Sunday, 20 July 2014

Opening September 27th!

Hello you
September 27th will finally see the shop open it's doors for the first time. We'll be based at Fargo Village in Coventry with other like minded people. There are several events booked in the shop for the first month, with three happening on the first weekend.
On Saturday 27th at 10.00 the shop will be opened by local best selling author Rosie Goodwin, who took over the official reigns of Catherine Cookson and now has over 20 books under her belt. She'll be signing too!
Later in the evening we have Paul Le Keux who will be spinning blues and jazz vinyl whilst you enjoy the array of cake (and more) on offer.
On the Sunday the brilliant Wes Finch will be playing in the evening, along with Matt Lakey and hopefully another top local artist. Wes and Matt have both recorded a Big Comfy Session so to get them in the shop is fab!

There are more events over the following weeks but these will all be announced very shortly. There's a poetry open mic, Q and A's and of course, signings!

I'd love to see the shop packed to the rafters so please come down for the opening, then keep coming back! If you're on Facebook, you can add yourself to the Facebook event HERE.

Michael

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Target SMASHED! New target to get to in 2 DAYS!

In a little under 2 weeks the £1500 target for the crowd fund was hit, then some more came in.
I was contacted by the Crowd Funder people who said "This is the best crowd fund ever in the history of crowd fund" (I possibly over reacted there) but anyway, they encouraged me to go for double. So I did!
The extra money raised will go towards more events, more bookcases, joining the Booksellers Association and just a general set up of the shop.
They even featured me on their blog right HERE in which they call me enterprising. I KNOW!
I've updated the Crowd-O-Meter (which they lovingly called) and it looks like this.

There are only 2 DAYS LEFT to pledge. If we manage to get to £3000 then I'll host a big party just for pledgers with music, food, drink and more.

There are a few new pledges added too.
You can get a slice of the action by going to:
http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/TheBigComfyBookshop/

Please pledge, pledge some more, then share with the world.

Michael

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

An update on Crowd Funding

When I started the Crowd Fund I was quietly optimistic I could hit the £1500 target in 8 weeks.
Well blow me down by a feather, in 4 hours of it going live there was over £1000 pledged!

This had me dreaming of raising over £50000 in a month and using a grand on the shop then sodding off to the Caribbean.

Alas, the pledges are coming in but it has slowed down a lot. As I write this it stands at £1272 with 22 days remaining (as the time was shortened from two months to one). Still plenty of time but there is a teeny bell in the back of my mind that gets louder by the day.

I've drawn a diagram to show how it's going.

There are EXCLUSIVE items on offer to those who pledge. You can get a Cushion, a T-shirt, a Tote Bag and a Bookmark! Maybe join the Comfy Club? How about giving the big red chair a name for life?

Please help by pledging what you can.
See all the rewards and watch an ace video written, acted, directed, edited (and even music played by) me at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/TheBigComfyBookshop

Thank you

Michael




Thursday, 12 June 2014

Crowd Funding is Live!

Although I've been beavering away for some time now I still need help, so I've set up a Crowd Funding scheme to help with the set up of the shop. Have a look here >>


And please donate. There are some exclusive perks for pledgers!

It has 28 days to run and if I don't hit the target, I come away empty handed (with your funds being returned to you) so please spread the word!

Fingers Crossed!

Michael


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Big Comfy Sessions

At the end of last year my good friend Rob at Redwood Photography suggested recording some videos in the shop of musicians. This is firmly in my territory as I am also a musician in a duo called Barricades Rise and all my studies were in music. Useful. Of course I said yes and then Rob went away and refined his idea. The refinement brought along another fellow friend Richard Harrison who I met on Twitter a few years ago. Rich is passionate about local music, underground music, and basically shoves his oar in everywhere, plus is really handy to press record on a stationary camera. With the wonder team together (and me tagging along) we had a list of artists we wanted to work with. A half day run through with my own band at Robs house was an OK effort and smoothed out six dozen problems, ready to start with the real talent.
The major problem was of course venue. My shop opens September 27th so instead of waiting so long, we approached The Tree House Bookshop in Kenilworth and Victoria very graciously housed us.
In early April, Wes Finch, a local folk singer-songwriter, took the plunge first. I've known Wes a few years through the gigging circuit and he's such a down to Earth gent. The idea was to ask a few questions about books, then play a song. The whole thing was really relaxed. Wes then decided to play a cover too so we ended up getting that down as well which led to The Comfy Cover, where now each act will record a cover too. You can see all the ones recorded so far at www.bigcomfysessions.com.

