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Man Belong Mrs Queen: Adventures with the Philip Worshippers [Kindle Edition]

Matthew Baylis
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

As a bookish child growing up on Merseyside in the 1980s, Matthew Baylis identified with the much-mocked Prince Philip as a fellow outsider. He even had a poster of him on his bedroom wall. Years later, his Philip-worship long behind him, Baylis heard about the existence of a Philip cult on the South Sea island of Tanna. Why was it there? Nobody had a convincing answer. Nobody even seemed to want to find one. His curiosity fatally piqued, the author travelled over 10,000 miles to find a society both remote and slap-bang in the shipping-lanes of history. A place where US airmen, Lithuanian libertarians, Corsican paratroopers and Graeco-Danish Princes have had as much impact as the missionaries and the slave-traders. On the rumbling slopes of this remarkable volcanic island, banjaxed by daily doses of the local narcotic, suffering from a diet of yams and regularly accused of being a divine emissary of the Duke, Baylis uncovered a religion unlike any other on the planet. Self-deprecating, hilarious and -- almost incredibly -- true, this is travel writing at its horizon-expanding best.

Product Description



'A brilliant conceit . . . the truest and most original account of Philipism . . . Hilarious and obsessive, it is sure to gain a cult status all of its own.'

'Baylis is an excellent storyteller and he writes beautifully . . . He has a perfectly tuned wit, one part dry to one part gentle. Michael Palin has this combination too -- it's about seeing things that are foreign and at the same time understanding that, to these foreigners, you, too, seem foreign . . . [He] makes us think about faraway places, world history and the nature of belief -- and most entertainingly too.'

'Very funny -- adds greatly to the sum of readers' happiness.'

'This engaging travelogue strikes just the right tone. Baylis evokes the ironies of Philip worship without simply dismissing it as a wacky cult'

'A hotbed of human eccentricity . . . joyous and often laugh-out-loud funny'
Marcus Berkmann, MAIL ON SUNDAY

'The touching brilliance of Man Belong Mrs Queen is that the 'machete-wielding cultists' are taken seriously . . . Baylis comes to appreciate how a society that seems at first so alien is nevertheless 'inherently sensible and logical''
Roger Lewis, DAILY MAIL

'Fabulous . . . a great travel tale and an epic culture clash'
Simon Reeve, author and BBC presenter

'A masterpiece, written with warmth, humanity, insight and a great sense of humour and wonderment'
Kirk Huffman, broadcaster and anthropologist --... --...

About the Author

Matthew Baylis is a novelist, journalist and scriptwriter. He worked for the BBC as a storyliner on EastEnders (where he helped devise the ratings-grabbing Valentine's Day murder plot and made Dot Cotton consume cannabis), before moving to Kenya and Cambodia, where he trained local scriptwriters and created TV dramas for the United Nations and BBC World Service Trust. After a spell living in a remote mountain village on the Pacific island of Tanna, he returned to Britain to take up his present role as television critic for the Daily Express. He continues to write films and TV dramas for the Far East. Baylis's first crime novel, A Death at the Palace, was published by Old Street in 2013.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 556 KB
  • Print Length: 179 pages
  • Publisher: Old Street Publishing (18 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FO82RJA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #140,235 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Matthew Baylis also known as M.H. Baylis and Matt Baylis was born in Nottingham in 1971, and grew up in Southport, Merseyside.

His chief literary influences were, he says, Coronation Street and National Geographic magazine. The soap opera gave him a love of stories, particularly stories about real people in very specific times and places. National Geographic taught him to see the whole world, near and far, as an exotic tribe.

His love of both has taken him to some interesting places: after a spell as a storyliner on 'EastEnders', he set up soap operas in Cambodia and Kenya, and spent time on the remote Pacific island of Tanna, Vanuatu. He is also the only British scriptwriter ever to have had a film shown at the Pyongyang International Film Festival. He speaks Bislama pidgin badly, but not as badly as he speaks Romany.

He writes a daily tv review column in the Daily Express, and he lives in Haringey, the London borough so beloved of his fictional hero, Rex Tracey. He would quite like to have been a Dean Martin style club crooner, but really, his only great ambition was to write crime novels. Which he does.

His all-time favourite authors are : Emanuel Litvinoff, Simon Brett, Evelyn Waugh and John le Carre. But if he was confined to the last five years, he'd choose Anya Lipska, Louise Millar, Charles Cummings and Oliver Harris.

