Off the Shelf: Festival of Words

The 21st year of Off the Shelf: Festival of Words is now in full swing, and with a week left to go, here are some of our highlights so far:

Last Shop Standing – Showroom Cinema

Since 2008, 540 independent record stores have closed in the UK. What with the advent of CDs and then digital downloads, it’s been a tough 20 years of so for traders.  Based on a book of the same name by Graham Jones, Last Shop Standing travels around the country talking to the last bastions of the independent record store; charting their rise and fall and looking at what the future may bring. Cameo appearances by the likes of Johnny Marr, Paul Weller and Richard Hawley serve as a timely reminder of their influence on generations of music fans and musicians.

Radio Head with John Osborne – Raynor Lounge

After the smash hit success at Edinburgh Festival of John Peel’s Shed, John Osborne is back talking about his journeys through radio. Whilst working for Anglia Windows, John decided to spend a month listening to a different radio station every day; from talk radio to local radio and his nemesis, Radio 1. Along the way he discovers what drives our nation’s love affair with radio; finding some hidden gems along the way. The results are sometimes touching, always informative and often humorous.

Stuart Maconie – Pennine Theatre

Stuart Maconie may be best known for his work on radio (particularly his current show on 6Music with Mark Radcliffe), but he is also a journalist and an author. Tonight he is here to talk about his new book, Hope and Glory: A People’s History of Modern Britain. But first, he gives us a brief tour through his bibliography, from Cider with Roadies to Adventures on the High Teas, giving us snippets from each. In Hope and Glory, Stuart picks one moment from each decade of the 21st Century which he believes has defined modern Britain: from the Battle of the Somme to New Labour. He is a very personable character, making you feel like you’re having a friendly chat over a pint in the pub, smattering the talk with anecdotes and random thoughts. I’m not sure the drummer from Napalm Death will ever be on his Christmas list though.

To see what else is going on over the next week, visit