The North will rise again

30 06 2007

Pies and Prejudice by Stuart Maconie

From the blurb:

‘My name is Stuart Maconie, and I am from the North Of England.’ A northerner in exile, stateless and confused, hearing rumours of Harvey Nichols in Leeds and Maseratis in Wilmslow, Stuart goes in search of The North. Delving into his own past, it is a riotously funny journey in search of where the cliches end and the truth begins. He travels from Wigan Pier to Blackpool Tower, the Bigg Market in Newcastle to the daffodil-laden Lake District in search of his own Northern Soul, encountering along the way an exotic cast of Scousers, Scallies, pie-eating Woolly-backs, topless Geordies, mad-for-it Mancs, Yorkshire nationalists and brothers in southern exile.

Good title, unpromising summary. It is actually pretty good fun in an effortless, slightly throwaway kind of way. Very much in the Bryson observational mode but no worse for that.

Just pleasant, innocent niceness. Good one!


3 star

No black swans

13 06 2007

Black Swan Green by David Mitchell


4.5 stars

Really is first class. Not quite the full five stars but wonderfully “real” evocation of 13 year old life in early 80s. And barely a hint of the Adrian Mole about it.

Just lovely and thoroughly recommended

Those (kicking) feet

9 06 2007

Those feet by David Winner


4 star

OK, it’s about football and there is perhaps a little too much cod social anthropology in there (particularly in relation to Victorian values) but this is just a really cracking book about English football (and it is pretty definitively English – Scottish and Welsh to follow I trust). There are some great insights in here both historical and practical (boots and pitches) which ultimately serve to explain the otherwise inexplicably elevated positions of Allardyce and McClaren.

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