Sunday, 30 August 2009
Here are two very good books about that rare thing, a regional media success story. Phil Sidey's account of the early days of BBC Radio Leeds, which I vividly remember from my teens, is one of the favourites of all my northern books. I can read it again and again, always sharing his relish (he was the first station head and without reservation a Good, nay Wonderful, Thing). It's a success story, but against enormous and often eccentric metropolitan odds. Hello, Mrs Butterfield, Kestrel Press 1994.
The Dream that Died, Matador 2008, by the award-winning journalist Ray Fitzwalter, who incredibly first exposed the crooked architect John Poulson and his crew of corrupt politicians from the humble berth of the Bradford Telegraph & Argus is about a success story which went dismally wrong. Like Phil's book, it's an indictment of London control. But unlike his, it's also a textbook description of how not to fight that, if you want to win rather than make a point.
It's a shame that mainstream publishers didn't take up either of these books.