Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North

By Stuart Maconie

A northerner in exile, stateless and careworn, listening to rumors of Harvey Nichols in Leeds and Maseratis in Wilmslow, the author goes looking for The North. Delving into his personal previous, it's a riotously humorous trip looking for the place the cliches finish and the reality starts off. He travels from Wigan Pier to Blackpool Tower, the Bigg industry in Newcastle to the daffodil-laden Lake District looking for his personal Northern Soul, encountering alongside the way in which an unique solid of characters whereas he battles along with his personal identity.

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Wordsworth famously acknowledged of the view from Westminster Bridge that 'earth has nothing to teach extra fair'. this can be psychological, relatively from anyone who lived within the Lake District, the place there's something extra reasonable round each hummock. I suggest, it is all correct. there is a monstrous, greasy-looking river and a few tugs and the ordinary dredger. there is the London Eye, a bit of London that's without end Blackpool, and there is the fairly good-looking outdated GLC development. at the different part there is a couple of flash place of work blocks and large Ben, in fact. So, all in all, you recognize, lovely stable yet 'earth has nothing to teach extra fair'? psychological. And Wordsworth was once the person who wasn't doing all of the medications. His mate Thomas De Quincey, who used to be whacked off his gourd on opium as a rule and did not care who knew it, positioned it fairly in a different way: 'A duller spectacle this earth of ours has to not exhibit than a wet Sunday in London. ' one other Lake poet buddy, Percy Bysshe Shelley, used to be even harsher: 'Hell is a urban very like London. ' i would not pass that a long way yet I, like so much northerners, continue a cordial suspicion of 'the Smoke', even if i have to have spent months of my lifestyles there when you consider that my first stopover at, which was once on Saturday 28 April 1973. outstanding powers of remember? Tragic hoarder of younger diaries? Neither. Many northerners, possibly so much, can inform you the date in their first journey to the capital. they could let you know what they have been donning to boot – most likely a few multicoloured shawl, bobble hat, daft wig or reproduction blouse ensemble – simply because for many people our first time is for the soccer. Up Wembley strategy to the dual Towers and thence inside of a very rather crap soccer stadium. That first journey to London, a formative adventure for lots of a northerner, rattle in hand, filled with ask yourself and optimism, is fantastically and memorably captured in an evocative brief movie of the Seventies. past due on a winter's Saturday night, passengers disembark from a trainer onto a darkened backstreet in Newcastle. ready kinfolk greet warmly; one welcomes a teenage boy cheerily. 'Four-nil on the Arsenal, what approximately that? ' The boy walks on, palms in wallet, surly and uncommunicative. The relative attempts back. 'Four-nil away to the Arsenal... you need to be overjoyed. ' The boy turns sourly and replies, 'Aye, yet I had a packet of crisps a puppy might have curled his lip at. ' alright, it wasn't an early attempt by way of Peter Greenaway yet an ad for top Geordie snack comestible Tudor crisps, however it rang precise. London might promise a lot to the provincial -excitement, glamour, sophistication - yet this could develop into a chimera. Realising this, we might go back domestic soberly to regale institution and paintings pals with information of London - a lot as we'd have performed within the center a while - and they might pay attention, appalled, to our stories of people that did not chat at bus stops, overpriced beer and crisps that dogs may demur at. My moment journey to London used to be within the past due Seventies whilst I went with the opposite precocious kids from Mr Spruce's first-year heritage of artwork 'A' point staff from St John Rigby collage.

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