Our Old Selves, Tech Enhanced at The Cafe

First ever interview at the Bootstrap Cafe

Adam Beckett here. I’m with Saffron Rainey of Radio, an Independent cafe in Oswestry, Shropshire, England.
I’m going to be interviewing Saffron about the whole concept; what’s unique and what Radio is about.

Saffron Rainey Radio Cafe Oswestry

Adam; First of all Saffron, in one or two sentences can you describe what Radio brings?

Saffron; What does Radio bring? I hope it brings a place where people can come and socialise; a meeting point where people can spend time and be in a place that’s comfortable – added to that I wanted to bring a place that creates good food at decent prices, which I thought was something missing in the town.

Adam; Ok thanks Saffron. I guess that Radio is about community, which is really important.
That’s a big part of what the Bootstrap Cafe blog is all about.
In fact Radio was one of my two biggest inspirations for starting this Blog as a place for art/work/culture and I think that Radio really fits well into that identity.

When I first saw the name my perception was a place where people could gather and start conversations, which could create movements; those “idea waves” could spread as it were, radiating out from The Hub.

In fact the basic origins of the name are different from those concepts I’d imagined, so perhaps you could tell us a little about where it emerged from?

Saffron; The name Radio was from a historical instance of what happened here; there was a radio rentals shop – when renting a radio was the the height of technical availability.
Beyond that reference to the buildings former use, what chimed with me was the idea that “radio waves” emitted from the core of the action – the idea of community and being the centre; a meeting point.
Also the other thing that I liked about the name Radio was the fact that the word has probably the same recognized meaning in any language in the world, so it had a Global component.
That appealled too, it wasn’t a word we needed to translate.
I feel that there’s a sense of a somewhere where the new and the old meet, a new sense of the word about transferring and communicating ideas and the old sense of the word that was the origin of Radio as a building.

Adam; Certainly that’s an interesting concept, a meeting of new and old. Somewhere to meet in a traditional face to face environment, that could be tech enhanced via modern communication channels.

It’s great that cafes or coffee shops, however they’re labelled, do seem to be places where people can get in front of each other, perhaps even with someone they’ve not met before – which I think is an opportunity lacking in todays society.

People can tend to hide behind their computers and televison screens. I think that’s something that I love about cafes. People can get face to face and really interract, then go and Tweet it out if that’s what they want to do.

And also it’s interesting that you get a lot of writers and bloggers that come into cafes like this and tap away on their machines or scribble in their Moleskin notebooks.

It’s very interesting. A lot of artists do some great work from places like this.

From the business angle it’s significant that big institutions like Lloyds of London were created in cafes.

I’m thrilled that we’ve got somewhere like this is Oswestry – I think it’s a Hub that could resonate in the locality and also Globally.
I’m really hoping that we hear from Cafe dwellers from other Independent Coffee shops in the UK and Worldwide. We’d certainly love to hear your comments.

OK, so what kind of people would you like to see coming in here?

Saffron; The point you make about cafes and communities and the face to face thing; a curious thing is happening.
We have an ability to communicate through our computers and smartmobilephones; society can become quite atomised. There’s something very important in face to face community.
There seems to have been a decline in English pubs, but a rise in the use of cafes. A social shift is happening.

I was hoping to make a place that can be open to everyone, where everyone would feel comfortable.
From the Farmer trading in the local market, to a place where younger people are working in a more flexible and open way.

I hope that this cafe like any other acts as a place where anyone can come in and see all kinds of people and feel relaxed enough to be alone or to interract with others, a community hub, a place where many spokes radiate from.

My other interest is in the Digital World, so I hope that Radio is a tether to that Virtual place.

Adam; Ok that about wraps it up Saffron. Thank you so much for the insight.

Definitely those good Old School values being spread and championed via tech, to make us more at one with each other is really something that we’re about here at Bootstrap Cafe – I’m sure this interview is something that will engage the bloggers and Internet community, plus anyone else that bumps into this – I’m going to print off a few hard copies to give away to Radio customers and see if they send any comments to this Blog post or leave any feedback in person.

I’d like to say a big thank you to anyone that’s read this and thanks to Saffron. That’s it!

Interview by Adam Beckett at www.bootstrapcafe.com

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