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We relish books that champion independent ideas, progressive perspectives, stimulating subjects and unconventional wisdom – essential ingredients in anyone’s daily digest!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Great what you can do in your own back yard!

As I've started a biz called Beetroot Books, I thought it only fair I actually grew some beetroots - and potatoes, aubergines, rocket and tomatoes too - all in honour of the great god VEG!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Dig a little deeper

There’s nowhere on the net like Beetroot Books.

Apart from a very big and nameless commodity site, that’s not bothered if it sells you soap powder or Socrates, you’d have a hard time finding a store that has a wide range of books centred on what you do and what you want do to and see in the future for yourself and for the planet.

That’s why the store was opened.

If you’re into living green, living active, making the most of things, challenging your mind, educating your children or exploring more of this big old reality we’re in, you’ll find a book about it on Beetroot Books.

There’s a process in the world today; the mastitis of money continues unabated and has consumed all human affairs in the western world  - everything is being chopped, slashed, hacked, factory processed, genetically modified, sold and boiled down to the bottom line. Most business is pulled into the sludge flow by adherence to the same addiction to this growth that wreaks the havoc we see unfold all around us. We’re overdue on a positive change.

New ways of doing things are obviously where the answers lies, but you have to plant these seeds in fertile ground.

To be original you have to make new connections. You have to make use of the best information you can find and see it for what it is – sometimes despite conventional wisdom.

You have to dig a little deeper.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Independent media you dummies

Recently I went along to a very nice Green fair in London.

It was the usual comfortable validation of everything that could be (and hopefully will be) in our ‘better than now’ future. The people were friendly, the ideas on display were everything from well worn to wacky and the goodwill flowed as freely as the warm June wind over the sunny park. Presently, after browsing the stalls of some of the small traders of hand-made and home-grown goods and occasionally stopping to chat to some of the community projects showcased, my attention was caught by a couple of speakers addressing a loosely assembled crowd.

Leading a discussion on ‘How we can tie up all the community groups into a unified whole’, I recognised the speakers as regulars on this circuit. They talked sense, were well intentioned and had obvious knowledge of their respective environmental specialities, but I couldn’t help thinking the session was just more preaching to another eager choir. The intention is a good one, and god knows good intentions seem to be in short shrift these days, but surely time should have been called on just another talk shop at this stage of the increasingly bizarre game we know as ‘society’?

I have to ask, would most of the people present in the park, much less those talking, actually be willing to participate in the kind of action that we need, right now, and actually change step on the crazy doom dance we’re stepping out to? Would they stop using any of the huge supermarkets that crush their suppliers and draw down our future in the name of cost cutting? Will they change their accounts from banks that are known to invest in all manner of planet thrashing activities? Will they turn off the TV that wants to endlessly flog them the same exploitative products and celeb meltdowns? Will they stop using cosmetics manufactured from animal testing? Probably not if it suits them to do so today.

After all, by now, who hasn’t been washed in a tide of expose’s and reports, headlines and media ‘leaks’ about any of the above? Who by now can claim to be ignorant of the consequences of their actions? Who hasn’t heard of PCB’s, damaged ozone, rainforests in peril, over fished seas? If the average high street is anything to go by, it appears that no one gives a damn. So what’s going on? Are we seriously stuck in the groove that changing tack is out of the question?

Well the biggest challenge that everyone can pretty much agree on is changing the consensus. It’s the consensus that ties everyone to the same course: you’re born, schooled, educated (remember the difference) and thrust into the work place to ‘contribute’ and pay taxes that contribute to society and the social good. All sounds good but really you’re just a prop to the same old wheeze which makes a few rich and many poor as resources become scarcer and scarcer. Capitalism is a sound system in principle but it has been tampered with beyond repair this time around – anyway, back to ‘the consensus’.

It occurred to me, as I sat there listening to the conversation from the stage, that most people are probably well intentioned but all of this intent is diluted, indeed bulldozed, through the massive influence of the opinion makers, PR manipulators and mass media. Daily.

It’s as if you were standing on the shore in the dark facing a huge tsunami coming your way – whilst someone is pointing a searchlight directly into your face. You know something big is coming, you feel it, you can even smell it, yet you see nothing but glare! You have no idea of what the true scenario is because your senses are over-loaded by irrelevant information.
Who could be blamed for being confused?

So many of us have internalised the reality that spending life in a state of addled flux is a normal state to be in; thinking straight on certain issues (where vested interests lie) is scorned upon whilst economics is the orthodoxy upon which everything rests. This paradigm is what sets the tone and volume on what we do and do not, or should not, know – and even ‘leaks’ and ‘shock revelations’ comprise part of the controlled flow.

