Today sees the launch of the Public Reading Rooms in the basement of the legendary Housman’s bookshop on Caledonian Road. I’m going to try to make it along for the great sell-off of the last stock of Porcupine Bookcellar which in the past has been a great resource for long-forgotten political pamphlets and idealistic tracts issued by now defunct parties and campaign groups.
Please pass on the info below
The Public Reading Rooms
“The true, greatly misunderstood
collector is always anarchistic, destructive. For this is its
dialectics: to combine with loyalty to an object, to individual items,
to things sheltered in his care, a stubborn subversive protest against
the typical, the classifiable” Walter Benjamin
At the end of August the Porcupine Bookcellar in Kings Cross will close
its doors for the last time. In its place will arise The Public Reading
Rooms. It will have the following objectives:
1] This will be a project which will archive and document the many lost
causes and small movements which litter our collective existence. The
material covered will be pamphlets, books, magazines, badges,
photographs and posters. Areas archived will include: the situs,
underground newspapers, fanzines, the sixties, class war, solidarity,
anarchy, left communism, conscientious objection, Maoism in England,
rock against racism, Peter Kennard, Clifford Harper, deviant trotskyism,
Walter Benjamin, radical feminism, squatting, Frank Zappa, lesbian
separatism and the 1970s mens movement and many others.
2] Together with PM Press from the States we will publish short runs of
books magazines and posters. Our first publication will be the third
issue of Icteric – a political/art/anti-art journal whose first two
issues were published in the mid 1960s.
3] A cinema club – in alliance with the Rochester Film Salon we will
show a series of interesting and unusual films with a discussion element.
4] Regular events, parties and an annual conference in association the
with South Place Ethical Society at Conway Hall. The first Public
Reading Rooms conference was the May 68 event on May 10th 2008.
5] Outreach lectures to schools and colleges – to spread the word on the
subjects that concern us.
6] A website which will archive the oral history of these movements –
with interviews and film.
The archive will be a legal entity controlled on a trustee basis and
will hold open monthly meetings.
The following are sponsors of the PRR:
Amanda Sebestyen / Explorer
Nick Rochford / Compendium
Alan Woodward / Workers Council Socialist
Peter Kennard / Artist
Dave Chapple / Chair National Shop Stewards Network
Pete Green / Economist
Anna Hunt / Artist
Craig Liddle / Father
Ron Heisler / Polymath
Paul Stott / Class War
Nick Heath / Veteran anarchist
John Rudge / Credit cruncher
Esther Leslie / Benjaminite
Barry Buitekant / Councillor
Bill Hetherington / Conscientious Objector
Ben Watson / Zappatist
Keith Flett / sec London socialist historians
Ron Hunt / Icteric
Andrew Whitehead / Archivist
John Plant / Revolutionary History
Chris Bertoud / Spoon Unit
Marg Nicol / Photographer
Sara Brown / Psychotherapist
Andy Meinke / Statistician
Malcolm Hopkins / Tumbling Man
Leila Kassir / Librarian
John McAllister / Accountant
Andrew Burgin / Catastrophist
Ian Gollan / Networker
and many others
Membership of the PRR is open to all and comes at £10 a year or £100 for
life membership. Please contact us for further information – at
The first official opening event of the Public Reading Rooms will be a
fund raising book sale at 5 Caledonian Road on Saturday August 30th. The
sale starts at 10am and will be followed at 6pm by the launch party and
open meeting at the same address.
Tell your friends.