Tag Archives: facebook

Removals Fairies Strike at former SPCK Bookshop, Chester

Phil Groom writes:

We all know about the tooth fairies: you leave your tooth under the pillow, fall asleep, and in the morning your tooth’s gone and there’s sixpence (OK, showing my age…) in its place. In Chester, they have removals fairies, and they’ve paid a visit to the former SPCK bookshop:

Former SPCK Bookshop, Chester: Empty Card Racks Former SPCK Bookshop, Chester: Empty Shelves Former SPCK Bookshop, Chester: More Empty Shelves
Empty shelves in the former SPCK Bookshop, Chester
(Photos taken Thursday January 21st, 2010)

We don’t know exactly when the fairies visited, where they’ve taken the stock or who’s got the sixpence: presumably the Interim Manager, and hopefully he’ll be using it to pay off some of the creditors. Never has the phrase “watch this space” felt more poignant…

I also have it on reliable authority that Wesley Owen Chester is scheduled to close its doors for the last time today, leaving Chester without a Christian bookshop. If you’re the praying kind, please remember Ian Vollands and the rest of the staff team in your prayers.

But perhaps the situation is not as bleak as it might seem? Chester is home to eden.co.uk, the UK’s (and probably Europe’s) biggest online Christian retailer, and they’re involved in discussions with friends and church leaders about the future of Christian retail in the city. If you live in the area and would like to take part in those discussions, you can request membership of the Chester Christian Bookshop facebook discussion group.

Responding to concerns that Eden might be branching out into bricks & mortar retailing, Gareth Mulholland, Head Honcho at Eden, said:

There are lots of creative ideas being floated around. They generally involve collaboration, community and shared ownership – none of them involve Eden.co.uk setting up its own bookshop.

Kudos to Gareth and Eden for taking this initiative.

Thanks as always to our intrepid photographer for the pics.

Disclosure notice: the link to eden.co.uk featured in this post is an affiliate link. If you use it and then proceed to make a purchase, eden will pay a small commission to the UK Christian Bookshops Directory. Thank you.

A message to all our supporters

David Keen writes

the following was sent to the 475-odd members of the We Support Dave Walker Facebook group earlier this week:

Subject: 1 year on

Dear all,

This Wednesday, 22nd July, was 1 year to the day since Dave Walker and Phil Groom both recieved their ‘Cease and Desist’ legal threats from Mark Brewer. An awful lot has happened during that time, not least of which has been the support of hundreds of you for Dave, former SPCK bookshop staff, and others who have suffered at the hands of the Brewers.

The good news is that plenty has been achieved.
– Firstly, Mark Brewer failed to get his St. Stephen the Great charity declared bankrupt in the US, a court case in which Dave’s posts were cited as evidence.
– In April this year the UK Charity Commissioners took over the running of the St. Stephen the Great charity, after a formal investigation.
– Even though the Brewers had moved all the bookshops into a new organisation (ENC Shop Management) the CC’s are now taking possession of these shops as St. Stephen assets.
– 30 former staff, whose tribunal against SSG was being heard earlier this year, will now have their cases settled by the Charity Commissioners.
– In the meantime Durham Cathedral has (at last) served notice on the Brewers tenancy of the Cathedral shop.

As you may know, though the SPCK posts remain absent from the Cartoon Blog (see them in full at http://opendebatenotlibelthreats.blogspot.com/), Dave has mentioned the saga a couple of times on his Church Times blog. At no point have any of Mark Brewers threats been acted upon. Instead it’s Mr Brewer himself who has gone very quiet.

Thankyou again for your support of Dave, and for those of you who have blogged, commented and emailed in support. We may be at the beginning of the end – both the end of SSG’s dismal foray into UK bookselling, and the end of the bookshop chain themselves. Any further developments will be reported at https://spckssg.wordpress.com/

Your fellow supporter

Letter to Mark Brewer from the “We Support Dave Walker” Facebook Group

We Support Dave Walker - 500 Members, 19 Oct 2008

We Support Dave Walker - 500 Members, 19 Oct 2008

The following letter was sent to Mark Brewer this morning, signed by David Keen and seven other representatives of the “We Support Dave Walker” Facebook Group:

Dear Mr. Brewer

We are writing on behalf of 498 supporters of cartoonist and blogger Dave Walker, a group which includes bishops, national journalists in the UK and US, lawyers, clergy, and concerned members of the public. 

We would like to ask you please to contact Dave Walker and withdraw the demands made in the ‘Cease and Desist’ letter which you sent him in July. Your letter, as far as we know, instructed Dave to remove all his posts about the recent history of SPCK bookshops or face action for libel. With the pressures of the impending Lambeth conference, and a very short deadline given by yourself, Dave complied. He commented at the time: “I have therefore removed all of the SPCK/SSG posts on this blog, as, although I believe I have not done anything wrong I do not have the money to face a legal battle. The removal of these posts is in no way an admission of guilt.”

Many of us have read the posts concerned, and are surprised, to say the least, that they could be called libelous. Indeed, the first three posts make no mention at all of yourself, the Society of St. Stephen the Great, or anyone associated with you. The 4th post reports your takeover of the bookshops with the comment “this is splendid news.” Another post is a simple link to your SSG video on YouTube. Other items include verbatim reports of your own statements, and in the simple post on the death of Steve Jeynes, dozens of people used the comments to expressed their grief and condolences to Steve’s family. 

