Month August

  • A great big book about a great small city

    Last Thursday marked the celebration and re-launch of City Streets, a chronicled answer to the past 75 years of Adelaide’s architecture. As author Lance Campbell says, it’s a great big book about a great small city.

    We were hosted at the beautiful Living Choice Fullarton and joined by many of our Wakefield Press authors and friends, including the event’s emcee, Keith Conlon. And to top it all off, we had some fantastic Coriole sparkling!

    The new edition includes a foreword and by the SA Premier, Jay Weatherill – here we present some highlights of the Premier’s kind words and insights from his launch address.

     

    This is not merely a beautiful book. In its detail and its scale, it’s also an invaluable record of the growth and evolution of our city’s “square mile”.

    City Streets is the work of two gifted people. The photographs, by the late Mick Bradley, are superb – precise and expansive, capturing Adelaide’s special quality of light. Though they’re ostensibly of buildings, the images are rich with people and movement and energy – just like those taken by Baring back in the 1930s. As for the writing, who better to sneak behind the facades and tell the stories of our town than Lance Campbell. Lance is an outstanding reporter and writer. Whether the topic is sport or the arts or, from time to time, politics, his prose is elegant and insightful – revealing and describing things many of us would otherwise not have noticed

    As I suggest in the foreword to the new edition, City Streets is likely to generate mixed feelings in some readers. More than most comparable cities, Adelaide has managed to retain a large number of attractive buildings from the 19th and early 20th centuries. But – along the way – we’ve probably allowed some special ones to slip through our fingers.

    One of those was the gracious Grand Central Hotel – which later housed Foy’s department store – and used to sit on what we now call “Hungry Jack’s corner”. For some reason, it was decided to demolish that lovely pile in 1976. To paraphrase Joni Mitchell, we pulled down “paradise” and put up a parking lot!

    As I’ve said publicly before, I think we should see cities as – first and foremost – communities, rather than just collections of buildings and houses and roads. In line with the fact, one of the prevailing and very welcome things about our current city centre that can’t be fully captured in words or pictures is its vibrancy.

    The tale of this city will go on and on. And the buildings we love today and are part of our collective consciousness will – in time – go the way of the old ones featured in City Streets. I hope and suspect that, one day, others will follow in the footsteps of Mick Bradley and Lance Campbell. And the Adelaideans of, say, the 2080s or 2090s will reminisce about – who knows? – the Adelaide Convention Centre or the Federal Courts building in Victoria Square. For now, however, we have this new edition of City Streets – and we’re very happy and appreciative, indeed.

    On behalf of the State Government, I commend Wakefield Press for its initiative, for continuing to tell great stories and – through this book – for helping to chart the history of our built environment.

     

    Photographs by Brad Griffin.

     

    Learn more about City Streets .

  • Love your Bookshop Day

    ‘What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.’

    ― Neil Gaiman

    In an age of Internet sales a humble bookshop could seem archaic. In a march to digitise and automate, something so small as a bookshop could be considered an afterthought. Yet, those of us who frequent shelves and bookstalls, who know of other lives and worlds and realms within pages, we know a bookshop is more. It is the soul of a place, wherever that place may be, and the heart of a community.

    This Saturday 12 August marks Love your Bookshop Day, an occasion that invites anyone to celebrate his or her local bookshop, with events and programs throughout Australia. Drop into your local this Saturday to support and celebrate what makes your bookshop special.

    A taste of the events happening around Adelaide:

    • Booked at North Adelaide has a giant book raffle (drawn at 4 pm)
    • Dillons Norwood Bookshop has book readings (2 pm), face-painting and giveaways
    • Imprints Booksellers on Hindley Street has countless of activities and prizes
    • Matilda Bookshop in Stirling has book-buying advice from authors, an illustrator in residence and a competition for a stack of books
    • Mostly Books in Mitcham will be championing a young writers group along with raffles and more

    And of course we are open with our Mile End store, 1 – 5 pm. All books are 3 for 2 (cheapest book free) with a free cat or dog book bag if you spend over $75. We have an I Love My Dog and My Dog Loves Me book giveaway as well.