A Cool Review for Shine in the Guardian

Shine by Candy Gourlay
'A precious and important novel that also explores exile from neighbours, family and country. The book is about reinvention and the faces we present to the world, whether it be in person, on a postcard or on the internet, all wrapped up in an exciting and perfectly paced story with a disturbing and dramatic climax.'
Philip Ardagh, The Guardian
Read the review

Friday, 18 January 2013

There are no beginnings with no endings.

Photographer Ian Beesley's favourite shot marks a time when his beloved boss of old was coming to the end of his career, just as Ian himself was beginning a new one in photography.

When I saw Ian Beesley's best photo in the Guardian today, I could have cried.

When I found Bob in the train crew's cabin, I thought he was having a snooze. I stepped through the doorway and took a photo. As he heard the shutter click, he looked up. I could see instantly he had been crying, so I asked what the matter was. "I just received my redundancy letter," he said. "It's the end. If I was a horse, they'd shoot me." The industry was in decline, but it was still a big blow.

I apologised for taking his picture. "Don't be sorry," he replied. "That's your job now." I thought that was good of him. This picture's always been poignant for me because it reminds me of the man who encouraged me to pursue photography. It marks the end of his working life and the beginning of mine. Read it in the Guardian

Just a few pages away, under the headline 'Retailers who were past their sell-by dates', was a piece about the fall of the big retailers HMV, Jessops and Blockbuser. It said:
"... the internet, supermarkets and a squeeze on living standards represent a fearsome combination for specialist business models that are, let's face it, past their sell-by date"
Nobody appeared to be sorry for Blockbuster. Video rental? Definitely an anachronism in the world of instant streaming. Jessops - well, it's been cheaper to buy photographic equipment online for years. But the media lined up to eulogize HMV - tales of fond coming-of-age stories to the soundtrack of music purchased at the store.

I wondered aloud at the dinner table if we would all be lining up to eulogize bookstores if the same terrible fate befell them.

The husband didn't see the same cultural tragedy in it.

It's already been happening for centuries, he pointed out. Industries failing with the rise of new technology. We didn't mourn the demise of the typewriter for long. We were too busy learning to cut and paste on computers without scissors and tape.

The world moves on. Culture moves on.

We should be excited about what's coming next, he said.

I guess I am excited about what's coming next.

But I would still be very sad.


  1. Great post, Candy. I think that really hits a cord with me. It's hard to let go of something familiar and comfortable and embrace something new and unknown that might be better in the long run, but we can't see or know that yet.

    1. Aww thanks for leaving a comment Colleen - change is indeed a terrifying thing. You don't have the comfort of knowing what's around the bend. And so many people have so much to lose. But change is hopeful too, I guess we just have to focus on that.

  2. As they say, 'don't look back, you're not going that way'.
    It is sad to see old things go - but that is how it is.

    1. Thanks for dropping by, KM Lockwood. The world survives on 'that is how it is'.

  3. I completely share your feelings about this... I didn't much like Jessops myself, but I was gutted to see them go. The physical world that we all grew up with – the solid, tangible world of shops and objects – seems to be vanishing by the day. I couldn't handle it if books & bookshops go the same way - they still provide things that digital forms do not... What can we do to support them?

    1. The strange thing is I suspect the tiny shops will thrive once the chains go down. It's that entrepreneurial manoeuvrability and innovation that will help survival in this age.

  4. Yes, I had a soft spot for Jessops. Bookstores that also offer an extra something seem to be doing okay. Not sure it's enough any more just to be a bookstore.

    1. One can transpose that to being an author, Jenny ... it'snot enough to be just a writer anymore ...


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