Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Gay’s The Word.

In summer 1986, on a blisteringly hot day, I paid my first visit to Gay’s The Word bookshop, in Bloomsbury, London. It was like stepping into an Aladdin’s cave of books. Though small, everywhere seemed crammed full of books, every wall was covered in floor to ceiling shelves and every inch of those shelves had books on them. But those books were something else, these were all Lesbian and Gay related books, novels and non-fiction and everything else in between. There were so many books there that I had only ever heard of but had never seen for sale anywhere else before. Back then there was no internet to buy books off, mainstream bookshops didn’t have Lesbian and Gay sections and unless it was a bestseller (which wasn’t often) didn’t even stock Lesbian and Gay titles. Here, at Gay’s The Word, were all those books and magazines I’d had no other access to, books and magazines dealing with so many different aspects of gay life, books and magazines that were my education into gay life.

That first time I visited them I was only on a day trip down to London, I would return to Liverpool and an almost desert of gay literature. When I did move down to London, shortly later, I became a regular visitor to Gay’s The Word. It was my source of so much information and were I could buy so many books I couldn’t find anywhere else.

Times have changed and so have our book buying habits, we buy far more books from the internet, and that has had an effect on Gay’s The Word. Now, due to rising rents, Gay’s The Word faces a financial crisis, they could actually close. We need to support this bookshop because if we lose it, we lose it for good and such a wonderful resource has gone forever.

What can we do?

Well, buy something from it. Gay’s The Word still has an amazing stock, many books that are so difficult to get anywhere else. You do not have to go to Bloomsbury, they sell a lot online or over the telephone.

They have also introduced a scheme were by you can buy a shelf in the shop, thereby actually sponsoring Gay’s The Word.

There’s so much we can do to stop the closure of this wonderful shop.

More details can be found at the website: http://freespace.virgin.net/gays.theword/


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