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Published on April 25th, 2013 | by The Town Crier


My Shout The Last Bookshop

One Saturday afternoon, a few years ago, a bunch of slightly geeky looking guys from Canterbury walked into my bookshop and started asking lots of questions. It turns out that they were from a small film production company called The Bakery who, as it says on their web site like to “bake things.” That is to say that they prepare lots of ingredients, metaphorically mix them in a bowl, blend them all together, knead them into a ball and put them in an oven at 200 degrees to produce wonderful tasty bread or should that be cake? They were a lovely bunch of guys who I could see straight off were passionately enthusiastic about the project they were working on. Within a few minutes they had persuaded me to, not only do an video interview about the state of the book trade as I saw it, but also to have my shop featured in the film they were proposing. They told me that they were going to call the film The Last Bookshop which, with me being a bookshop owner, was quite an ominous thought when I come to think of it!

It took, not far off, a couple of years from that point to the actual premiere of the film and it’s only now that, at last, it’s available for all to view on YouTube. If this were a web site instead of a magazine I’d have, inevitably, put a link here but I’m sure you’ll cope by searching for it once you’re on the site. I’ve now seen it three times and each time I notice another clever bit that I hadn’t seen on previous viewings. Without ruining it for you the basic premise is that a school boy is bored after his home holographic cinema system breaks down (I should have said that it’s slightly surreal and a bit futuristic!) So he is forced to go out into the great outdoors and, among the boarded up shop units of the once vibrant High Street, where he chances upon the last bookshop. And I mean it literally is the last bookshop, so it would seem, in the world.

To continue with the bakery analogy, as well as the flour, water butter and eggs it turns out to have some wonderfully fruity and spicy ingredients as a movie and, like all great films, manages to be both uplifting and sad all at the same time. It plays with our emotions and our senses, stretches our thought process and leaves us hanging and waiting for answers.

Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned yet that my old bookshop, Mr. Books,  when it was around the corner in Bank Street, is featured in the shop as are Halls in Tunbridge Wells, Baggins in Rochester as well as one or two others. There are some great little touches like the stuff about the “Gamazon Corporation” not allowing the books to be sold because they own all the copyrights and the scene when Joe handles a book for the first time in his life and starts to try to scroll and pinch it to make it interactive like he would with his hologram machine.

Some of the ideas which seemed far fetched when the film was made around three years ago are already becoming scarily close to reality. Whether we will ever witness the final days of the physical book and the actual final bookshop remains to be seen, and let’s hope not, but The Last Bookshop, at the very least deserves to be watched, if only because it’s entertaining. I’ll have a bet though that it’ll make you pause for thought on a possible scary future I’m not sure even the darkest minds at Google and Amazon would wish for.


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