Solidarity with Cinnamon Press

Recently this sign appeared in a Cardiff branch of Waterstone’s:

 waterstones2

 

Due to our shameful

cowardice in the face

of pressure from

religious fundamentalists,

the

Patrick Jones

Event

Wednesday 12th

November

has been cancelled

Our company has

no guts and no

commitment to

freedom of expression.

Sorry!

 

No – wrong sign. Actually it was this one:

 

                   Waterstone's Sign                                

 

What happened is this. South Wales poet and playwright recently published a book with Cinnamon, Darkness is Where the Stars Are. According to Cinnamon’s Jan Fortune-Wood:

This is a sparkling, energetic poetry collection that engages with serious issues including domestic abuse of men, oppression of women, ecological disaster and much more… A few of the poems deal with patrick’s strong views on religion, particularly the way in which it is often associated with military conflict, the subjugation of women or movements that exclude the ‘outsider’. These are issues that art should rightly be pushing to the forefront of debate in a liberal society and there are people of faith who are concerned with such issues as well as humanists and secularists.

You have already guessed the rest. Waterstones managing director Gerry Johnson cancelled Jones’s book launch at Cardiff Waterstones in the face of protest from moron and fanatic Stephen Green and his idiotic sect Christian Voice, which denounced the book as ‘obscene and blasphemous.’ Instead Jones signed copies in the street outside.

You can buy Darkness is where the Stars Are via the Cinnamon site above, or on Amazon.

Brett Lock has also posted on this and raised a couple of good points. The first is that Stephen Green appears to be directly inciting violence.

Yesterday Mr Green also made some contentious comments about the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision that the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead has ‘no case to answer’ after it exhibited a 1ft high statue of Jesus with an erection.

He now advocates destroying art works he dislikes.

‘This decision urges Christians to create public disorder if we want a similar case to proceed in future,’ he said.

‘We are naturally reluctant to do that and it puts us in new territory.

‘On the other hand, there were those at the Baltic Centre who wanted to take matters into their own hands and I have warned Anita Zabludowicz that her statue will not survive being put on public display again.

‘If the CPS wanted to give the green light to blasphemous art their decision may paradoxically have the opposite effect. With the threat of destruction hanging over it, the Zabludowicz statue is now locked away by its wealthy owners and is unlikely to see the light of day again.

‘The same will go for any other blasphemous works of so-called art. Put simply, Christians won’t tolerate insults to Jesus Christ.’

On Patrick Jones, Green offers this classic quote:

‘The Lord had not even showed me what we should do at Waterstone’s, only that it should be Christlike,’ he told the BBC.

‘Just the knowledge that we were on our way has put the fear of God into the opposition.’

I think this passage of Brett’s needs repeating:

From now on Borders and Foyles can have my money. Waterstone’s doesn’t deserve customers if it treats them with such contempt. It has no right to ply its trade selling books either if it isn’t prepared to stand up for the authors who write them.

It really is time that those who value liberal democracy and a free society stand up and tell these theocratic brownshirts to go fuck themselves. We should not tolerate being told what books or magazines we can read, what events we can attend, what shows or films we can watch or what we can say and do by the fundamentalist lunatics drawn from the many religions that enjoy freedom in this United Kingdom. We should stand up, stand tall and stand firm despite the implicit threat of violence and chaos that these groups browbeat and blackmail us with.

 And then there’s this from the Beeb:

Siân Preece, a writer from Cardiff said Waterstone’s had failed to support freedom of expression.

‘You hear of countries like Turkey or China oppressing writers and you feel sorry for them.

‘And then you’re surprised to find it happening here,’ she said.

You can listen to a debate between Stephen Green and Patrick Jones on the BBC and nominate Green in the New Humanist Bad Faith Awards.

You can also email Gerry Johnson at gerry.johnson@waterstones.com – remember, be polite (or at least more polite than I have been in this post).

Stephen Green would do well to remember the advice given by Salman Rushdie: don’t fuck with writers.

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7 Responses to “Solidarity with Cinnamon Press”

  1. Jan Fortune-Wood Says:

    Fantastic stuff, Max – thanks for your support 🙂

    Jan @cinnamon press

  2. Mark Sullivan Says:

    what a bunch of effin jeffin idiotics. who would have thought people would get so upperty about a little book. that wouldn’t get any publicity otherwise. you’d think people (those people) would realise by now that it’s probably better to live and let live. eejits.

    i’m off to copy & paste my complaint letter and send it to waterstones. cut out: russell brand, paste in: Darkness is where the Stars Are

    don’t give in to the unthinking haters…….

  3. maxdunbar Says:

    Jan

    My pleasure.

    Mark

    I know – I hadn’t heard of this poet either. It is as if Christian Voice are constantly scanning the nation’s arts and media looking for something to be offended by.

  4. Rachel Fox Says:

    Yes I’d never have heard of this poet otherwise. Now I may well buy the book. From any place but Waterstone’s.

  5. Andy Williams Says:

    Just emailed Waterstones, and just bought the book (not from Waterstones). I’ve just been reading Christian Voice’s site, puttitng the ‘mental’ into ‘fundamentalism’ all right.

  6. William Says:

    Why oh why do we love to pick up an issue and moan and moan about it. The only issue here is the people who are complaining about this book. All Waterstone’s did was to cancel a reading because of a threat made to their staff if it was to go ahead, and that started because Jones and his Publicists sent copies to all areas where they believed there would be less than favourible responses . The book is still being sold in all Waterstone stores and with other retailers. And surprise surprise it is now expected to sell a lot more than initially thought. So to everyone who is keeping the fire burning Jones and his Publisher would like to say thank you for all the extra money they are making. So wake up and smell the world of good PR………………

  7. Rachel Fox Says:

    I do have to say…I said I might buy it…then I went and looked at some of his poems online and thought…well, maybe I’ll wait a bit longer then….

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