Art in Liverpool FM

art in liverpool fm logo webIt's my own personal history project stretching back to 2007 - with hundreds of recorded interviews, podcasts and plays. This section of the site is pretty old so don't expect it to work all the time and ignore it asking for Real Player to be loaded. 

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Friday, 30 October 2009 13:15

Defiant Liverpool

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News From NowhereNews From Nowhere has represented a defiant independence in Liverpool now for thirty five years. It has stood by and watched similar ventures collapse, and managed to seem invulnerable. Of course anything built with a radical motif is very vulnerable, and it has been hit hard by recession, internet shopping and possibly by Liverpool Council's determination to sanitise the city.

They are staying though, and Mandy who was there at the start explains how and why.


“News From Nowhere was started in 1974 by Bob Dent, a friend of mine. He got a little shop on Manchester street near the tunnel entrance. At that point the mainstream bookshops weren't stocking anything unusual or alternative at all, and it was set up to fill the gap. The bookshop grew and moved to bigger but dilapidated premises on Whitechapel and started to become very much a centre for people who were involved in campaigns. At the same time we were broadening out to a wider audience that was looking for any kind of different view on life from what the mainstream were offering. Having said that we were one of many then so after Bob left we consciously became a women's collective and wanted to provide employment for women as well as business skills.

“When we moved to Bold Street, away from the rats and the fascists that were plaguing us in Whitechapel, we had a much higher profile and had become by default the only radical bookshop in Liverpool. Now we are one of the few independent bookshops because there has became such a decimation of the book trade. One of the reasons we have survived, apart from the dedication of the staff, has been because of the support of Liverpool and all its communities.

“We probably do exploit ourselves, we work for minimum wage and many many hours above that voluntarily, and we have volunteers who come in as well. But we are only dedicated like that because we absolutely love our jobs. When I've been on holiday I am glad to get back to work, there are very few jobs you could say that about. I think if there is something to kick against then Liverpool will do it, and people like to have somewhere like News From Nowhere where they can come in and meet with other people to make things happen, and have the literature there to back them up.

“We definitely have people coming in who have different opinions from us. As long as they come in and engage with us then we welcome that. We did one day have two people come in, one accusing us of having too much Jewish literature and the other for being critical of Israel. We see a  complete difference between Jewish people, Israeli people and the Israeli Government, in the same way we saw a complete difference between British people and Thatcherism.

“Having said that we are here to reflect opinions, we do have our own specific opinions, which is partly why we have survived. We are clear about our politics. We have a lot of difference within our collective but we are against oppression, we are anti-sectarian, and, in a very broad sense, libertarian bordering on anarchist. None of us have ever been party-aligned, which is not to say someone would be excluded if they were but our policy as a bookshop is to be non party aligned,  although we will obviously still stock literature by these parties.

“It always makes me proud when people come in that don't know the bookshop and find something that was really important to them. I think its a very safe place for lesbian and gay people to come out. This is probably true of a lot of issues, and our role in this is really important.

“We are going to be struggling through the recession as people are not spending money on things they see as non-essential. But I would like to say that a book for seven ninety nine is much better value than a night out and in the morning you have the book rather than a hangover. But we are determined to stay here and we have had a massive show of support from our customers, which will always keep us going.”

Article and Interview - Paul Tarpey

Find out more by visiting their website www.newsfromnowhere.org.uk

Read 1684 times Last modified on Monday, 03 October 2016 21:40

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