by joseph ridgwell
A few years back a fellow lit fiend asked why there were so few books inhabiting the dusty bookshelves of Ranchlette Ridgwell. The answer was simple. Public Libraries. And one unusual PL in particular. Hale End Public Library. A direct excerpt from the prequel to my road novel – Burrito Deluxe – Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – provides a perfect explanation to this libroless mystery.
‘I settled into a routine of sitting in this big old velvet armchair and reading. I brought different books to the shop each week all loaned from my local public library. I’d discovered this magic library in East London that specialised in counter-culture and cult writing. I unearthed a good deal of major writers in that library that would have a lifetime influence on my writing, Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, Herman Melville, Jack London, Knut Hamsun, Richard Brautigan, John Fante to name but a few. I also discovered some of the ancient philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato – the Ethics of Spinoza – The World as Will and Representation by Arthur Schopenhauer and a huge tome by Bertrand Russell – A History of Western Philosophy. The collected works of Oscar Wilde, William Burroughs and Ernest Hemingway were equally devoured, along with a bunch of French writers who interested me greatly at the time. Charles Baudelaire, Jean Paul Sartre, Rimbaud & the best of the lot – Celine. So with the hours spent reading in the shop I was soon on my way to becoming well read.
Who the enlightened librarian was, I’ll never know, but I just can’t envision a teenager walking into a library today and picking up a hardback copy of Kerouac’s Vision of Cody and even more unreal a hardback copy of Bukowski’s The Most Beautiful Woman in Town!
So here we come to why I’m writing this blog. Readers or followers of my work will know that I’m not politically motivated. Politicians to me are all the same, out for themselves and to protect the interests of Big Business. Recent events in Britain make it clear that they have no interest in the ordinary man or woman and never have done. And yet sometimes even someone as apolitical as myself has to make a stand. I did it once before to save a pub in central London – the Nell Gwyne, hidden just off the Strand. We were successful that time and I aim to be successful again.
Get this fellow fiends. The bean counters and culture destroyers at Waltham Forest Council are trying to shut down my magic library. The library that inspired me to become a writer, the library that probably saved my life! They want to build some shitty flats and a supermarket! Fuck them! Without that library there would be no Joseph Ridgwell the writer. Now, some might say that’s a good thing, whatever – the library has to be SAVED!
All you have to do is click on the link below and sign the petition. They need 5000 signatures and already have over 3000. SO DO IT AND DO IT NOW AND AFTERWARDS FEEL SORT OF SAINTLY!
Milk Race Fans. I, know, I know – I’ve neglected you wankers for a while, but check out this Super 8MM stunner from the Fourth Emergency Service’s Top Gun room. One, two, three – Bermuda triangle don’t go too near, don’t go too near!