Sunday, 1 November 2009

Small but perfectly done

Sorry, I've been hopeless about continuing the bibliography lately, but I'm going to have a bit of a sesh this week, all other things remaining equal. I came across this outstanding booklet, Bradford Peace Trail, in our loo where it had got hidden under the usual pile of National Geographics and Private Eyes. It's a succinct and well-written guide to the city - one of the most interesting in the North - which uses the 'peace' theme very loosely to bring in all manner of famous sons and daughters of the place and modern events, such as street violence over extreme right-wing demos etc - as well. It illuminates some of my own feelings which I've tried to express in True North - eg the Quaker millowner Liberal W E Forster as pioneer of state education, and the importance of 'urban countryside' to the big cities such as Bradford. It's online at or you can get a copy from Bradford City for Peace c/o 37 Heights Lane, Heaton, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD9 6JA 01274 542672
On the book front, True North is getting more reviews than I expected, which is great. I'm not usually very keen on the Daily Mail, but it can surprise - for example with its sturdy support of Stephen Lawrence's family - and Harry Pearson did a piece on the book which makes some really good points. In particular, he writes about the value of praising one area without denigrating others, using the parallel of loving your partner without having to be rude about other women/men. Mike MckNay's invaluable editing of True North made this point to me eloquently, and once again, I'm very grateful for that. There is a problem, though, in that it is impossible not to mourn and criticise the effect on all the regions of London's excessive power. But this is not the same thing as disliking London as a city, or the 'South' in general. I like them both.

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