Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Review - Death, Destruction and a Packet of Peanuts by Chris Pascoe

As someone who doesn't drink and has no interest in history, this book didn't seem particularly promising. A bloke goes on a massive pub crawl, while visiting sites of major battlefields of the English Civil War.
By the end of the second page, I was hooked. The author, Chris Pascoe, is a very funny writer - I defy anyone not to laugh at his story of the shed-eating dog or the American tourist rewriting history. But even more impressively, he brings the Civil War, a subject I've always associated with memorising dates at school, to full technicolour life. Some of the descriptions of battles are breathtaking and the characters mesemerising. Prince Rupert was my favourite, a man who didn't seem to have any concept of personal safety.
And then there was Pete. Pete was the author's traveling companion and a one-man disaster zone. His adventures are enough to make a book on their own, the highlights being an ill-advised toilet seat attack on a skinhead.
Throw in an incoherent Northerner called Dave and a dog of the same name, and you've got a book that I couldn't put down. Highly recommended.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Two emails that made my day

Both came from people who had just finished reading The Bromley Boys.
The first was from Alan Soper, goalkeeper for Bromley in the season in which the book is set. He was one of my all-time heroes and the fact he enjoyed the book gave me an enormous thrill. He also put me right on one anecdote. I claimed that one of the players was sent off for pushing an opponent. Apparently, it wasn't so much a push - more a right hook to the jaw. He told me a couple of other brilliant stories, including the time the team had to train in the ice-covered car park one frosty night, as the chairman didn't want them on the pitch in case they "broke the grass".
The other email was from a teenage Ipswich fan who had also just finished the book. He finished by saying " I would just like to say thanks for a fantastic read and i hope you will be writing more great books soon; as you have done something in my mind which J.K.Rowling couldnt, made me fall in love with reading!".
What a fantastic day.