You need a lot of books to open a bookshop. About 35,000. And you need a lot of gumption, hope, faith and nous. You need to be brave…Stereo Stories writer John Butler and his partner Marion this year opened Everybody Knows Books, a second-hand bookshop in  Ballarat.

The pandemic hasn’t exactly helped but John and Marion are optimistic souls.

John came into the orbit of Stereo Stories via his long-time involvement with our partner site The Footy Almanac. He was a founding Almanac editor as well as a regular writer, contributing stories about Carlton Football Club, and cricket, in particular.

John’s handful of Stereo Stories have been about great songs – no middle-of-the-road tunes here: Cattle And Cane by The Go-Betweens, Hellhound On My Trail by Robert Johnson, 1952 Vincent Black Lightning by Richard Thompson, My Turn To Cry by Cold Chisel, and a tribute to to the late, formidable bluesman Chris Wilson:

A big man stalks the stage. He prowls. Shaved hair. Baggy t-shirt. Faded jeans. A denim jacket if he was feeling fancy. Clothes you can sweat in. This ain’t no fashion show. This is the blues. This is country. This is Chris Wilson music.

But what possessed John and Marion to start a business in the middle of a pandemic?