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You Are Awful (But I Like You): Travels Through Unloved Britain [Paperback]

Tim Moore
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 16 Feb 2012 --  

Book Description

16 Feb 2012

It began with an accidental daytrip to an intriguingly awful resort on the Thames Estuary, and ended 3,812 miles later: one man's journey through deep-fried, brownfield, poundshop Britain, a crash course in urban blight, deranged civic planning and commercial eccentricity. Following an itinerary drawn up from surveys, polls, reviews and lazy personal prejudice, Tim Moore goes to all the places that nobody wants to go to - the bleakest towns, the shonkiest hotels, the scariest pubs, the silliest sea zoos. He visits the grid reference adjudged by the Ordnance Survey to be the least interesting point in Britain, and is chased out of the new town twice crowned Scotland's Most Dismal Place. His palate is flayed alive by horrific regional foodstuffs, his ears shrivelled by the 358 least loved tracks in the history of native popular music. With his progress entrusted to our motor industry's fittingly hopeless finale, he comes to learn that Britain seems very much larger when you're driving around it in a Bulgarian-built Austin Maestro.

Yet as the soggy, decrepit quest unfolds, so it evolves into something much more stirring: a nostalgic celebration of our magnificent mercantile pomp, and an angry requiem for a golden age of cheerily homespun crap culture being swept aside by the faceless, soul-stripping forces of Tesco-town globalisation.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (16 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224090119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224090117
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 204,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tim Moore's writing has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Observer, The Sunday Times and Esquire. He is the author of French Revolutions, Do Not Pass Go, Spanish Steps, Nul Points and I Believe In Yesterday. He lives in London.

Product Description


Hailed as the new Bill Bryson, he in fact a writer of considerably more substance. (Irish Times)

He is a rare comic talent. (The Times)

Moore is a talented and very funny writer. (Daily Telegraph)

Tim Moore's sharp and witty a pilgrimage to the most derelict, unlovable and forlorn parts of Britain. (Jonathan Sale Independent)

A hymn to things lost; a nostalgic appreciation of the days before Tesco Extra and the universal flood of modern bland. At his best, there aren't many travel writers funnier that Tim Moore. (Daniel Hahn Independent on Sunday)

Book Description

A nostalgic and very funny celebration of the slightly slapdash place we call home - Great Britain

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly Quite Brilliant 14 Feb 2012
By Zipster Zeus VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I first picked this book up with a smug air of satisfaction: I was going to enjoy ripping this one apart. I had had enough of doing nice positive reviews, it was time for some good old fashioned vitriol and this tome- another road trip around the UK by some poncy metrophile southerner- would do the job perfectly.

And the first few pages appeared extremely promising in this regard; the prose came across as aloof and solidly within in the ageing, middle brow `Daily Mail' zone of humour. The sense that a precious, condescending take on the nether-regions of our battered Britain- dragged over the coals as they have been and left out to wither and die by the establishment elite for the last three decades- was in the offer only reinforced my sense of inverted glee. I was going to love tearing this one to pieces.

And then without any warning it all suddenly changed. Tim Moore started describing his purchase of an Austin Maestro and the history of the car with such affectionate pathos, coupled with a relentlessly funny narrative that literally had me in tears with laughter. And from thereonin, the book just got better, and better and better...

Now then, it has to be said that Moore's book unashamedly goes for laughs as its base point; but what's so good about his book, is that it isn't laughs at any cost and the humour isn't used as a shallow gloss to hide the experience he is really having. Nor, importantly, is his humour used to belittle the places and people he meets. It is in fact very cleverly, used to the opposite effect.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Laughing!!!!!! 29 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great for a laugh.
Could not agree more with Tim Moore's sentiments.
Was so sorry when I came to end of book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusually Funny. 20 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The sheer horror of some places in Britain is well portrayed, with an overriding humour which helps to ease the pill.
Don't know how some of the residents feel about it though!.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 11 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this for my husband, he thinks it the most hilarious book ever!! Friends who have borrowed it either love it or hate it though.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Setting on impulse out for a day trip "in that faraway time before such whimsy was dashed away by parenthood", Tim Moore ends up by accident in Leysdown-on-Sea, and is amazed at "how a fog-smothered mudbank in the Thames Estuary had ever become a holiday resort in the first place", and, more importantly, how he had being living his life entirely ignorant of its existence. Memories of that visit had "matured over the years into our yardstick for seaside misery, a metaphor for any truly terrible place".

