Swindon: A Born Again Swindonian’s Guide Book is now available with wonderful help from John Chandler of Hobnob Press.
The central thrust of this book is that of opening eyes, heart and mind to what’s around you. If I want to convey ONE thing with the book it’s this:
That EVEN IF a building, a piece of sculpture, a street, a park bench – whatever it might happen to be – is neglected etc – that doesn’t mean you can’t find beauty, or at least interest, in it. That doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of your attention and consideration. It’s about finding joy in the everyday rather than seeking the big and the spectacular.
Because – chances are – it is. If you only really look!
A timely production
It’s a curious thing. I first had the idea for some sort of Swindon guide book when I was at uni a few years ago and played around with it a bit after graduation.
But then first Secret Swindon, then Swindon in 50 Buildings and the Ken White retrospective got in the way. So it’s been a while in the making. But here we are, in 2020 and caught up in the Covid-19 pandemic.
The resulting lockdown has meant that, for many, we’ve had to stay close to home for for our exercise and fresh air. I’ve got to know more of West Swindon than ever before that’s for sure. And I know that, as life has slowed down, many of us have become so much more aware of our surroundings.
So this book and its strapline/hashtag – #LookdownLookaroundLookup have suddenly become more apposite than I could ever have imagined.
It has photographs in it – mostly from Born Again Swindonian’s chief photographer, Chris Eley. And, were that not joy enough, a number of gorgeous illustrated maps by the lovely, gorgeous, amazing Marilyn Trew.
The difference between this and the other Swindon books, is this one is for getting out and about with, while the others were to sit and read. It’s the one I’ve always wanted to write, ever since I started this blog.
Glitter in the concrete
My friend and poet Carole Bent once wrote about the glitter in the concrete and the sparkle in the cement as a metaphor for life. Yet it’s so true of Swindon. It’s got a rich history, and many wonderful buildings, walks, and works of art – and that’s why I quoted from Carole’s poem in the front of the book. Below is a short video of Carole reading her lovely poem:
Billy Beaumont talking about his Then, When and Now mural on Theatre Square and which I reference in the book:
And a super fun time-lapse video, by the fab Rod Hebden, of a GWR history trail featured in the book – and a perfect CTA at the end!
PS: I’ve no idea why it pixelates as it does – once you click into it, it’s perfectly fine!
And finally – me talking about Swindon and about the book:
Where to buy!
In the first instance you can get the book directly from me. Either:
Send a DM to me on my Born Again Swindonian Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/BornAgainSwindonian/ or drop me a line to: firstname.lastname@example.org – and we’ll sort it out. You can either come and collect from me (I live in West Swindon) or I’ll post.
Central Library Shop: You can also get the book in the library shop in the central library.
NB: The library is not physically open. From 18th August they’ll have a Shop, Select & Collect service.
That lets you browse their stock via Instagram or their blog here: here https://libraryshop.wordpress.com/
You can then email email@example.com with your telephone number and someone will call you back to take your order and payment. Then you can collect what you’ve bought from the library during their opening times.
Caveat Emptor: There’s no walk in access. You can collect your books/purchases from the foyer where staff will put them ready for you.
For more info on the phased re-opening of the library go here: https://www.swindon.gov.uk/info/20026/libraries/1132/covid-19_-_reopening_our_libraries