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The Last Flannelled Fool: My small part in English cricket's demise and its large part in mine [Paperback]

Michael Simkins
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 July 2011

Michael Simkins is the ultimate Sunday cricketer - passionate, obsessive, technically inept, and hopelessly deluded. When an injury rules him out of an entire season, not only might it spell the end of his long career, he is faced more immediately with a summer aimlessly wandering garden

centres and listening to The Archers.

He decides instead to set off on an odyssey across the counties of England in search of that golden time in his youth when his passion for the game was fi rst kindled. It's a journey that begins in May in light drizzle at the birthplace of cricket, takes in the burial site of his favourite ground (now a Marks & Spencer) and even stops along the way to flirt with the love child of WG Grace and Kerry Katona that is Twenty20. It ends with the ultimate cricketing zenith - returning to the fi eld of play to bowl an over to Freddie Flintoff in fading light in front of a capacity crowd. So can cricket still bring comfort and meaning to his life or is Old Father Time about to call for Michael's bails?

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (7 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091927544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091927547
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 264,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"one of those rambling, picaresque, unashamedly nostalgic travel books that so enliven a summer afternoon ... funny, crafty and written with extraordinary verve."
--Marcus Berkmann, Mail on Sunday

"an amiable, sharp-eyed companion...there's plenty of fun to be had reading this" --The Independent on Sunday

"light, whimsical, well-observed" --The Daily Telegraph

Book Description

A hilarious odyssey in search of some answers about life and cricket from the author of the bestselling Fatty Batter

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant holiday read 26 July 2011
Took this book for a spot of summer reading on the sun-soaked beaches of Cornwall. Happily, during the rain-drenched week under canvas I read this wonderful book which transports you to the warm memories of Walls' Mivis and endless summer evenings soaking up the joys of cricket. Although Michael Simpkins' pilgrimage to reminisce on the pleasures of the boundary certainly do not need a passion for, or even a knowledge of, the game. It is a touching, funny and hugely entertaining book which resonates with Simpkins' wry joy in confounded ambition and a marvellous observational talent for the absurdities of life. At times I actually laughed out loud - his reaction to the curry is a graphically brilliant piece of writing. Can't wait to read his other books.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I sort-of enjoyed it 19 Sep 2011
By Stephen
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In order to enjoy this book you need to be (1) a cricket enthusiast, (2) somewhere about the author's age (53) or older. I am both and I sort-of enjoyed it. But I am starting to wonder whether Fatty Batter was a one-off. Even my wife, no cricket enthusiast even after all these years, really enjoyed that one, mainly because it was at least as much about a childhood vividly remembered as it was about cricket. The author's earlier book about acting had its moments, as did his book about going through France, but neither was anywhere near Fatty Batter for quality, and this one likewise.

It just isn't all that funny, and at times it isn't even all that interesting. The subtitle is naff - what has anything here to do with English cricket's demise (especially as he concludes by saying that it is not dead)? If you come to this with no great expectations, you won't be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Last but not Least 29 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved Fatty Batter, and I really enjoyed What's My Motivation and Detour de France, so I'm a Michael Simkins' fan. The Last Flannelled Fool is in the "really enjoyed" rather than the "loved" category, but that's testament to what a special book Fatty Batter is - part memoir, part nostalgia piece on cricket, but mostly a thank-you-letter to much-loved parents. The Last FF has the cricket nostalgia aspect again, but it's really about growing old, rather than being young. Not just the author getting old and creaky, but the game itself, seen from various different county grounds around England and Wales, as Simkins uses the excuse of a foot injury to spend a summer trying to rekindle his love of the game. He succeeds - and in doing so he will have probably rekindled the reader's own feelings for the summer game by the end of it - that's certainly how it worked for me. From a slow start (and with far too many typos), the journey gradually finds its own pace, and for a tale based on the author wandering the country on his own, he doesn't half become a great companion to the reader, gathering numerous oddballs and anecdotes en route. The most powerful part for me was the journey to Bristol, involving both an encounter with a wistful Gloucester fan remembering the classic Gillette Cup semi-final with Lancashire in 1971, and then a story from Clifton College about the highest individual's innings of all time (628). There are three or four laugh-out-loud moments, but overall, the end emotion is warmth - from author to subject, and from reader to author. Hopefully, this is not the last word from Michael Simkins on cricket, or life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great find for a male pressie 12 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Saw this reviewed in "Daily Mail" and sent away immediately as knew it would be ideal present, the recipient was over the moon and sat reading immediately, uttering phrases like "yes...that's me" " I remember that" etc etc HUGE success - then another newspaper reviewed it and he saw that and was so impressed!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Gem 8 Aug 2011
It must be something to do with the fact that I am of a similar age to Michael Simkins but I found myself transported back to my childhood with his latest offering and what a joy this book is. I know that layby on the A27 between Sompting and Worthing, I remember the sweet taste of the Mivvi bar (and a Strawberry Split come to that) and I can still recall sitting with my Dad and joining in with Brian Cant as the Trumpton firemen toppled down their pole (What's my Motivation).

