Monday, 4 January 2010

How others see it

Penny’s out at choir tonight and all is quiet on the Guardian front. So I may get a little burst of posts done. There are certainly plenty of books left to acknowledge.
Having said that, this bit is about some of the reviews which True North has gathered so far, in case anyone would like to see them who hasn’t.
Leeds Student, for example, probably doesn’t have a huge circulation outside the two unis, although it deserves to. It was Newspaper of the Year in this year’s Guardian student newspaper awards. Important to say that the prize was awarded before Hannah Glick wrote these very nice pieces about the book. She nailed my fascination with chocolate sprinkle patterns on cappuccino very observantly. Hannah Glick. A name for editors to watch… Her interview is on:
and here's her review, scanned in because I can't find a link to it online (click on it to enlarge).My only slight sorrow here is that Hannah skipped the mining/strike/coal bits, but I'm down to talk to Leeds Student staff some time this term, so I shall try to tempt her, and any like-minded colleagues, to go back and have another go. On the other hand, her reaction accords to some extent with points I make about the 'new' North and its wish to break free of the 'old.'
Paul Whitehead also did a kindly piece in Leeds Guide, and in his Waterstone’s bookseller role promoted the book as a ‘staff favourite’. They have a competition to see which one on the ‘recommended’ shelves sells most by Christmas and back in early December, True North was in the lead. I fear it may have been overtaken since then, but will go down to Albion Street to check when I can. Anyway, here’s his take:
I have to add the excellent pic they used of me pioneering the ‘Jedward’ hair style in 1953, the year of the Queen's Coronation. This appeared in the mag but sadly, not online. So here you are.
Just to round off my native Leeds’ interest, Rod McPhee was very generous with space in the Yorkshire Evening Post, and here’s what he had to say:
Across the Pennines in Manchester, Paul Taylor did sterling work in the Evening News there:
And if you got bunged a free Metro in the train across, via my old canvassing playground in the Colne Valley and Saddleworth, you could read this:
Very nice too, although I’m not sure where the Cheshire to Chiswick line came from, apart from an understandable pleasure in alliteration.
In the big time, there was an incredibly joyous review by Harry Pearson in the Daily Mail and a good, interesting one in the TLS. That last came closest to the discussion and debate I’d quite like to get going; it all seems fair comment to me – in the sense of arguments you don’t agree with but which have logic and evidence; except the quip about Northerners being interested in making money, especially. One of my points in True North is that the region likes making things. Money may come with that, but has not been the prime motive to anything like the extent that natural (I suppose) human cynicism likes to believe.
I haven’t been able to link to these last two reviews so far, but I think I can scan them in. Then if you double click on the pic, the text should be legible.
There are other reviews I'm trying to nail links to, and actually I've just found Yorkshire Life's, by Terry Fletcher, former editor of the noble Dalesman. Alas, the online version doesn't have the magazine's fab pics by Joan Russell, with whom I've often worked on Guardian stories. But here it is, with thanks to Terry, and YL's matchless editor, Esther Leach:

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