Author Archives: Guru Boutique

About Guru Boutique

This is a blog about a small family run fair trade gift, clothes and card shop, which at the date of writing has managed to survive for almost five decades. In 1971 the idea took shape for this business, but it began life under the name of Quaker Girl. In 1972 it became Guru Boutique. Guru Boutique is much more than a business, it is a way of life and a labour of love!

We’re going to see Kris Kristofferson, again…


Thanks to our fabulous friend, Libby the Gurus will be at The Sage in Gateshead for the upcoming Kris Kristofferson gig. I know I’ll love it as Kris has been one of my main men of music since what seems like forever…

Whilst looking forward excitedly to seeing our hero this time, I can’t help but cast my mind back to another memorable occasion when we had the pleasure of attending not one, but two of his concerts on consecutive nights. The venue was the historic Cadogan Hall, in Chelsea, London. We had great seats  (front row in fact) and were so excited to be there.

On the first night, we noticed that there were some well-known people there to see the great man. Rolph Harris was sitting a few seats behind us (but we’ll speak no more of that). Hahaha.

Not far away from us in the front row was a certain Ian Siegal, a blues artist who we greatly admire, so we knew we were in good company.

Anyway, Kris came on stage. He cut an inevitably ageing, yet fiercely honest figure with just his guitar for accompaniment – and he totally blew our minds. It was all really wonderful and I for one never wanted the show to end. So many songs. So many stories. Such a great man who had beaten the devil and lived to tell the tale.

The simplicity and quality of both his performances almost had me in tears of joy.

Now this Ian Siegal, whom I mentioned earlier, is a bit of a chameleon who can change his look at will.

On this occasion, his hair was tousled and curly. That didn’t prevent him bearing a noticeable resemblance to the actor Mickey Rourke. We could see that Kris kept shooting Ian rather puzzled looks and realised that he actually thought that Ian WAS Mickey Rourke. The songs ended and when he came forward to the front of the stage to do some interacting he made a beeline for Ian and said, “hey, thanks for coming” but still looked puzzled as he must have realised that if this was Mr Rourke then he must have had a facelift or something as Ian is much younger than Mickey is. Nonetheless, he shook Ian’s hand warmly and once again thanked him for coming, then continued on to speak to and shake hands with as many of us as he could. It was obvious he was happy to be doing this and just as obvious that we all loved him in return. Finally, taking one last incredulous look at Ian, he was gone…

The following night we found ourselves back at Cadogan Hall for the second show and there was Ian Siegal sitting in the front row near to us again too. This time Ian (obviously realising what Kris was thinking) had slicked his hair back and now the resemblance between him and Rourke was even more striking.

‘What would Kris think tonight,’ we wondered.

We soon found out as he spotted Ian the moment he came on stage and said, “Wow, you came again.”

The show was fantastic and the added spice of the Siegal/Rourke element just cracked us up.

After the final encore, Kris went along the people in the front row (which happily included us), shaking hands. He stopped at Ian and said, “for a while there I thought you were Mickey Rourke, you can’t be as he’s much older than you are but you sure do look like him,” then these two men shook hands again and the whole incident has stayed in our minds ever since and enriched what were two brilliant nights of music and fun.

We can hardly wait to see Kris again and I am certain he will thrill us once again with his humanity and his music and if we are really lucky the night may afford us another great musical adventure too.

P.S. Just to let you see what we mean I’ve added a couple of photos below.

On the left Mickey Rourke. On the right Ian Siegal.

DARLINGTON: The Edward Pease Free Library in Darlington


Crown Street Library (which was recently in danger of closure) was given a reprieve and hopefully will flourish well into the future in Crown Street. Thank you to all the people who campaigned so hard to make this happen.

Under pressure from public opinion, Darlington Borough Council had to decide the future fate of this iconic institution which was gifted to the people of the town to be used as a library forever, by the Pease family.

For financial reasons, the cabinet members on our council had decided that it was in the best interests of the town that the building should no longer be used for this purpose. The members of DBC were asked to decide whether or not the building which is in Crown Street, would cease to be a library and the books and archives and art collection split up and relocated in The Dolphin Centre (a sports and hospitality complex) and various other places around town. At the eleventh hour and after a lot of stressful and expensive legal tussles it was finally decided that our library should remain open at its traditional location. We believe that Darlington’s main town library belongs in this particular building and is an important part of the heritage of our town. Furthermore, we want to see it stay intact and go from strength to strength for as long as it possibly can. This place is the soul of the town and to lose it would be to lose part of our Quaker history and not only dilute our own sense of identity but deny future generations their hometown pride.

Photograph by Peter Giroux