Travis Elborough, live and in person

People - Books Friday, 30th July 2021

Stoke Newington launch for acclaimed history of spectacles


The first live launch party BookBrunch has attended since March last year was also the first it has ever attended in the forecourt of a motorcycle retailer. But, on a fine summer evening, the Stoke Newington home of BOLT ("BOLT has become a key arbiter and protagonist within the motorcycle scene in London and beyond," its website boasts) offered a pleasant spot at which to toast Travis Elborough's new book, Through the Looking Glasses: The Spectacular Life of Spectacles (Little, Brown).

Elborough has written acclaimed social histories including Wish You Were Here: England on Sea, The Long-Player Goodbye (a premature eulogy, perhaps), and The Bus We Loved. Through the Looking Glasses has been particularly well received. Kathryn Hughes in the Guardian wrote: "Elborough brings his own experience as a lifelong myope beautifully to bear on his subject."

Guests at the party included writers Magnus Mills, Mel McGrath, John Hegley, John Williams, Barry Forshaw and Suzi Feay; Stoke newington festival founders Liz Vater and her husband Pete Brown; former Buzzcocks manager Richard Boon; and record label impresario Johnny Trunk; Thurston Moore of the band Sonic Youth; and Tjinder Singh of the band Cornershop. The Stoke Newington Bookshop handled sales, selling out.

Photo: Travis Elborough (right) with his publisher Richard Beswick and Suzi Feay