Boston Blog

Boston Blog

How 'snowflakes' form blizzards - Boston, March for Our Lives.

Boston, March 24. Her voice breaking and shaking with anger, a survivor of the massacre at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School addressed the crowd on Boston Common; “We are not special, we are not particularly articulate”. Leonor Munoz’ message was that she was an ordinary teenager at an ordinary school on an ordinary day and that what happened to her could happen in any high school on any main street in any town in America.

The fun and anticipation of a teenage Valentine’s Day - she said a little about that - ended when she went outside in response to a fire alarm to be told “Code Red: Run”. Leonor’s older sister Beca, a student at Northeastern University spoke too - she received a text from her sister that day saying “Active Shooter on Campus - Do Not Call”. For the crowd of thousands on a grey end-of-winter afternoon clustered around the Common, straining to hear the speeches, that is the text, as one mother’s handmade sign said, that nobody ever wants to receive. Everyone can relate to what is becoming an all-too-ordinary story.


Teacher and former Marine Graciela Mohamedi told the crowd: “The opposition will call you snowflakes. But do you know what in Massachusetts we call thousands upon thousands of snowflakes rising on a wind of change? We call that a blizzard!’

Read more: How 'snowflakes' form blizzards - Boston, March for Our Lives.

Bookshops of Boston: Trident Books

Like other cities, Boston has many fewer independent bookshops than it once did. But there is one still standing among the boutiques of Newbury St, the smartest shopping street in town. Trident Booksellers has been there since 1984 and it seems to be still going strong.

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The Violin-Maker's Quiet Anger


A middle-aged man stands  at a street corner waiting for his customers, wrapped up against the December chill. Master violinmaker Paul Wiessmeyer, along with several others, has been summarily evicted from a Harry-Potter-ish building in Boston’s music quarter.

The place, 295 Huntington Ave was easy to miss - you could walk past the unprepossessing entrance without guessing what was inside up the narrow staircase. Built as a hotel a century or so ago, it became a cultural ecosystem about 60 years ago. There was a symbiosis in its corridors where music students, performers and media types rubbed shoulders.

Read more: The Violin-Maker's Quiet Anger

Guest Blogpost from Paul Wiessmeyer - a Family Waits to be Reunited After Many Years.

Paul Wiessmeyer, who I wrote about this week on my "Boson Blog" contacted me about this family of refugees who are hoping to be reunited Monday.

On DECEMBER 18, a Turkish Airlines flight 1525 that originated in the Sudan, will land in Dusseldorf, Germany at 13.05 PM. Among the passengers will be an Eritrean mother and her four young sons, recently granted permission to leave a Sudanese refugee camp to be reunited with their father Asmerom in Germany. This will be the first time they see each other in four years.

Read more: Guest Blogpost from Paul Wiessmeyer - a Family Waits to be Reunited After Many Years.

Bookshops of Boston 1: Commonwealth Books

Leo perusing the shelves of Commonwealth Books

Will bookshops survive the digital revolution? Perhaps some of them may. There is a special pleasure in reading on paper, browsing real books, picking them up and gathering in a moment a sense of their heft and gravitas. This January, among other things, I plan to read more, and to read more weirdly and widely, rambling without the direction or the cognisance of algorithms.

So on a snowy Sunday afternoon shopping for dull household items in Boston’s January sales, my feet turned as they often do towards the alley that houses Commonwealth Books. It’s a fascinating second-hand bookstore which is also the residence of a large ginger cat named Leo. Leo reminds me of a real-life version of the fictional ‘Bagpuss’, a shop-dwelling cloth cat whose magical adventure were narrated by Oliver Postgate on the BBC when I was a child.

Read more: Bookshops of Boston 1: Commonwealth Books