At 5pm today – the proposed time of the Book Launch of from Hillsborough to Lambeth – authors Brian Pead and Michael Bird visited the Foyles bookstore at the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank of the Thames.
Staff at Foyles had obviously been briefed to say nothing. They were unable to provide reasons why the Launch had been cancelled, claiming “…We’ve been told nothing…”
Brian Pead spoke with a single security guard and asked why he was in attendance. The amiable guard said that he had been called in “…specially because I’ve been told there might be a problem here tonight because the Book Launch has been cancelled…”
Pead asked the guard if he knew what the book was about and the guard said he didn’t. When Pead told the guard that it was about child abuse and racism, the security guard was extremely sympathetic to the author’s cause.
Several supporters arrived and mingled with Foyles’ customers. Foyles’ staff were asked why the Book Launch had been cancelled at such short notice and each member of staff provided a different answer, some even claiming that it was “…not cancelled, but merely postponed…” This member of staff was asked to provide a date on which it would take place, but none was forthcoming.
Foyles adopted several strategies to impede the lawful protest about the Foyles refusal to stock a book about child abuse and racism including sending at one point ten security guards from the South Bank centre.
Once again, when these guards were told that Foyles had cancelled the launch of a book about child abuse and racism and – with many of the security staff having children – their attitude softened to the authors and their supporters.