We decided to go for a peek behind the façade of Higher Buxton shop The Grove Goodies and Geekery, in the hope that we might be able to shed some light on what actually goes on there…
In a town that strives for individuality, there are those Buxton shops truly worthy of the compliment and The Grove Goodies and Geekery is one. In previous incarnations, the premises was a DVD rental shop and a cybercafé; two services that seem to have fallen under the merciless wheels of progress. The Grove Goodies and Geekery seeks to provide something fairly new, at least as far as Buxton is concerned, providing a destination for so-called geeks who, to be fair, probably existed beforehand but just had nowhere to go.
I’ve been into comics and board games for all of my life (I’m 45) and I’m surrounded by my large collection, although it’s recently got smaller to make room for a girlfriend. I probably haven’t got enough life left to justify re-reading 300 issues of The X Men and gave the lot to my younger cousin. Back in the old days, pre-Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, Pokémon, etc. being a geek wasn’t as widespread or acceptable as it is now. I’ve endured a lot of stick for being into Star Wars, Batman and Lord of the Rings. Nowadays, not so much.
Equipped to decipher the mysteries of The G.G.& G. I paid them a visit and was at once heartened at the sight of a group of young gentlemen enthusiastically tackling a game of Pokémon in the gaming area. The owner, Lee, was very friendly and happy to chat. He had no experience of the board game I currently favour, Blood Rage, but there are thousands of games out there at the moment so he, or anyone else for that matter, can be forgiven. He told me his shop had been open for 18 months and that he had enjoyed some success attracting people to play collectable card games such as Yu-Gi-Oh and Magic and roleplaying games such as Dungeons and Dragons. He runs games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, as well as during the day, and anyone is welcome to join in. In fact, Lee told me that he champions the involvement of people with disabilities. As a former advocate for young people with learning difficulties, I can appreciate that gaming groups can be a great activity to help individuals overcome their social barriers.
In a way, Lee is combining two heroic initiatives; acceptance of those who like fantasy, science-fiction and horror (speculative fiction) and a place for individuals who may experience obstacles living the normal life most of us take for granted. So, if you’re looking for a new experience or more friends to play games with or a worthy local project to support, don’t be shy. Glancing through the window, the shop may look strange, with peculiar games such as Bears vs. Babies on the shelves but if you go in through the door, you will find yourself welcome, like I did, and that the world that geeks occupy is not so strange and actually quite friendly and fun. Of course, as well as providing a space to play, the shop has traditional commercial obligations and sells comic books, graphic novels, t-shirts and snacks (this is where the goodies bit comes in). If you’re looking for a unique gift or an original way to spend an evening, then the Grove Goodies and Geekery can certainly provide you with a product you won’t find anyone else in town.
Ben Jones for Explore Buxton.
Find at more on their Facebook page at: facebook.com/GroveGG