Who is Adrian May? A musician and singer? A poet? A teacher of creative writing? A folklorist? A social historian? A collector? A man of many hats (literal and figurative)? An Odysseus of car boot sales?
Hang on. What?
When Adrian May approached us in 2022 and said “I have a book, and the book is about car boot sales, and I hope you might like to publish it,” we needed to stop and think.
We stopped and thought for a minute or so, before saying “Yes, of course, because we are Dunlin Press and who else would publish a book about a season of visits to boot sales that most definitely is simply about going to boot sales and also most definitely isn’t. And because you are Adrian May, and because Adrian May really is a treasure.
Treasure. Boot Sale Harvest is about treasure. Treasure lost. Treasure found. Small treasures. Treasures overlooked. Local treasures. Folk treasure. And when you unearth treasure you don’t just unearth an object, you unearth history, and things that have been buried start to reassert some of their original importance. But they are also changed, and so are you.
Why do we hold onto anything? Keepsakes. Trinkets. Books. Old records. Hats. Bric-a-brac. What happens when we lose them? Thoughts. Ideas. Plans. People. Why do things come in and out of fashion? What does that even mean? Who does the losing, the looking, the finding?
In Boot Sale Harvest, a voyage through the car-boot fields of Essex, we find the answers to some of these questions, and many more are raised.
How do we build a world myth? What is bad poetry? Why do small books have a big impact? Who’s been cruel to a vegetebuel? Who needs more notebooks? What’s the meaning of folk music? What’s the point of fairy tales? Anyone for harmonicas?
Okay, some blurb:
In every object is a story. Books and pens. Ukuleles and harmonicas. Soup bowls, strawberries or tins of paint. Songs from the music hall. An Anglepoise lamp. More books. Always more books. In Boot Sale Harvest, author, poet and songwriter Adrian May takes a seasonal journey through the car-boot fields that artist Grayson Perry has described as being like a “casual museum”. In the boot sales of Essex we discover the lost and found of everyday life, and begin to reclaim the “things that the everyday folks leave behind”. And in the bricolage of overlooked histories we learn of forgotten writers, of fairy tales, of the need for magic and humour, and of love and loss and everything in between. What is really found at the boot sales, and in these pages, are the honest treasures of our society – from a writer we can treasure, too.
“Delightfully engaging and suitably eclectic in style, Boot Sale Harvest is a welcome celebration of the wonders of rummaging, of seeking treasures on a Sunday morning. Generously warm in tone, this is a must-have book for all who love the joy of picking among the bric-a-brac. Glorious.”
Dr James Canton, author of Grounded and The Oak Papers
With a glorious foreword from writer and social historian Ken Worpole, Boot Sale Harvest can be ordered from our shop here.
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