Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A year of Big Comfy Sessions

OK, so not exactly a year, but we have no more sessions booked before January so here's a top 5 of my personal favourite Big Comfy Sessions of 2014 and separate top 5 Comfy Covers.
First off, a massive thanks to Rob at Redwood Photography (@redwoodphotos) for being the brainchild (brainman?) behind the idea. Without him none of this would be possible. Also a massive thank you to Richard (@Mr_spoon) Harrison for getting on his knees, contacting artists and begging. And also filming too. The two of them are like an old married couple; arguing all the time but solid as a rock. Finally thanks to Victoria at the Treehouse Bookshop in Kenilworth who very kindly hosted them til The Big Comfy Bookshop (@bigcomfybooks) opened.

So here's my top 5 Big Comfy Sessions:

1. Vena Portae
Richard dealt a major trump card by getting Emily Barker in to record. She was on tour with her new band Vena Portae so they all came along for the ride. It was the most fun interview I did and I could have continued for ages. When we told Victoria who'd be coming to The Treehouse, her email reply was one of many capital letters and much aarrgghhs. Her favourite artist I think!



2. Luke Jackson
I had never heard of Luke Jackson before but Rob swore he was great. He stopped off as he was travelling from Stockport to Kent. He was outstanding. His voice, his guitar playing and his general niceness. He's since gone on to support Marillion on their European tour.



3. artPACKT with Rosie Bans
I had personally known Rosie for about 3 years as we crossed paths at a gig my band Barricades Rise played in London. We'd stayed in touch and when I heard they were doing a small tour I grabbed her, along with Anne McDonald and Mike Nisbett AKA artPACKT. They were hilarious!



4. Chains
I'd heard of Chains as Rich was a fan, and they'd notched up a fair few youtube hits with their covers but I wasn't expecting the duo to be so funny, tight, and downright brilliant. It was probably this session that made me think we're really onto something cool here.



5. Nizlopi
By this point (around 13 acts later) I didn't really get nervous about the interview part, but when Nizlopi came in I had a few flutters. They had a number one in the mid 00's with the JCB song (which incidentally I never heard!). They had regrouped to go on tour and as they're from Leamington they very kindly dropped in beforehand. They were CRAZY! So animated and open with their answers.



So that's the originals, and now here's my top 5 Comfy Covers.
What we've found is that the playing and interview go really well, but the point when we ask the artists to speak direct to the camera and say 'This is my comfy cover...' they get so nervous and crack up!

1. Chains (again)
They did this off the cuff and as 1 take. They'd never played it before and pulled it out the bag. Beautiful



2. Spooky Wagons
Sometimes the artists play covers by bands even less well known then they are! (Looking at you Speak, Brother!), but Spooky Wagons took it the other way and covered a recent top ten tune.



3. Shanade
I knew literally nothing about Shanade as she was a last minute replacement the night before. She blew me away completely, with several other Fargo Village tenants stopping work to poke their heads in.



4. Wes Finch
The very first Comfy Cover. Wes was a gent as he was our guinea pig and he came up trumps with this lovely cover.



5. Roxanne de Bastion
Roxanne was pissed off. The latest John Lewis add had stolen her idea of a cover. But she played it anyway. And it was ace.



We had 19 sessions since April, and have already got 8 booked for 2015.
Thanks to all who played.

You can view all sessions at www.bigcomfysessions.com

Merry Christmas
Michael



Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Build up to Christmas

It's nearly that time of year again. To celebrate, we have a selection of events to entertain you. On Wednesday 17th Wes Finch returns to the shop after his opening weekend stint here. He'll be bringing Sam Griffiths all the way from Yorkshire along for the ride too. Tickets can be bought from the shop or here.
On Thursday 18th everyone is free to attend out Christmas sing-a-long in the shop with mince pies, mulled wine and a piano! Emily Coates will lead us into several cheesy Christmas tunes, carols and classics. Feel free to sign a long or just sit and relax.
On Friday 19th I take my very own Bookshop virginity as my own acoustic duo Barricades Rise play. We haven't played for some time but love to throw ourselves in at the deep end. Expect string breaks, songs forgotten and general messyness, but always with smile on our faces. Tickets are selling really well for this so grab them quick as the capacity is only 60.

On Saturday 20th at 12pm we have Debbie Greenway back to give a great children's storytime. All can attend and it's free!

In other news, last week we hosted Miranda Dickinson's book launch and it was fab! Here's a few pictures.



Be sure to check the up-to-date events guide.

Merry Christmas.

Michael

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Poetry, music, books and cake

Hello
As the shop is just over 6 weeks old I thought I'd write a nice little piece on how it's going. The bottom line is, it's good. I have my dream job! I love it.

There are of course a few niggles to iron out but overall it's been positive, so let's focus on that.
First off, the events held so far have been excellent. The first poetry night, Fire and Dust, was attended by nearly 50 people and was a huge success and we'll be having them back in December (date tbc). We've held a further 2 poetry evenings which have been attended in healthy numbers. The Nightblue Fruit evening was even attended by the Mayor of a Coventry!
Our gigs have also been a great success. We've had Ed Prosek all the way from Brighton, supported by Dan Wilde all the way from Canterbury. This was almost a sell out!
From Scotland, Rosie Bans, Mike Nisbet and Anna MacDonald played a very intimate gig to a captivated audience and just last week we had the Mercian String Quartet (minus 1) who played an hour of music from films based on books. It was such a wonderful early evening and we'll be having them back in the new year.
Alongside the gigs we've been continuing recording the Big Comfy Sessions, Ed, Dan, Rosie et al all recorded a session for us and can be viewed at www.bigcomfysessions.com.

