Do Not Pass Go
is the fourth comedy travelogue from Tim Moore--previous books have, respectively, chronicled his experiences trekking across Iceland in the footsteps of the Victorian Lord Dufferin (Frost on My Moustache
), recreating Coryate's Grand Tour in a Rolls Royce (Continental Drifter
) and cycling the route of the Tour de France (French Revolutions
). Here, Moore, abandoning his customary modus operandi of inept Englishman abroad, opts to explore his native city by, as his children put it, "going round the Monopoly board but, like, in real life
Monopoly was, at least officially, invented during the 1930s by Charles Darrow, an unemployed boiler salesman from Germantown, Pennsylvania. (Darrow went to his grave, Moore notes, "stubbornly refusing to recall any contact with The Landlord Game, patented in 1904."). The original, and subsequent American versions, featured the streets of Atlantic City. The English, London edition first appeared in 1936, the same year as television and, apparently, the phrase "body odour". Produced by Waddingtons, a firm of Leeds printers, the actual streets and stations were haphazardly chosen by Victor Watson, the managing director, and his secretary, Marjorie Phillips, after a weekend jolly in the capital.
Armed with board, dice and a 1933 London directory, Moore soon finds himself beaten by a Brazilian transsexual at Kings Cross (where else?); searching for the "Ampersand of Death" on Oxford Street; discovering how Coventry Street made the grade; tracing the decline of proto-Starbucks Lyons in Piccadilly and, of course, eating jellied eels in the "poo brown" east end of Whitechapel. Moore places himself firmly in the centre of his yarn and, like Bill Bryson, displays a remarkable eye for the incongruous comic detail. Sometimes the quips and jokes come at expense of real interaction with those he meets, but the result is a hilarious paean to game and city, that will have you ferreting about in a cupboard to retrieve a long neglected set. (I know I did.) --Travis Elborough
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"He is a rare comic talent" (The Times
"A very funny writer, oozing with comic ideas... There are fantastic jokes here, some lovely observation and a wealth of delicious information" (Daily Mail
"Witty and ingenious" (Guardian
"An ideal balance of travel, anecdote and dry wit" (Independent on Sunday
"A brilliant book that sheds new light on our capital" (Sunday Express