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All Points North [Paperback]

Simon Armitage
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 May 2009
All Points North is part-memoir and part-excursion. Charting the rugged and uneven terrain of a writer's formative years - from tax problems to probation to American tours, football to family to running away to Iceland - Simon Armitage explores growing up and being Northern. It's about humour, language, writing, film, houses, homes, time wasters, one loose tyre, you, me and all points in-between.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (28 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141040467
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141040462
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 93,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A joy. Celebrates the real world and revels in its mad glory' - Sue Townsend, Sunday Times 'I was irresistibly reminded of Alan Bennett - there is the same wry humour, wonderfully telling selection of detail or remark... a fine balance of humour and poignancy' The Times 'Laugh-out-loud funny... has all the resonant precision of a poet's ear and eye' Independent 'A delight - high-spirited, light-footed, very funny and wickedly observamt' - Jonathan Raban, The Times Literary Supplement 'The salty prose of an original poetic voice' - Melvyn Bragg, Observer

About the Author

Simon Armitage was born in West Yorkshire in 1963, and continues to live near Huddersfield. He is one of the leading writers of his generation. He has won the Sunday Times author of the year, the Forward Prize, a Lannan Award, and an Ivor Novello Award for his song lyrics in the Channel 4 film, Feltham Sings.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
I have to confess to being slightly alarmed and very disappointed by some of the Amazon reviews of this book. There is no doubt that Armitage has a great way with both poetry and prose - I have taught his poems at GCSE for several years and have heard him give readings which never fail to amuse and make me chuckle wryly at the vagaries of life. The reason I am concerned is the way that people have depicted life in The North of England - I grew up in Sussex and only moved to Sheffield in 1996 - after over a decade here I can honestly say that I would never move back down South. I encountered far more 'parochialism' as a 'Southerner' and a Grammar school education in Tunbridge Wells left me in no doubt as to the inherent ignorance and small-mindedness of many in the 'Home Counties'.
Armitage depicts the kind of daftness, naivety and sheer buffoonery that is encountered from John O' Groats to Land's End - but he does it through the eyes of an intelligent individual who is utterly at ease with himself and his upbringing. One of the best parts is Simon's recounting of an amateur dramatics staging of 'Camelot' and the all-male cast's sheer enjoyment and unfettered enthusiasm from start to finish. It does help that I know many of the places mentioned - I have family in Marsden too - but even without this I can recommend 'All points North' as a great read and perhaps even an eye-opener for anyone who claims knowledge of life beyond Birmingham.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Not So Grim Up North 20 Jan 2000
In this brilliantly timed and executed departure from poetry Simon Armitage has opened up his private world like a wound for all to examine. The result is one of the most precise and poignantly written declarations of Northerness since Lancashire last won the County Championship. In a series of short but descriptive chapters Armitage conjures up a world far removed from the cloth cap and whippet image of Northern England and instead gives us an insight into recording for the BBC, watching Huddersfield Town and commuting across the tops into deepest Oldham. This is a book with a decidedly local humour with plenty of "in" jokes which will soar 747 like over the heads of anyone not born within a 50 mile radius of Marsden. It will infuriate the cognosenti of Camden and Hampstead and I love this book all the more for that fact alone.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Simon Armitage has already made a name for himself as a poet. Well-known as presenter of Radio 4's Stanza, and to devotees of Mark Radcliffe's former Radio 1 evening show, his first collection of prose shows himself to be a master of that medium as well.
Taking as his point of reference his home town of Marsden in West Yorkshire, Armitage takes us on an engaging tour of the geography, people and places of his area, and offers us an insight into what it means to be a Yorkshireman. But this is no dusty travelogue. Dusty travelogues of Yorkshire, after all, tend not to include accounts of day-trips to Iceland from Leeds Airport, or of amateur dramatic productions. Let alone meeting John Peel and Teenage Fanclub. And it's a strange travelogue indeed that would describe Richard Whiteley as 'the I Claudius of broadcasting'.
While it contains some fiction ('Jerusalem', you suspect, is influenced as much by The League of Gentlemen as by Alan Bennett), the bulk of this collection is autobiographical, from tales of literary cricket matches to intruding on film sets. It's carried off with humour, and yet compassion. Armitage doesn't point and laugh at his subjects - he just observes. One of the great strengths of this book is that it's up to the reader to decide whether the situations described are amusing, tragic, pitiful, or a mixture of all three. This makes for an extremely engaging read.
