Born OTD in 1941, Jamaican record producer, Bunny “Striker” Lee. Lee began his career working as a record plugger for Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label in 1962, later performing the same duties for Leslie Kong. He then moved on to work with Ken Lack, initially in an administrative role, before taking on engineering duties. Lee then moved into producing (i.e. financing) records himself, his first hit record coming with Roy Shirley’s “Music Field” on WIRL in 1967. Lee then set up his own Lee’s label, the first release being Lloyd Jackson’s “Listen to the Beat”.

Omnipresent on the Jamaican music scene for over four decades, Bunny Striker’ Lee is one of the most important figures … More

Born OTD in 1920, Amercian author and screenwriter predominantly known for writing the iconic dystopian novel ‘Fahrenheit 451’, Ray Bradbury. “It’s the week before Hallowe’en, and Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois. The siren song of the calliope entices all with promises of youth regained and dreams fulfilled . . . And as two boys trembling on the brink of manhood set out to explore the mysteries of the dark carnival’s smoke, mazes and mirrors, they will also discover the true price of innermost wishes . .”

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Born OTD in 1887, Jamaican-born political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator, Marcus Garvey. Marcus Garvey was one of the greatest black leaders of the 20th century. His is a story of a man who launched an idea on the tide and created a flood in the worldwide development of black political consciousness. As the leader of America’s first mass political movement of black people, Gerbey’s achievements were both enormous in their scale and long-lasting in their effects. This is an in-depth biography and history of this great man who envisaged so much and inspired so many.

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“Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.” First published OTD in 1945, George Orwell’s novella ‘Animal Farm’.

‘The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but … More

Born OTD in 1924, British anarchist writer and social historian, Colin Ward. Ten lectures. Endless variations on a few simple but neglected truths. From An Anarchist Approach To Urban Planning, to Do-It-Yourself New Towns. Colin Ward is one of the few internationally known libertarian writers in the field of housing and other social issues. In this series of talks given to various audiences worldwide, he reveals the history of housing and town planning as a series of conflicts between the top-down approach to local adminstration, which prefers effeciency to democracy, and the grassroots approach, with emphasis on fostering self-reliance in citizens.

Most of Ward’s works deal with the issue of rural housing and the problems of overpopulation and planning regulations in … More

When Jamaica became independent on August 6, 1962, ska music was playing in yards, dancehalls, and in recording studios as this new nation celebrated. It was a spirited music, full of promise, optimism, and energy and it was the perfect sound to showcase to the world. Now that Jamaica was independent, what better way to demonstrate the culture, beauty, and art of Jamaica than through ska, both as a music and as a dance. The Jamaican government, tourist and business industry, and newly developing music industry made it their mission to bring Jamaican music to the world, through events they termed Operation Jump Up. This is the story of that effort and how, for a brief time, ska rivaled the Beatles and the Twist.

Operation Jump Up is the culmination of four years of research. The detailed historical narrative features dozens of interviews with … More

Born OTD in 1924, American novelist, playwright, and activist, James Baldwin. Baldwin’s novels and plays fictionalize fundamental personal questions and dilemmas amid complex social and psychological pressures thwarting the equitable integration of not only African Americans, but also gay and bisexual men, while depicting some internalized obstacles to such individuals’ quests for acceptance.

When David meets the sensual Giovanni in a bohemian bar, he is swept into a passionate love affair. But his … More

Born OTD in 1819, American novelist, short story writer, and poet of the American Renaissance period, Herman Melville. Moby Dick is the story of Captain Ahab’s quest to avenge the whale that `reaped’ his leg. The quest is an obsession and the novel is a diabolical study of how a man becomes a fanatic. But it is also a hymn to democracy. Bent as the crew is on Ahab’s appalling crusade, it is equally the image of a co-operative community at work: all hands dependent on all hands, each individual responsible for the security of each. Among the crew is Ishmael, the novel’s narrator, ordinary sailor, and extraordinary reader.

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Born OTD in 1909, black American writer, Chester Himes. Himes wrote about African Americans in general, especially in two books that are concerned with labor relations and African-American workplace issues. ‘If He Hollers Let Him Go’ – which contains many autobiographical elements – is about a black shipyard worker in Los Angeles during World War II struggling against racism, as well as his own violent reactions to racism.

Robert Jones is a crew leader in a naval shipyard in Los Angeles in the 1940s. He should have a … More

Born OTD in 1856, Irish playwright, critic, polemicist and political activist, Bernard Shaw. Andrew Undershaft, a millionaire armaments manufacturer, loves money and despises poverty. His estranged daughter Barbara, on the other hand, shows her love for the poor by throwing her energies into her work as a Major in the Salvation Army, and sees her father as another soul to be saved. But when the Army needs funds to keep going, it is Undershaft who saves the day with a large cheque – forcing Barbara to examine her moral assumptions.

Are they right to accept money that has been obtained by ‘Death and Destruction’? Full of lively comedy and sparkling … More