Here is Wes with his own song Ring on the Riverbed.
We followed that up with the trio Speak, Brother. I had to turn up, record an interview, then leave within 15 minutes due to my own gig so didn't hear the actual song, but I love what Rob and Rich have captured. As it's early days, the interview was a tad too long so Rob cut it, a wise choice I think. We're still working things out with format, but listen to this anyway!
With two local acts under our belt we aimed further afield and were actually swamped! With the initial idea of 1 act per 6-8 weeks we ended up recording 2 acts in 2 weeks and have 2 more lined up next week. Last weekend saw Chains travel to Kenilworth from London to film for us. This duo are blindingly fabulous and have received hundreds of thousands of YouTube hits for their weekly cover songs. Their video's will appear online next month.

Rob, Rich and I are over the moon with the response from the public and the calibre of bands requesting to film. One act lined up is International! A vary big thank you to Victoria at The Tree House Bookshop for her hospitality, and to all who have popped in to say hi (and buy a book) whilst we're recording.

Follow us on twitter at @Redwoodphotos, @mr_spoon and @BigComfyBooks.
Michael

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The progress of The Big Comfy Bookshop

On Monday the tenants of Fargo Village including myself, invaded the place to start measuring up all the units. It was the first time we could all see our units with the partitions in them as before it was one large space. I could finally see what was in my head and start filling in all the gaps. Although only in for half an hour, I still manage to take 56 photos. I measured every bit of space imaginable so now can go back to the drawing board and properly see how to make a shop. I took along my sisters boyfriend Richard, who is a plasterer, van driver, handyman and all-round nice guy. With his expertise we discussed ways to treat walls, coat old beams, lay floors and basically be the most masculine I have ever been. Richard was also a hit with a few other tenants as they dragged him away to view their units! Below is a selection of photos from the visit.

I'm now scouting through various flooring departments (including secret ones known only to Rich!), plus trying to figure out the optimal layout. Alongside this I'm also looking into the catering licenses needed, the music licenses needed, the cost of X,Y and Z which have all been researched to high heaven but now it's coming to the final stretch I feel I need to familiarise myself with what I need once more.

My head is swimming with dozens of questions, and my to-do list, that I keep on my phone, is getting longer. Every time I cross something off, something else pops up.

I also last week met up with Alison Smart who will be, along with Claire Avery, making me cakes. Alison is a friend I've known for around 10 years and she's just started to venture into cakes and they taste delicious. I also contacted Claire as last week she had a baby! Cakes and babies don't mix so it's good there are a few months before she'll need to bake for the shop.

One major decision I have taken is to close the online shop. Although initially it made a great start, it did dwindle and the past few months it's been hard to find the time to keep adding stock. I was invited to try eBay free for a while and already it's been great so I'll be selling online through that for a while instead. If you now type in www.thebigcomfybookshop.co.uk you'll find yourself straight back here on the blog although a new website will be coming soon. Have a browse of the eBay shop HERE.

Overall it is picking up pace and I don't think I have enough hours in the day. I'm now off to post a book order, buy some graph paper, get a haircut ready for a video, call my new bank...

Michael.

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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

My day at the Earlsdon Festival

On bank holiday Monday I took part once more in the Earlsdon Festival, Last year it was the best experience I'd had as a bookseller so this year had some way to go to beat it.
That's my wife it is
Did it beat it? Weather wise no. I came home bright red last year yet this year the sun only broke in sporadic outbursts, but it didn't rain! How about bookselling wise though? Well, YES! My stall was a little bit more organised and I could even show off my Big Comfy Bookshop banner. Once more I spent 6 hours the day before working on the set-up and creating bunting, whilst my wife cut out home made bookmarks, and it was all worth it. Even before the gates opened for the public I had sold half a dozen books to other stall holders and it continued none stop til around 1pm, where the lunchtime lull kicked in, for 10 minutes!
The afternoon heaved with people up until around 3.30, then it started to trail off. One mistake I made last year was I didn't bring enough replenishing stock, so this year I bought 4 boxes worth, and by the end of the day all that was gone! My wife Heidi came along for the ride and helped out and I'm so glad as it was ridiculously busy.

The highlight for me though was meeting so many new people who new about the shop. Every 10 minutes someone would say "I recognise that logo!" or "So when are you moving to Fargo then?" or "I saw you on twitter and have come to say hello". The whole experience filled me with even more optimism that the shop will be a success. 

I hope to attend next year too!

Michael