This book is a real gem. Written with the wonderful wit and humour that have come to characterise his books we are transported back to a time when life seemed to be more innocent, more caring and far less frantic. Mike Simkins is a really funny writer and there were times when I was 'laughing out loud' and had to explain to those around me just why (The driver with the 'moobs' - superb!)

A truely funny book and only one comment can summise - more please....and soon!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much more than a book about cricket! 1 Aug 2011
By Large
I read this book having enjoyed 'Fatty Batter' and the authors other books.

TLFF is a very enjoyable journey through a season of cricket enjoyed mostly from the view of a spectator (the author being unable to play due to injury). You are taken to various grounds from differing levels of the game where you are introduced to interesting characters whilst the author imparts his extensive knowledge of the sports history.

The book is highly entertaining and informative. On several occasions I found myself laughing out loud or reaching for my laptop to find out more about a particular fact. It is written in such a way that you are fully engaged with the author and feel his emotions (happiness, pain, exasperation etc). I found I didn't want the season to end but had to keep reading.

But this book is not just for cricket fans. Whether you understand LBW or not you would enjoy this book as the anecdotes cross many boundaries.

Thoroughly entertaining!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Cricket As it is
This reminded me of many years as a cricket wife for our local club and all that means. It's a very funny book and well written.
Published 12 months ago by Carole Graham
4.0 out of 5 stars A whimsical saunter through a summer of cricket
Following an injury, Simkins is banned from playing cricket for his team for a whole season, and decides to revist the game at all levels to see if he still loves it as he used... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Half Man, Half Book
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I enjoyed it very much , not quite Fatty Batter though,a very good read.would recommend it to all cricket fans.
Published 16 months ago by Anthony Hooper
5.0 out of 5 stars A good laugh for cricket fans
Any lover or follower of cricket should find this book a great holiday read. Enormous in its scope, covering so many cricket grounds and famous (and not-so-famous) players. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Bernard James Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars He's only done it again
Mr Simkins is one of my favorite writers, Fatty Batter is the best book of all time, better than Shakespeare ! Read more
Published 17 months ago by Rob1969
4.0 out of 5 stars Another cracking read from that actor bloke.....
I'm not a cricket fan, but after being recommended Michael Simkins first book, Fatty Batter, I have done nothing but laugh whilst reading his books. Read more
Published 18 months ago by C. Polly
4.0 out of 5 stars One man's infatuation with cricket
Although I am not a cricket fan, I enjoyed reading this book about the author's life-long passion for the game. Read more
Published on 2 Aug 2012 by G. Colville
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational Simmo Strikes Again!
Mikey: knock the acting on the head, old boy and stick to writing about cricket.
Dry, witty, well written. Super stuff. This chap knows where it's at. Read more
Published on 3 May 2012 by Cooley
5.0 out of 5 stars Grounds for pleasure
Unlike many other reviewers, I came to The Last Flannelled Fool without having read any of the author's other books, so this has been an unexpected pleasure. Read more
Published on 3 April 2012 by G. M. Sinstadt
5.0 out of 5 stars simply gorgeous
A beautifully written book mixing nostalgia with rediscovery, humour with poignancy and laughs with tears. Thankyou Michael, you have helped educate a cricketing dimwit!
Published on 16 Feb 2012 by Yvonne at WhiteGoldImages
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