reading amongst children and young people. At Aardvark young readers are very close to our heart and we invested much of our time, money and effort into the Bookburrow and our programme of activities for young readers. We will certainly be applying for some of Patterson's bounty and just need to work out which of our many ideas is the most appropriate. It is great to see some-one who has been successful give back, and I hope that Patterson's great gift will receive a suitably enthusiastic response from British bookshops.
Finally on the subject of books I have bought a number of parcels of books this week and the shelves in some sections are definitely groaning. At the weekend I bought a couple of hundred childrens books - mostly the lastest fiction releases, but also some superb childrens picture books - whilst today I bought the best collection of books on Jazz that I have seen for some years. Add in over 100 science fiction novels, a collection of books on science and mathematics, some country books, literary fiction and travel books, and this has been quite an exciting week for book purchases. Catherine has also ordered a new selection of cards from Simon Drew, so we have also had several days sniggering at his marvellous visual jokes. As I write this I have in front of me a card with a mole and an icecream sundae on it and the caption 'a nose by any other name would smell a sweet'.
Saturday sees the opening of our prints and book arts exhibition Cut, Carve, Ink and Print, and so today we have had several of the artists through hanging and talking about their work. The hanging will complete tomorrow and I am looking forward to seeing what all the works look like together. This year has seen our biggest programme of art exhibitions since we have started, so don't be surprised if Aardvark Books and Café should change its name to Aardvark Books, Gallery and Café!
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New Year greetings, arrivals and departures, books. books, books
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