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2.2 out of 5 stars13
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on 5 February 2000
Some people might find it a bit smug in places, but I think it's worth a look, if only because of the light it sheds on Southern attitudes and prejudices towards the North. As a Northerner living in the South, his description of Blackpool reminds me very much of Eastbourne; and I've probably seen more social deprivation in London than I did in any Northern city. It says a lot about how Southerners view the North, and how this particular Southerner expected to find the North, rather than how the North really is. However, the book is good-natured and quite funny, especially towards the beginning. It's also encouraged me to write a book about my experiences in London and Surrey entitled 'Down South' to shed light on Southern attitudes. ;)
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on 11 September 2001
..one of the funniest opening paragraphs I've read led me to hope that the reviews printed on the cover would for once live up to themselves. However, the author spends a lot of time writing about the midlands, then confesses it's not even 'Up North'... The author then commits the sort of error that you make when writing school essays, he spends too much of the rest of the book writing too much about one place, eg Wigan, before devoting next to no space to somewhere like Bradford, and doesn't even visit Hull. His perceptions of some of the places are pretty good, and he would appear to find his "northern nirvana" but more emphasis on being funny rather than purely criticising places would have made this a better read. I got less and less interested the more I got into it. I come from Leeds, quite an important northern town, but it makes the last chapter or so, and gets a fraction of the coverage of that place in the midlands, Birmingham isn't it ? I would refer him to Macarthy's Bar for a lesson in humorous travel writing.
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on 5 December 1999
Mr Jennings is a southerner who decides to go to the north of England and ridicule the towns, cities and people who live there. His smugness at times is unbearable. His research in some places appears to be virtually non existent. On one page alone he manages to mis-spell the name of actor James Bolam, Credits Chris Rea as coming from Tyneside and calls Chubby Brown a Sunderland Stand-up comic. If you are going to write about something Mr Jennings, you should ensure you know what you are writing about. Definately one to miss.
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on 24 March 2010
Terrible book. How the taglines could even mention Bill Bryson in the same sentance as this trash is beyond me. If you want to read about the north of England, why not read Brysons own 'Notes from a small island' or Stuart Maconies excellent 'Pies and Predudice'.
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on 30 September 2014
If you want an insight into the author's mindset this extract from an article he wrote in the Telegraph reveals much.

'After years of personal growth, social enlightenment and all-round multicultural outreach from living in London, I love Latvians. I feel waves of tenderness towards Gujuratis, and I don't get nearly enough of the distant inhabitants of the Turks and Caicos Islands. In fact, it's really only my own countrymen that I can't stand - more specifically, northerners.'

Xenophobic rubbish

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/3635736/Why-the-Watford-Gap-will-never-be-bridged.html
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on 13 April 1999
I should have know better, the front cover of the book make,s a reference to Bill Bryson and puts it in the context of "if you liked Bill you,ll love this",the book is just not funny in fact its rather sad.Stereotypical drivell which really does make you think the author never left his nice cosy London office.
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on 29 February 2012
An outstanding, laugh-out-loud work of comic art, as is the collection of miserable, negative reviews from the Lone-Star northerners on this site. 'Theere's one thing about oos northerners - you'll nivver tak away oor sense of yoomer' (said with glum, bitter and miserable face.) This particular sad suthenn bastit read it twice - the first time several years ago and again last year, and now I'm going to read it again, while contemplating the whingeing on here from Oop Nerth. Priceless. I'm only on here because I wanted details to supply to a Yerkshire mate of mine to whom I've recommended this excellent book, but while I was here I thought I'd add my tuppence worth. (Actually, he may be from Lancashire - I'm not sure :) We're always having a pop at each other's alien aspects, and sarcasm and foul language abound during these diplomatic and statesman-like discussions (usually over a repast of black pudden and sheeps' knees casserole, washed down with warm, flat Theakston's.) As far as we're concerned, it's all good fun, and, in my opinion, so is Paul Jennings' book. Is there such a thing as 'irony' north of Watford, let alone Watford Gap? Not so, judging by some of the negative reviews, like that of the Mayor of Grimsby on the back-cover 'He should have stayed down south under his duvet'. Irony indeed. And who could not laugh at the description of the interior of Manchester Town Hall 'resembling a fish-tank, the contents of which has been allowed to evaporate.' It does; I've been in it a good few times. OK. That does it. I'm going to order another copy, and if my northern mate doesn't find it funny then I'm going to eat it.
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on 30 May 2007
Note to author: unremitting sarcasm is not humour.

Please stay in London.
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on 13 December 2000
Saw it in the bookshop travel section, flicked through it and read the covers and decided to buy it. Bitterly disappointed, far too sarcastic from the outset - seemingly just for the sake of it. Not for me.
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on 22 December 2007
I flicked through this for about five minutes in Waterstones today and didn't buy it - I think that's all it deserves. I'm not sure what it's for really. Is it an accurate account of "the North", a huge area of the country about which only some stereotypes are true, only some of the time - no it's full of innacuracies, and I don't mean spelling mistakes. Is it funny - yes sometimes, but not overwhelmingly so, and not enough to buy it.
The author points out how well it's been received by the press, but it's a lot easier to laugh at others for traits you think they have than it is to laugh at yourself for ones you actually don't, especially when the tone is frequently pretty unpleasant and the stereotypes are not even new or well observed. I've spent the last three years in London at university and I wouldn't dream of writing a book like this about the south, because I'd be called a chippy, bitter, ignorant Northern idiot - which if my book was anything like Jennings' (in reverse) would be completely fair.
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