It has been said that a shed is to a man what a handbag is to a woman - both contain all the essentials for surviving in the modern world and in the same way that no decent man would ever consider looking in a woman's handbag uninvited, so no reasonable woman would dream of setting foot in a man's shed. This book is a study of over 40 men and their sheds around the UK, a quirky look at the personalities and the passions hidden within the shed, whether it is used for eccentric inventions, as a chapel, a housing for a milk bottle collection, an allotment shed, a home for exotic reptiles or a place to make music. The fascinating story of each bloke and his shed is accompanied by photographs of the inner sanctum and of the customized exteriors.
...is the legitimate child of Hrothgar Tørbjorn, Swedish air ace, whose Volvo night fighter was mistakenly shot down over Dewsbury. Hrothgar sold his parachute and married Ivy Milburn, a Geordie ice-cream girl and exotic-dance understudy, in a private ceremony at Leeds City Varieties.
As a boy, Gordon was keen to be a bought ledger clerk with the Assembly of the Free Churches of Scotland but his father wanted him to be a poet or sculptor. As a compromise, Gordon enrolled at the Kirkstall Lane Temperance College to learn black-pudding knotting. He supplemented this with a course in participle dangling then ran away to London to be indentured to the advertising legend S H Benson, gent., as an infinitive splitter (hot metal).
After two years' trying to think of a different way of saying 'Guinness is good for you', Gordon joined McCann Erickson where he became known as 'The Nine out of Ten Copywriter'. Phrases he coined there included 'The Esso sign appertains to happy motoring', 'A Double Diamond works quite well considering', 'Oh, Bisto', 'Hardly anything acts faster than Anadin' and 'I'd like to buy the world a Jennings of Cockermouth'.
Gordon lived in Suffolk for 15 years, where shed enlightenment began to dawn but was cut short by a large number of Essex people moving in and erecting fibreglass Victorian street lamps in their gardens. After ten years in Appleby-in-Westmorland smallholding and good-lifing, with many stone sheds, a bull pen and a barn, he's now back in Suffolk with his wife Sue. He is working on several new books, including one about sheds.
See also www.gordonthorburn.co.uk
The Classic Allotment. March, Remember When/Pen & Sword
The Classic Herb Garden. June, Remember When/Pen & Sword
Travelling Art - Gypsy Caravans and Canal Boats. June, The History Press
Cassius - paperback edition, July, John Blake
Pubs and their history - October, Remember When
Unauthorised celebrity biography (under pseudonym). February, John Blake
Me and My MG - May.
The Pocket Guide to Sheds - June.
Remembering the High Street - September.
666 Squadron - The owl that shriek'd (WW2 fiction)
Pigs for Dinner (psycho-thriller)
Nicky Tams, King of Nosepipe (children's fiction)
Currently working on:
Jocks in the Jungle (Black Watch as Chindits 1944 - Pen and Sword)
Superpiss, Kiss Me, Bedcocks and Fart (international brand names)
The Fighter Pilot's Handbook
Earlier books published
No Need To Die, Americans in RAF Bomber Command. July 2009, Haynes
Cassius, true story of an exceptional police dog. March 2009, John Blake
Animal Spy - undercover investigations into animal cruelty. Sept 2007, Vision
Bombers, first and last - WW2 with No IX Squadron, RAF. June 2006, Robson
Men and Sheds - October 2002, New Holland (140,000 copies sold)
Ghosted autobiography of undercover agent. Simon & Schuster, August 2001
43 Unsporting Moments, Village Cricket, The Appleby Rai, The Buxton Baths Murders - own imprint.
Awards London BISFA 'Best Scriptwriter', Los Angeles ITVA 'Golden Reel' (both for video documentary about lack of treatment for kidney patients); Lakeland Books of the Year, Jennings Prize (The Appleby Rai).
Newspaper and magazine articles and stories - many, including Art Review, Crafts, The Independent, Yorkshire Post, Garden News, Garden Answers, Yorkshire Journal, Police Review, At Home (medical journal), Golf Monthly, Whitbread Magazine, Yours, Plain English, FlyPast, Armourer, Britain at War. American magazines Logbook and MAKE. Weekly humorous column This world of ours in the Yorkshire Post.
Career summary Benn Brothers (trade and technical journalism); S H Benson, then McCann Erickson (advertising copywriting); Thorburn Kirkpatrick (copywriting, editing, design, PR and print production); freelancing in copywriting, journalism, non-fictional and fictional books; editing and publishing under own imprint; more freelancing and more books.