peter wells

Bookstore Sign Goes Almost/Sort of Viral; Guy Fieri Blasts Restaurant Reviewer

There’s an old Beat Gen Bookshop in Oxford  called, Albion Beatnik Bookshop, and someone put up a sign and someone else took a photo of the sign that went almost/sort of viral. According to this post the photo has been viewed 9,000 times, and when I think of viral I think in terms of at least six figures. But what do I know? It may get more hits due to the nature of the sign.

Opening some time around midday and usually closing after midnight, this is a place where you can sit in dilapidated red buttonback sofas and choose the poet mug you want to drink your (very strong, very good) coffee out of (I’m always Sylvia Plath. Fortunately there are two Plath mugs so I rarely have to resort to actually wrestling the other clientele or settling for Seamus Heaney) … It’s a place where zinesters meet to pillage material for handmades, politics students tap out theses whilst stopping to explain Bukowski or canvas customers on a point of Marxist theory, and poetry groups (the Backroom Poets, Oxford Improvisers, Oxford University Poetry Society and many both more and less official) meet to plot whatever it is poetry groups meet and plot about.

Although this is all very endearing, I owned an art gallery in New Hope for ten years and I know what small businesses like the Albion Beatnik Bookshop need the most: people who are willing to spend money. It’s nice to sit around and talk politics on someone else’s dime, but if you want that sort of bookshop to stay around you’d better put your hands into you pockets and spend a little money there, too. Cuz they ain’t going to pay the electric bill plottin about poetry and dreamin of Marxism.

Here’s the link where you can check out the sign itself. I hesitate to post it here for copyright reasons.

Guy Fieri Not Fond of His Reviews?

In a recent article about food in Huff Po, Rebecca Orchant discusses Guy Fieri, his new cookbook, and Fieri’s reaction to a review of his restaurant.

Let me backtrack for a moment. NYT food Critic, Peter Wells, recently reviewed Fieri’s new restaurant, Flavor Town. You can read this review here, and below is an excerpt.

Hey, did you try that blue drink, the one that glows like nuclear waste? The watermelon margarita? Any idea why it tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde?

Well! It only gets more interesting after that. Just one more.

When you hung that sign by the entrance that says, WELCOME TO FLAVOR TOWN!, were you just messing with our heads?

In this article you can see how Fieri responds to this review.

Yet Fieri’s most consistent argument is that Pete Wells had “another agenda” when he wrote his review. He says this no less than three times. What exactly does he mean by “agenda”?

Then this same article goes on to say that Fieri seems to think Wells wanted the publicity, however, it’s also stated in the article that Wells has already reached the pinnacle of his career as a reviewer and that there’s no logical reason why he would need this so-called publicity. And, notice how Fieri refers to Wells as “Pete.” As if they are best buds.

But there’s nothing wrong with a little snark. And here’s a final statement from Fieri:

At my restaurants, we always try to live by a very simple notion: that food brings people together. I’ve learned that not everyone agrees with my style. The Times’ critic, Pete Wells, clearly did not enjoy his experience. I normally do not respond to reviews or critics, however, given the tone of Pete’s piece, it’s clear to me that he went into my restaurant with his mind already made up. That’s unfortunate. I take comments from patrons, fans and visitors very seriously, and if there is ever a problem with our service, I’ll fix it.

It’s nice to see this happening somewhere other than in the book community for a change. But the food industry has always been notorious for this sort of thing. Years back, there was one critic who used to slam Julia Child all the time. This critic despised her. I read this in one of the bios about Child once. However, Julia Child didn’t sulk and react with statements to her critics.She didn’t pout and complain in public. Like the professional she always was, she took the criticism quietly and moved on with her career. Clearly, there aren’t many left like her anymore.