This is a wonderful look back at the British world of wrestling, which was such a fixture on Saturday afternoons in the 1970s and 80s. The book manages to avoid both a dreary nostalgia and self-pity at the decline since the heyday of the sport. It is comprised mainly of a series of interviews with ex-wrestlers and promoters and the author was clearly accepted into the wrestling community during the writing of the book.
Simon Garfield covers all the famous characters known to the TV viewing public at the time: Mick McManus, Jackie Pallo, Les Kellet, Adrian Street, Kendo Nagasaki, Giant Haystacks and the like. However, this is not tired, re-worked material. Rather, through the conversations, there are fascinating insights into the showmanship, physicality, poor pay, loyal and vocal fans, the varied venues and for a few, for a short time, the occasional glamour. The relationships between the stars and their promotors and managers provide an insightful angle on the business side of wrestling which now seems from another era.
Overall the atmosphere of the book was like walking through a fading holiday resort out of season. So many good memories of past fun (yes, it was a mixture of fake and real) but also more than a pang of emptiness at times forever left behind.