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Friday, 14 June 2013

Great news for the weak-wristed and those searching for that last-minute father's day gift!

My fourth book, Shakespeare's Local, is out now in paperback!

This new edition has the same text and pictures as the old one, but it has a different cover, is lighter to hold, and has the words 'As read on BBC Radio 4' on the front.

If you didn't buy it for your father or pub-loving hubby for Christmas, you can now atone for that oversight by buying it for Father's Day!

This is less a beer book, more a social history of one pub in one part of London that in turn tells a history of day-to-day life from the perspective of the bar stool. Pubs have endured for a thousand years, and while the basic principle and function of them is amazingly constant over time, how that is expressed changes constantly. 

The four sets of legs standing at the bar together illustrate the variety of people who have enjoyed a pint at the George Inn, Southwark, over the centuries it has stood as a living, breathing boozer. Any great pub has colourful individuals propping up the bar. Over the centuries the George has played host to villains, rogues and royalty, welcoming Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Taylor, Beyonce and the Stuart era's finest Fart Poet, and hosted a lock-in for Princess Margaret with the Bishop of Southwark.

The Guardian said the book was 'engaging and irreverent... brimming with fascinating stories and forgotten characters'. The Wall Street Journal said while it was 'an entertaining stream of facts and stories', but that its author was 'an amateur... hucksterish, juvenile and occasionally vulgar... at first, pleasingly engaging and then, alas, more and more tiresome.' 

The only element of this that jars is that the reviewer says it as if she thinks it's a bad thing.
Available now in all good bookshops.


Professor Pie-Tin said...

Dissed by the WSJ ? Top man !
On a vaguely unrelated matter I remember many years ago an article in the London Evening Standard which interviewed every person who sat on a specific bar stool in a pub from opening to closing time.
Fascinating article with some real human interest stories in it.
I wonder how the reporter, who was sat on the next stool, stayed sober for an entire day.

Anonymous said...

author was 'an amateur... hucksterish, juvenile and occasionally vulgar... at first, pleasingly engaging and then, alas, more and more tiresome.'

Yup...and there's no author that I'd rather read while sitting on the back porch sipping a beer.


Alex said...