Tag Archives: gerald the sheep

Cistern Disease: Cartoon Competition Still Open

Phil Groom writes:

Remember this from last year?

Cistern Disease

Cistern Disease

The shops may be closed but the Cartoon Competition is still open, if anyone else is feeling creative. You never know, it might help Phil W & J Mark Brewer to loosen up a bit…

Ask, sheep, knock …

Matt Wardman writes:

I am just coming up to my first anniversary as a contributor to the scrutiny of the rundown of the former-SPCK bookshops by Messers Brewer, Shyster and Brewer.

For a long time a lot of people felt like this:

Gerald the Sheep - Lost and Found

Gerald the Sheep - Lost and Found

Followers of this blog will know that things have moved forward in the last several months in some aspects, and we are now in this sort of position, attempting to untangle a gooey mess with prickles:


Hopefully certain people will end up feeling like this:


Now off to do some work.

(And I hear that Geraldthesheep.com is on its way.)

On the Fifth Day of Christmas Gerald the Sheep felt overwhelmed

Last time I posted a Gerald, Phil growled at me in a friendly bookshop-manager fashion (like an adventurous aspidistra), but he’s not doing the blog today, so let’s play.


Gronda!, Gronda!

I feel like that when I count how many hares are running at any one time in this SPCK saga.

More Brewerlogues later.

Credit: Ben Gallagher.

[Update – See Peter Kirk’s comment below]

The Twelve Days of Gerald the Sheep. Day One: Cartoon by Ben Gallagher

The Twelve Days of Gerald the Sheep Day One

The Twelve Days of Gerald the Sheep Day One

Cartoon: Ben Gallagher

“This Town ain’t big enough for the both of us” said Gerald the Sheep

Matt Wardman writes:

It is 8 months since Phil Groom started the SPCK/SSG News Blog to help scrutinise the rundown of the former-SPCK chain of Bookshops.

Our cartoonists have kindly contributed a cartoon or two to remind everyone that it is the end of the year, and we’re still here. Here’s Gerald the Sheep back in town:


(By the way, there is a big “printable” version of the cartoon here).

This is how Phil stated the problem back in April:

What, exactly, do we mean by the designation ‘Christian’ when we refer to bookshops or publishers? Is it simply that we trade in products that relate to the Christian faith — are we simply a subset of other businesses and commercial enterprises? Or is there — should there be — something more distinctive than that? A sense of mission, perhaps? A sense of mission that goes beyond questions of finance, profit and loss, that makes us determined — somehow — to continue trading no matter what the odds stacked against us?

Or is it something about our business practices? Honesty and integrity, compassion and humility — a willingness to put others first: an emphasis on service, on service that goes beyond the call of duty to offer our customers, our co-workers — whether employees or employers — the best that we possibly can? Treating others with respect, as better than ourselves…

I ask these questions not out of idle curiosity but out of deep concern as I watch the debacle of the SPCK/SSG bookshops deepen, a once excellent chain brought to ruin (latest reports listed below)… and as I see Christian divisions of secular publishing houses increasingly dominating our marketplace. Lorna Roe, responding to my ‘Bibles and Bookmarks‘ post, puts the question about publishers bluntly:

There are a lot of ‘Christian’ publishers out there who try and cash in on the huge popularity of that one most important book, the Bible. Blatant materialism.

So, to get to the crux of the issue: is being Christian about what we (say we) believe or about how we behave? I put it to you that what we believe only matters insofar as it affects the way we behave. Jesus himself warned us about wolves in sheep’s clothing: “By their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:15-20).

In that light, what does what we’ve seen to date of the behaviour of the Brewer brothers tell us? What we’ve seen of the their attitude towards their staff; towards their suppliers; towards SPCK… of their disingenuity in their correspondence here, denying the reality of shop closures? Can we, with any sense of integrity, continue to refer to their shops as ‘Christian’?

I am in a quandary: on the one hand I want to support those SPCK booksellers who have somehow survived the storms thus far and are still working in their shops; on the other, I find myself wanting to expunge every record of the SPCK/SSG Bookshops from the UK Christian Bookshops Directory. The designation ‘Christian’ is sullied and brought into disrepute by the Brewers’ behaviour.

Would Jesus recognise them as having anything to do with him?

What would you do?

Lord have mercy…

Cartoon Competition

Cease and Desist!

Cease and Desist!

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been dealing with some pretty heavy stuff. I figured it’s time for some light relief: our Dave is a cartoonist, so what could be more fitting than a Cartoon Competition?

Here’s the scenario: you’ve just come back from holiday (I wonder who that might be) and you find someone’s slapped your toilet with a “Cistern Disease: Do Not Flush” notice. Do you:

  1. Wait a while, keep your legs crossed and hope the smell doesn’t get too bad?
  2. Call a plumber and get a new loo fitted?
  3. Nip next door and use the neighbour’s?
  4. Call in the professional toilet cleaners?
  5. Lift the lid and flush it away regardless?

I’m sure you can think of some other possibilities. Get drawing, people: I want to see how this one pans out!!

ASBO Jesus :: asingleblog :: lingamish :: and all you other arty types: your call! Hey, there might even be a prize: still working on that one; but what better prize than to know that you’ve contributed to the final destruction of the dreaded C&D notice??

Post your cartoon on your own blog and leave a comment here to let me know, please.

Can’t draw? No worries: borrow one of these photos and do something appropriate with it in your photo editing package…

Competition closes when we get an entry from Dave Walker!

A Case Study
Cease and Desist Letters, and a Case Study from Brewer and Pritchard P.C. (bplaw.com)

Where Next?
If you’ve received a C&D, before you flush it away, consider submitting it to the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse. That’s where mine have gone now…

Just One Entry So Far…

Cistern Disease

Cistern Disease