If he was stranded on a desert island, he'd require the complete works of all the above, plus every episode of Hill Street Blues, Cagney and Lacey, Minder and Brookside on dvd.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and touching 3 Dec. 2013
Very funny and touching at times too. Matthew Baylis sets off on a quest to get to the bottom of a cult which shares the object of his own pubescent adoration. Does he get there? Does it matter? Probably not when the story is so well told... The villagers are brought to life as individual characters who could be regulars in your local boozer, but who nonetheless all belong to a culture very different from ours, one which alternately draws and exasperates the author. His gently self-deprecating style and openness about his own shortcomings are touching, and he shows real affection (and in some cases real aversion) for the people he is amongst. On the face of it Man Belong Mrs Queen is about Baylis's attempts to fathom the meaning and origins of Philipism, but I most appreciated it as a book about what the interaction (not clash) of cultures which shows that people are people, wherever they are, whatever they wear, eat or get high on. Oh, and what we learn about Prince Philip and his "worshippers" is pretty funny and interesting too!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Island Of Philip Worshippers 12 Nov. 2013
By ACB(swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER
As a youngster, Matthew Baylis had a poster of Prince Philip on his bedroom wall. After studying anthropology, he discovered he was not alone in his fascination with this member of royalty. Indeed, he was a mere novice compared with the inhabitants of the small South Pacific Island of Tanna. They believe Prince Philip to be the son of a fierce mountain god called Kallaben and would return one day to eradicate sickness and death. The basis of this prophecy and the worship of the Duke as a deity grew from the alleged sighting of the Royal Yacht passing offshore probably by a man under the influence of the hallucinogenic local brew, Kava, especially as Prince Philip was on deck astride a white horse, an imposing, strong, all-action figure of a man who belonged nowhere, lived in a castle with a wife, Kwin Lisbet.

Matthew Baylis has written the story of the islands' inhabitants, their beliefs, traditions, habits, dress and language. Their women are hardly seen. The islanders seem genuinely serious and there is nothing to contradict this. It is Baylis's descriptions that convey hilarity, eccentricity and a surrealism allied to playing up to his own 'Britishness'; but then he and his readers are 'outsiders'. Prince Philip himself has joined the party by sending signed photographs of himself that are 'veritable icons' kept in a tent on stilts. It is impossible to know the true origins of the Philip archives and acquisition of his divine status, but the author has produced a piece of local history that is fascinating, bizarre and funny. In words of the local tongue, Bislama, Man Blong Missus Kwin. A wonderful and joyous story.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars France 14 Nov. 2013
I learned a lot from this quirky, funny, charming book: not just about Prince Philip and the remarkable story that led to him being worshipped on a remote Pacific island, but also about the author, and his hilarious crush on the unpopular Duke of Edinburgh.
There's so much in here: history, anthropology (both in a very digestible form)' and a personal journey/adventure that reads almost like a great comic novel. That's not surprising, the author writes novels, but the ONE thing he takes care NOT to do is to mock the islanders or their ideas. One comes away with renewed respect for the way they see the world and their own place in it. And yes, even a bit of respect for the man we (erroneously) call Phil the Greek, too. Definitely one for the Christmas stockings!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking and funny 9 Feb. 2014
By SJE18
It's an unlikely story, a remote Polynesian tribe decide that the renowned xenophobe Prince Philip is their god. Just as unlikely is the idea that the Daily Express tv critic and detective story writer Matthew Baylis has a lifelong obsession with this tale and goes across the planet to find out about it. Sounds like a Mickey- take all round, but actually, even though this is a very funny book, it's also a very thought-provoking and thoughtful look at our colonial past and the way other societies have coped with it. Really interesting book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and funny 20 May 2014
By Zennor
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a great book, amusingly written, lots of interesting observations but, refreshingly, doesn't claim to have all (or even any) of the answers. Good mix of geographic/anthropological info and personal history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars unusual, interesting book 18 Feb. 2014
By Katua
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
bought this as it was a £1 Kindle download. It's an unusual account of the author's travels to remote Melanesian island where they reputedly "worship" Prince Phillip. As the book unfolds, he explores the slightly more complex reality than that first statement suggests. I enjoyed the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fun but short 31 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
got this after hearing it on the radio. Excellently written but a quick read. If you've ever wanted a Pacific holiday, this will definitely put you off! I also recommend the author's Rex Tracey novels, set in Tottenham, London. I got the kindle versions of both this book and the Rex Tracey series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Philip Worshipper's Rule! 27 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this book. I was worried that the author would hold this group of people up to ridicule, as has been done in the past. However, this book is written in a warm sympathetic way. In the end you warm to this group of people, who have been exploited by the west.

I would recommend.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing.
Sorry, I just couldn't get into this.
Published 7 days ago by C. A. Weald
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
For those who love Vanuatu.
Published 25 days ago by Nathalie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by choirmasterfrank
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting real life story
Interesting real life story, I enjoyed it.
Published 8 months ago by barb
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Saw the title and it did intrigue so purchased
Good holiday read - not too taxing!
A bit annoying when it was obvious he was getting fleeced by one of the blokes on the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Andy Bell
1.0 out of 5 stars Going nowhere...
I read the reviews and the Kindle sample and down-loaded the book. It started well, describing Matthew Baylis' childhood but the he went to Tanna and so did the book. Read more
Published 11 months ago by De Bakey
4.0 out of 5 stars playing dumb
Throughout his investigation of the religious culture of Tanna, Matthew Baylis presents himself as an idiot abroad: clumsy both physically and socially, ignorant of the culture... Read more
Published 13 months ago by MJ
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
I bought this book after listening to extracts from it on BBC Radio4. I was very disappointed with it as the story just plodded along without seeming to go anywhere. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Soly
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read.
I enjoyed this book. However I was as confused as the Author seemed to be at the end about the hows and whys of the Phillip believers. He doesn't quite clear this up to my mind.
Published 14 months ago by Kerrypickle
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