The Albion Beatnik Bookstore website (or how a bookshop can change a light bulb)

The web and blog page of the Albion Beatnik Bookstore in Oxford: muses and misspills on books, jazz, poetry, stuff like false flags and smoke screen: is randomly decrepid and is neo-bankrupt: is so analogue it's anal.

The Albion Beatnik


ALBION is an old word for England; BEATNIK is an American slang word for AN ATTITUDE OF MIND, introduced by JACK KEROUAC in 1948 (he claimed from the word ‘beatific’).

The Albion Beatnik Press has just published the Michaelmas edition of Ash, for the Oxford University Poetry Society. It includes poems by A.E. Stallings, Ian Duhig, David Wheatley, John Fuller, Humphrey Astley, Camille Ralphs and others; edited by Tom Cook; £5; excellent reading, but if not appreciated then pass it on to somebody you don’t like. Also published last month were two collections of short stories: Black Milk by Olivia Stewart Liberty, and Ode to Jouissance by Dan Holloway (the brilliant cover illustrations are by Romanian artist Daniel Balanescu) and the first issue of the Albion Beatnik magazine, The Sandspout, 128 pages of short story, poetry, music and so-called literary writing.

loo (1)FORTHCOMING POETRY >> Poems On the Loo will be a carefully curated series of impromptu poetry readings to take place in the Beatnik lav. Each week a video will be posted online, with participants discussing why they chose their poem.

NOT THE OXFORD LITERARY FESTIVAL >> This will take place between 2nd and 9th April 2016. Yet again it will draw bigger crowds (and better fist fights) than its footnoted rival. John Hegley and George Chopping to open, Romanian fiddle music and poetry to close, Dada, punk and manifestos in the middle…

NEW BLOG>> Cat Stevens’ Father & Son

The Beatnik Reading Group meets next on Tuesday February 23rd at 6:30pm (though at a private address this month, not in the bookshop, please message for details). The books to be discussed is Half Of A Yellow Sun by Ngozi Chimamanda Adichie, available for sale in the bookshop.

Next jazz at the Beatnik is the guitar duo of Pete Oxley and Nic Meier. Nic is guitarist with Jeff Beck (the only guitarist Beck has ever used); Pete is the mainstay of Oxford’s The Spin (the best jazz club in the world) and a Sergeant Bilko of the jazz fraternity. For details of the jazz behavioural etiquette at the shop, please read here.

jamalVIDEO OF THE WEEK >> Now well in his 80s and up early every morning still to say his Arabic prayers, Ahmad Jamal is one of life’s best riffs. Jamal converted to Islam in his twenties and changed his name in 1950, a desire to “re-establish my original name.” Muhammad Ali, of course, did the same as soon as he won the World Heavyweight Championship in 1964, and he punished in the ring those boxers who referred to him by his “slave name”: his beating of Ernie Terrell is cited often as cruel (he taunted Terrell throughout the fight, asking him “what’s my name, Uncle Tom? What’s my name?”). In the 1980s, Jamal sued the jazz critic Leonard Feather after he had used his former name in print.

HOMILY >> The Albion Beatnik Bookstore is an independent and enthusiastic bookshop in Jericho, Oxford, opened in 2008. It sells new and second-hand books, including twentieth century literature, poetry and jazz. It has a cafe with over 70 speciality teas and cake, and it hosts reading and writing groups, many evening events, including poetry, book launches, talks, and jazz and folk concerts. The shop has a no petting, diving or bombing policy (unless with the owner). And if you are genuine and enthusiastic, you are always welcome.