According to many retailers, today is ‘Black Friday‘, an over-used marker that generally refers to infamous events and, in this case is an enticement to rush to stores to jostle with other shoppers and buy knock-down bargains. Could it be that the retailers want to clear out old inventory by putting sale stickers on it and spicing with a few loss leaders (but not enough to hurt the bottom line). It developed in the US as an explosion of shopping after Thanksgiving and recently began to be exported across here. Last year there were shameful scenes at many UK shops although this year it appears to be running more politely.
Some book retailers in the UK have come up with an interesting counter stance and are promoting ‘Civilised Saturday‘. It is still a marketing ploy but one that seeks to bring shoppers down to the shops by putting on cultural events to decorate the experience. Blackwells on Broad Street is participating and, alongside many featured events, they are also having live music in store, which is where I get my foot in the door.
Alongside the inestimable Martin Ash, I will be playing my six string bass for a couple of hours of jazz and folk based music. We’re on from 12:30 – 2:30 in the Broad Street store and you don’t even have to pay to come in or buy a book (although, to be fair, entering a store like Blackwells surrounds you with temptation!). Anyway, best be off to practise my jazz chords, just in case we do that famous number “I Jazz Chord to Say I Love You”.