Over the coming weeks up til Christmss we've continued to book doe top performers. This Sundat (Nov 16th) we have Roxanne de Bastion from London supported by local woman Katie McAuley. On November 29th we host another London band Ranagri, who are a four piece trad folk act supported by local act Speak, Brother.

December the 6th is a huge day for us as we've managed to snag best selling author Miranda Dickinson who will be launching her new book I'll Take New York in the shop from 1pm! Miranda has sold over half a million books and is a regular on the Sunday Times best sellers chart. She'll be signing and reading from her new novels perfect for Christmas!
In the evening of 6th we have Jinder, an acoustic folk artist all the way from London.
The following day on 7th will be The Legend Of Everwinter day! Local author Tara Behan and Matt Hill will be bringing the Christmassy book to the shop and signing. There will also be the winner of Comfy at Christmas young persons short story competition announced.

There are several more gigs booked so please check the events page and twitter for up to date info.

Michael



Saturday, 18 October 2014

I'm Comfy At Christmas!

The first "I'm Comfy at Christmas" short story competition is now open!!
Stuck for something to do this half term? Then get creative and write us a story!
The competition is open to all young writers in the UK and has two categories: 12 -17 years and up to 11 years old.
The theme this year is 'Christmas!' so let your imagination run wild! We're looking for imagination and the ability to take the reader on a journey. Your Christmas themed short story can be up to 2000 words maximum and must be written in English. There is no minimum word limit! Your story can be dramatic or hilarious, we don't mind! It can even be a bit odd!
Entry is free although we will accept just one entry per person, so make it a gud'un! All entries should be original and your own work. The stories should not have won a writing competition previously or been published before.
The competition will be judged by our selected judging panel: Michael McEntee (owner of The Big Comfy Bookshop), Tara Behan, author of children's book The Legend of Everwinter, and a third secret judge. Their decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. Unfortunately, we cannot provide feedback on all the stories entered.
The winner in each category will have their story published on The Big Comfy Bookshop website, receive a special edition winners bookmark, £20 to spend in store and a TBCB T-shirt. Their story will be read at our special awards event in The Big Comfy Bookshop on the 7th of December, 2014.
How to Enter
Email your story to contact@thebigcomfybookshop.co.uk with the subject heading "I'm Comfy at Christmas!" Write at the top of the email your name, address, phone number and the title of
your story. Then either paste your story into the body of the email or attach as a word doc. Our judges will only receive your story and not any personal details to ensure judging is fair.
Deadline: 15th November 2014
Good luck!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

What a week! We are now open!!

On September 27th we finally FINALLY opened! The day and whole weekend was a complete success with nearly 10k passing through Fargo, and I think 99% of them visited The Big Comfy Bookshop too! On Saturday Rosie Goodwin kicked things off for us with a signing, then at 2pm Debbie Greenaway did a brilliant story time with loads of kids. At 6pm Paul Le Keux spun the vinyl of classic R&B and Blues tunes til around 9.30. The place was rammed from 12 til about 6 then it was a constant stream of people.
On Sunday it was more of the same as we had a big queue at one point going out the door! Wes Finch and Matt Lakey took to the stage at 6pm to perform for an hour to a lovely cosy crowd.
The week following was a mixture of book pricing, alphabetising and coffee making with it all to start again on Saturday. But first in between that, on Thursday, we hosted the first poetry night entitled Fire and Dust ran by Silhouette press. We anticipated 20 people but had just shy of 50 and it was rammed! Such a fantastic night, with others now requesting details of the next (Oct 22nd!).
The weekend just gone was much busier than I thought and it was steady throughout.
I finally took a day off yesterday to recharge. A massive thanks to Rob and Marta, Jenny and Simon and my wife Heidi for being there so much and helping serve and balloon. Love you all!

Here are some pictures taken on the opening day by my best buddy Jonathan of J S Coates photography.
























Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Open Saturday!!

I've been so busy that this site was neglected. But we open Saturday! Here are pictures


I've also been heralded as one of the top ten places to visit at Fargo by the Coventry Telegraph

So busy!
Speak soon!

Michael

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Opening this month!

Since I picked up the keys on Aug 4th it's been very hectic in my life. Firstly, the electrics were not actually finished so there was a week of frustrated twiddled thumbs whilst it all was put in. At the weekends I could get in and paint and I did just that, along with friends, family and strangers off twitter we managed to paint 95% of the shop in 2 days. The following week once the electrics were in I could tidy it up more nd finish the painting. I'm currently in the process of adding a border and counter, then shelves to go in at the end of the week.

One thing I didn't mention is that in the middle of all this, my wife gave birth to my beautiful son Sebastian, so that's been a bit of a blur!

There have been leaky ceilings, hanging wires, water pipes and general haphazardness. But it's still going to open on September 27th.
Here are a few pictures.



We're also full steam ahead with the Big Comfy Sessions and we managed to pull a coup with getting Emily Barker in with her new band Vena Portae. See the video