So it's difficult to know who wouldn't appreciate 'All Points North'. And if Simon Armitage continues to write collections of prose, poetry, or indeed anything, chances are they'll be every bit as good as this one.
Let's hope he does.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's funny for Southerners too ! 18 Nov 1999
By A Customer
I had never had heard of this poet/author either, but since my wife is from Huddersfield and I love it up there I had to buy it. It's a wonderful book and I don't think you have to be from the North to appreciate it because I'm not and I loved it. Simon Armitage writes simply - not a criticism - and he engages you in his subject and his love for where he is from. He comes across as a very likeable, self-effacing man. This book would be a great Christmas present ! Buy it !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Points North. 2 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed All Points North,my sense of humour, a true portrait of life without all the glitz and glamour.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hills of the North 16 Oct 2011
By K.E.C
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Simon Armitage makes you laugh and philosophise at the same time. His visions of the moors, beside his equally incisive observation of people and occasions, portray the obvious, mixed with the underlying subtle. Many situations show the ludicrous juxtaposed with tragic, which is real life. Anyone who has worked with any organisation that employs "facilitators" for "ice-breaking sessions" will revel, as Armitage reveals his all too real professional experiences. It's poetry in plain clothes.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight - very original 20 Feb 2005
This book is a collection of prose, poems and snatches of news reports capturing the essence of all things northern, more specifically all things Yorkshire.
This is quite a rare kind of book because it includes so many different styles of writing. Also unlike say, Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island or Theroux's 'The Kingdom by the Sea'it is written by a native and allows the reader to make their own interpretation of the text. He does not appear arrogant or aloof, but becomes part of the landscape he describes.
Armitage is a wonderful writer. He writes about a variety of issues from Saturday Night out in Leeds (this chapter is quite superb)to discarded tractor tyres in the moors. He can make even the dull things in life have a kind resonance.
Some things I will always remember with a smile. His sports report when he likens 80's football shorts to 'skin-tight satin knickers'. When he was told there is no need to go outside and watch the total eclipse because 'it is on Channel 66'. Or the man who spent 26 days up a tree to set a new world record when he realised the record was 26 years- 'I did feel a bit of a prat when I heard'.
He can be funny/serious and strikes the right balance. He deals with a lot of issues here, including the homeless and Politics.
There are also pieces on the art of writing as Armitage alludes to his influences. These pieces are really inspiring and anything that encourages poets in this day and age is a good thing.
Armitage comes across as a sound bloke with a wonderful everyman talent. The North? Well, it will always remain a mystery to me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed
Very enjoyable read funny and poignant and all that. Lots of short sharp observations of many subjects in and around the nortg
Published 4 months ago by Mr. L. G. Rice
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor condition
The condition of the book was poor. It looked that it had suffered water damage. I was going to give this as a present but I will have to give it to charity
Published 11 months ago by Ms. A. Chamberlain
4.0 out of 5 stars Armitage report.
This was a present for my wife. From her comments she seems to have found it an enjoyable read and it seems I am expected to find more Armitage for her next present.
Published 11 months ago by X
2.0 out of 5 stars A depressing read
As a fellow Yorkshireman and an admirer of Simon Armitages's poems and the brilliant Stanza Stones concept I looked forward with anticipation to see what Simon would make of... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Yorkshireman
3.0 out of 5 stars University Course book
The stars say it all! It's OK. I found bits of it mildly amusing, bits of it odd. It is a great description of life 'up north'.
Published 14 months ago by Jane Stevenson
3.0 out of 5 stars The Bards diary
I like Simon Armitage and this is a good book of events in his life over a period of time. Its amusing in parts but quite a scattergun of stories. Worth a read .
Published 14 months ago by King Eric
5.0 out of 5 stars All Points North
I really enjoyed this book. I was encouraged to read it after reading Simon Armitage's Book about his Pennine Way walk. I found some of the book 'laugh out loud' funny.
Published on 23 Sep 2012 by foxy lady
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Lots of books have tried to take a sideways look at the north of England, with differing degrees of success (Charles Jennings' patronising & snobbish "Up North" & Stuart Maconie's... Read more
Published on 11 Aug 2010 by FAC191
5.0 out of 5 stars Hit the North!
Read this book some time ago now and it has a very important message that viewing yourself as Northerner is a positive statement. Read more
Published on 15 Oct 2008 by Neil
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