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A Fete Worse Than Death: A Journey Through an English Summer [Hardcover]

Iain Aitch
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Jun 2003
Iain Aitch never set out to be propositioned by a toe-sucking female druid at Stonehenge on midsummer's night, but these things happen when you travel round England looking for those people for whom the phrase "summer madness" seems to have been invented. From historical re-enacters to giant vegetable shows at village fetes, Wiltshire crop circle fanatics to Cotswolds shin-kickers, Blackpool stag parties to Cornish pasty sailings - Iain Aitch takes all these in his stride as he goes in search of the English at play in the sunshine (well, occasionally). Along the way Iain goes some way to uncover the bizarre array of hobbies, pastimes, fetes, festivals and fights that occupy the English in their time off.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Book Publishing; First Edition edition (2 Jun 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755311906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755311903
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.2 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,008,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author and journalist Iain Aitch was born in Margate, Kent and now lives in east London. He has written two books as well as writing features for the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Times, Financial Times and Observer. He is something of an expert on British and English culture, though he also writes about the arts, architecture, eccentricity, obsession and travel. He finds humour in most things and likes to see the sea every now and again.

Product Description

About the Author

Iain Aitch is a young journalist who writes for the Guardian and the independent. He contributes a regular column about pranks and hoaxes for Bizarre magazine, and he has been nominated for European Internet Journalist of the Year 2002 for his work on the cutting edge Ammo City website.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good to be back 30 April 2005
Having lived overseas for the last ten years I wanted to reaquaint myself with British life - and find out the reasons I missed home so much. Having already read Notes from a Small Island I plunged into a Fete Worse than Death and UK on a G String - both, mad, irreverant tales of madness that, I'm proud to say, could only have been written about Britain. Ian Aitch is one to look out for - can't wait for the next adventure.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Bryson! 20 Oct 2003
Nearly didn't pick this up as the cover looked a bit naff, but what is inside delivers magnificently. Where Bryson ambles and stumbles (endearing though this can be), Iain Aitch cuts to the chase and gets the best out his subjects, be it information, laughs or an insight into their odd world. Cutting and cruel at times but always with a fondness for most of the oddballs that he meets and the very concept of the English summer itself. Can't wait until next summer myself so that I can check out a few of the things in here for myself. This book is a love/hate affair that sums up how we all feel about the summer in England very eloquently and very funnily.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phew, what a scorcher! 25 May 2004
At turns cutting, warm, affectionate and cruel this exploration of what we Englanders get up to on our time off is the funniest thing I have read in years. One man's vision of English eccentrics,holidaymakers, the middle classes, the poor at Pontins and the strange events that bring us out in the summer months.Watching football with hippies and tourists,attending fetes with his missus and just summing up why we don our knotted hankies and head off down the beach whether the sun is shining or not -- just because it is summer.Can't reccomend it enough.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finest ever Brit travelogue 20 Aug 2004
This is a funny and brilliant exploration of what it is to be English, how we relate to the sun and leisure and what we all get up to in the summer. Far more than merely a travel book, this is truly a side-splittingly funny insight into the English psyche as well as a page turning read. A superb new writer who knocks Bryson and Theroux into a cocked hat.
Funny contests and odd holiday ideas abound, but what makes this is in the interaction and observation of the author. Feels like you are there with him looking over his shoulder (covering your eyes when needs be). My favourite book of this year so far.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A View From Downunder 20 Aug 2003
By A Customer
One of the funniest books I have read in a long time. Bill Bryson makes observations, Iain Aitch not only makes observations but participates in those activities that the English truely English!! A great view of English culture and a laugh on every page.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome delight 8 Sep 2003
Sick of reading about Goa and Thailand adventures when all I can afford is Bournemouth, so this was a welcome delight. So very funny and revealing about the English.Boyfriend and I both snorted, giggled and guffawed our way through it.
Best travel book I have read for some time and the funniest too!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars one for the 'lads' 28 Aug 2003
If you find peeing in the wash-basin overnight funny, this is for you. A lad's account of drinks and funny pastimes amongst the more eccentric summer customs of the English at play.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No mean fete 23 May 2003
Iain Aitch (founder of the Tufty Road Safety Film Re-enactment Society) provides a corking read with his inaugural tome involving travelling tales during a typical English summer.
This autobiographical holiday diary documents people watching, geek spotting and anal-retentive armoured car logging, as well as including much mischievous musings regarding the riot re-enactments of Mods and Rockers, Punch and Judy massacres, and a personal obsession with box junction etiquette.
One wonders what the English get up to during the rest of the year?!? Perhaps, Iain Aitch is the man up to the job of finding out!
Buy this book and then re-enact it!!!
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