Dave is a reasonable man, and if all critics were as fair as he is the world would be a better place. If you were able to reconsider, and point out specific statements and claims you were unhappy with, we are sure Dave would be happy to correct them where appropriate. This is the normal process of debate on the internet, and in real life, and follows the strong tradition of free speech for which our countries stand and are rightly proud.

So this is a polite request from all of us: please contact Dave Walker, advise him that your ‘cease and desist’ communication no longer stands, and let him report freely. 

Yours sincerely

Rev. David Keen and seven other signatories representing the ‘We Support Dave Walker’ group

Google search for this letter’s opening sentence

Sites Featuring this Letter (Most Recent First)

Cease and Desist: Dave Walker faces a Facebook Block

I have been blocked from making facebook notes

Dave Walker: I have been blocked from making facebook notes

Phil Groom writes:

Strange but true: facebook have issued their version of a C&D against Dave Walker. Apparently he posted too many notes. “How many notes?” you ask. Seven. Er, yes: seven, as in 7, as in rhymes with 11 but is 4 less…

“Gosh,” you say, “what was he doing? Was he on speed to post so many notes in rapid succession?”

Actually, it took him an entire month. 30 ÷ 7 = 4.29. On average, one note every four and a quarter days, although he did post two (yes, two: truly shocking!) on October 1st. And that, it seems, was too fast for facebook…

This time, thank heaven, Dave hasn’t simply deleted everything he’s ever said about facebook and nor has he deleted his facebook profile. But if you share my sense of bemusement about what the facebook admins are playing at, I suggest you head on over there and:

  1. If you’re not already in it, join the We Support Dave Walker group
  2. Show Dave some facebook love by writing on his wall
  3. Write a song about it
  4. Send facebook some feedback asking them to remove Dave’s block

But please be polite about it: remember that facebook, like WordPress, is a free service. Aggressive reactions are likely to be counter-productive. For my own part, my message to facebook is, “C’mon guys, please: get up to speed!

Maybe the Brewers have taken over facebook the way they thought they’d taken over Amazon? Will facebook block me for stirring things up? Watch this space…

I am not Dave Walker

At the end of last week the number of members in the We Support Dave Walker facebook group went over the 400 mark: as I write the membership is at 433 and climbing, higher than the original SPCK facebook group. I, Phil Groom, was added to the group’s admin team last week and I sent the message below to all group members on Friday afternoon, 08/08/2008, simply to introduce myself and outline what I see as the critical issues.

If you’re a facebook member and have not yet joined the group, please do show your solidarity with Dave and the rest of us by signing up, preferably to both groups!

The invitation to contact me, either via facebook or via the Contact Phil page on this blog remains open to all visitors. If you have information about any of the current shops, about workers or suppliers who the St Stephen the Great Trust or Messrs Phil and J Mark Brewer have not yet paid, or would like to take the opportunity this blog provides to tell your own story, please do get in touch or, of course, leave your comments on any page as and where appropriate.

To: All members of the We Support Dave Walker facebook group
Hi. I figured since David has kindly made me a group admin I ought to introduce myself and outline what I see as the important issues. If you haven’t read ‘My Story’ yet you might like to start there to find out how I became embroiled in this fiasco: 

So who am I? 
I’m a bookseller, currently employed by London School of Theology. I’m also a member of the Executive Committee of the Booksellers Association’s Christian Booksellers Group (BACBG), which happens to be the BA’s biggest specialist booksellers group. 

I also run the UK Christian Bookshops Directory, UKCBD, for which I am blogger, reviews editor and webmaster:

And I’m  a regular columnist for Christian Marketplace magazine, for which I write website reviews and other ad-hoc articles.

Finally, I’m the guy who set up the SPCK/SSG blog, https://spckssg.wordpress.com

What’s this all about?
To me, the key things are:
• Justice for the (ex-)SPCK/SSG booksellers and unpaid suppliers
• The right to free speech
• Keeping information available

What do I hope to achieve?
• Payment of unpaid wages and invoices
• Honest reporting and open discussion
• Full reinstatement of Dave’s missing posts and comments

There’s much more I could say. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a ‘C&D’ notice, especially from someone like J Mark Brewer with all the resources of his own law firm available, you’ll appreciate the impact that can have: stomach clenching anxiety as you think about the possible implications… loss of sleep… not eating properly. Believe me, it’s not a good place to be,

But then the adrenalin kicks in: it’s fight or flight. My gut instinct was to flee, but I’ve chosen to fight. Maybe that’s foolish: time will tell. However this pans out, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has stood beside me so far: thank you. Special thanks in particular to Matt Wardman and David Keen.

I know that there are some high-profile people in this group: top-notch journalists, high-flyers in the church, people with legal expertise, high-profile bloggers. I’d like to urge you, please, to do whatever you can to give this ongoing coverage via your media contacts. Remember, it could have been you on the receiving end of these threats. It could have been you that had your article pulled from your paper. If anyone wants to contact me privately, you can do so here within facebook or via the blog.

Finally: for some light relief —

check out the Cartoon Competition that I launched on Wednesday this week:

There’s been one hilarious entry already:

Competition closes when we get an entry from Dave Walker.

Thanks for reading,