But could it have really been that bad? And what about all those other places which by reputation had become a byword for the truly awful?

So Tim set himself a challenge: the Road Trip From Hell. "If I was to visit the worst British towns, then it seemed only appropriate to stay in the worst hotels. To go to the worst restaurants and eat the worst food. Drink in the worst pubs, see the worst sights, drive the worst car while listening to the worst music."

His vehicle of choice was that design classic the Austin Maestro, a car with wheels that would randomly detach themselves, leaks everywhere (in bad weather some drivers had to resort to wearing a raincoat) and a permanent oil stain in your driveway. His in-car soundtrack was 358 of the very worst of British music, as voted for by us in innumerable polls, "The tuneless, the endless, the cloying, the Wurzels".

He assaults his digestive system with a succession of culinary challenges, including Grabits Original Chicken on a Stick, "75g of impaled poultry, reduced to clear at 90p ...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stalking the Dreadful in Old Blighty 11 April 2013
"A quick flip of the wipers, and off we ... oh. I heard frail machinery endure immense strain and surrender with a reverberating twang; I saw the wipers flop limply down on to the bonnet, useless and dead." - from YOU ARE AWFUL, about driving Craig

"I watched my reflection settle into the now familiar blend of horror and exhilaration - the face of a man who has gone in search of the truly dreadful, and found it ... Five minutes later I walked outside (the barber shop) wearing a crested grebe plucked from an oil slick." - from YOU ARE AWFUL, about a haircut in St. Helens

"Drained and stained, the irregular-shaped pools seemed sad and creepy; the primary-hued plastic employed from everything from water slides to snack huts had dulled and roughened like an old toothbrush. The whole Chernobyl fairground look." - from YOU ARE AWFUL, about Rhyl's Sun Centre, off-season

Early in his marriage, travel essayist Tim Moore and his wife got lost on a day trip to Leeds Castle and ended up on the Isle of Sheppey in the Thames Estuary at the decaying beachfront resort of Leysdown-on-Sea. Twenty years later, this experience inspired Moore to do a driving tour of Britain's most vilified and blighted places as pronounced by various polls and surveys. Thus YOU ARE AWFUL (BUT I LIKE YOU), an unusual work of humor and bad experiences which is sprinkled with words like: horrid, rubbish, worst, loathsome, unhappiest, dreadful, and ugly. For the reader, it's great fun. Brilliant, actually.

Dedicated to the concept of Awfulness, Tim acquires his ride for the adventure, perhaps the worst engineered British car in recent history - the Austin Maestro - which he names "Craig.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny and definitely worth a read
Funny,sad and thought provoking sometimes all at the same time,well worth a read as part of our social history.
Published 4 days ago by ANTHONY.V. ACRES
5.0 out of 5 stars Good style with humour
Good style with humour, life observations, facts. Reading on Kindle last thing in bed and always glad there is another session waiting. Read more
Published 12 days ago by J. Dear
4.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud & tragi-comic
I like Tim Moore. Ever since reading his torturous travels along the route of the Tour De France his books are always worth a gamble. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Sg Knowler
3.0 out of 5 stars another well written Tim Moore
Very well written with some brilliantly funny explanations of areas, but a little sad as the areas visited were mostly in decline and in trouble.
Published 17 days ago by al
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another great book from Tim Moore.
Published 23 days ago by Victoria Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars You have to read this
Thought provoking and amusing in equal measure. Tim's writing is addictive, not least because I assiduously kept reading on, in anticipation of a disaster involving the Maestro... Read more
Published 1 month ago by green canary
2.0 out of 5 stars Quite depressing
Liked the idea of visiting the back end of places, a different perspective - but expected more quirky and less dingy. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Robert plant
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinatingly awful look at us.
We've all seem them and have been there but Tim Moore delightfully and very amusingly put the worst places in Great Britain into a great read. Tim must be a masochist. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kevin
1.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully a one off but I stopped reading after 20 pages
I usually like Tim Moore's books but thought this was terrible & so gave up.

If you don't like unnecessary swearing steer clear of this book - the language is in the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Neil Berry
4.0 out of 5 stars Tim Moore strikes again
I love this author, and this book had me laughing out loud on the beach - Bryson & Moore are in a league of their own when it comes to funny, informative and great storytelling
Published 3 months ago by Andy
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