Saturday, November 10, 2007

Stuart Maconie and the nostalgic north

Having recently read Pies and Prejudice, an excellent semi-tongue-in-cheek travelogue-come-socio-cultural treatise on the North of England by BBC radio DJ Stuart Maconie I've just started reading another of his books Cider with Roadies . This book is a sort of semi-autobiogrpahical account of growing up in Wigan in the 1970s and the cultural influences of the time from Northern Soul to Progressive Rock, which later goes on to describe his bizarre experiences as a music journalist.
This particular paragraph gives a flavour of Maconie’s quirky style:

“I went to and from school, learned about the Anti-Corn Law League and Brownian Motion and tried not to get “strapped” by Brother Ring, the most sadistic of the bullying bog-trotters who taught me – or the Christian Brothers to give them their official name. When not thus engaged, I would be watching Fawlty Towers or Ripping Yarns, smoking furtively in a variety of toilets, parks and bus shelters or engaged, equally furtively, in a kind of amiable hand-to-hand contact with a girl from Orrell called Hilary. In an almost comical piece of good luck, Hilary turned out to be a teenage nympho whose dad owned an off-licence, a semi-mythical creature not normally found outside the fantasies of Sid James.”

As a former Christian Brothers boy myself I can relate to this although to be fair they weren’t all like that.
I haven’t finished the book yet, but so far it's a riveting read.

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