I suddenly realised that every talk shop, every meeting of converts, every article serves naught if it fails to dim this beam of overwhelming persuasive power. The is no chance for any alternative agenda to come through under this glare that we allow into our lives through the box in the corner of our rooms, the papers that come through our letterboxes and the magazines to which we subscribe. Those that count themselves as discerning are as powerless as the rest to alter people’s adherence to the damaging norms of our society.

If you’re going to see and think your way clearly you’re going to have to switch the view. If you want illumination as to true events it’s better to plug into a thousand sources, than be fed by one where the content must needs be skewed to suit the investments of the owners. A thousand candles will better illustrate the angles, ditches and sheer drops in the road ahead rather than the bleaching strains of the caffeine media flow. Seems to be nature calibrated all our perspectives differently and gave us the faculty to tell differing stories about the same things just so we’d enjoy this advantage. Now we’re set on boiling all of that down to information from increasingly similar and singular sources (even though we may give it different brands).

We should be demanding a totally free and unbiased media free from the copy and paste of lobbyists and errant PR embargoed releases palmed of by the owners of production. But we don’t need to wait for these big boys to fall into line. We should be formulating their replacement. As was the case with the car replacing the carriage and the telephone replacing the telegraph, no one went to the street with a placard, they just replaced the less efficient old, with an easier to use new solution that suited people’s needs at the time.

Social media is already hacking away at the corporate edifice but they have many minds working to defend themselves- usually by appropriating elements of the oppositions best argument.
A line needs to be drawn. You’re the one who buys this stuff so how about:

  • Stop buying newspaper and watching TV news completely (get your fix from a hundred blogs or so)?

  • Re-invigorating the local paper that serves your community by suggesting the writers acknowledge larger world issues and write articles detailing how they will impact the street in which you live.

  • Co authoring street sheets to share with your friends and acquaintances?

  • Using your existing networks to author an independent journal and using it as a way to reach out to existing groups and for them to share their news with you – breaking up any workload into smaller pieces.

Over to you…

Monday, 6 June 2011

London Green Fair - 4th/ 5th June

Last Saturday I found a large dose of inspiration under the warm June sun, in one of London’s greatest Park.

Running over the weekend of June 4/5th, the London Green Fair, In Regents Park showcased ‘green living’ – everything from bicycle powered generators to vegan cooking and a positive future vision.

Hanging out in a green space with like minds on a sunny afternoon was always going to be fun, but the range of ideas, the apparent desire to try something new and the actual application of all of it was great to see.

Seems there’s quite a sea change going on in some quarters; if the tide continues to turn it doesn’t really have to be too little too late. I would like to think the future lies with the diversity of ideas and the community spirit that is erupting all around. All that we need to do is support independent traders and make up our own minds about what is good for us and our families.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Beetroot Juice Health Benefits | Food | GDS Publishing

Beetroot Juice Health Benefits Food GDS Publishing

Well, then...this only goes to prove you should get more Beetroot in your life!

The story so far...

Beetroot Books is moving along with great progress, gaining more customers and getting interest from all around the world; enquiries and sales from as far a field as Malaysia to California.

The store is shaping up nicely as an alternative to some of the more ‘faceless’ book selling corporations and has managed to carve out is own popular little niche supplying titles on all things nice, interesting and alternative – books that open good doors inside heads with the doom and gloom kept to the barest of minimums. Bit of a rarity in case you’ve not opened a newspaper or turned on a TV of late.

Conceived as a place to get hold of words of interest to people who want to make positive change (whether in their own lives or their community – or even the world at large), learn skills, pass along wisdom to their children, or find out about subjects generally not to be found in all the usual places, the difficulty is stopping ourselves adding to much. The more you look out into the world of these types of works, the more you find that you totally love. I guess it’s the same for the world as a whole – you just have to look with the right eyes.

The next thing we’re set to add is a Poetry section, due to popular demand, as well as far more titles and publications into our ‘Independent’ page. There’s far too little representation of both these areas within the mainstream, yet some of the work produced is of unbelievable beauty and clarity – just because it may not turn out a million bucks is no reason not to let it walk out on its own.

So we still have challenges to come – one of them actually getting people to take the plunge and buy from us as opposed to their usual on line supplier; many people like to think of themselves as independent but that doesn’t mean they support independent business.

Beetroot Books is more fun than we ever thought it would be – we’re really looking forward to all that’s to come!


PS if you have any suggestions or would like to sell your own work through the site – please do get in touch.