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All Points North Paperback – 6 May 1999
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'A joy. Celebrates the real world and revels in its mad glory' - Sue Townsend, Sunday Times 'I was irresistibly reminded of Alan Bennett - there is the same wry humour, wonderfully telling selection of detail or remark... a fine balance of humour and poignancy' The Times 'Laugh-out-loud funny... has all the resonant precision of a poet's ear and eye' Independent 'A delight - high-spirited, light-footed, very funny and wickedly observamt' - Jonathan Raban, The Times Literary Supplement 'The salty prose of an original poetic voice' - Melvyn Bragg, Observer --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
'I was irresistibly reminded of Alan Bennett - there is the same wry humour, wonderfully telling selection of detail or remark . . . a fine balance of humour and poignancy' The Times
All Points North is part-memoir and part-excursion. Charting the rugged and uneven terrain of a writer's formative years - from tax problems to probation to American tours, football to family to running away to Iceland - Simon Armitage explores growing up and being Northern. It's about humour, language, writing, film, houses, homes, time wasters, one loose tyre, you, me and all points in-between.
'Laugh-out-loud funny . . . has all the resonant precision of a poet's ear and eye' Independent
'A delight - high-spirited, light-footed, very funny and wickedly observant' Jonathan Raban, The Times Literary Supplement
'The salty prose of an original poetic voice' Melvyn Bragg, Observer, Books of the Year
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This is quite a rare kind of book because it includes so many different styles of writing. Also unlike say, Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island or Theroux's 'The Kingdom by the Sea'it is written by a native and allows the reader to make their own interpretation of the text. He does not appear arrogant or aloof, but becomes part of the landscape he describes.
Armitage is a wonderful writer. He writes about a variety of issues from Saturday Night out in Leeds (this chapter is quite superb)to discarded tractor tyres in the moors. He can make even the dull things in life have a kind resonance.
Some things I will always remember with a smile. His sports report when he likens 80's football shorts to 'skin-tight satin knickers'. When he was told there is no need to go outside and watch the total eclipse because 'it is on Channel 66'. Or the man who spent 26 days up a tree to set a new world record when he realised the record was 26 years- 'I did feel a bit of a prat when I heard'.
He can be funny/serious and strikes the right balance. He deals with a lot of issues here, including the homeless and Politics.
There are also pieces on the art of writing as Armitage alludes to his influences. These pieces are really inspiring and anything that encourages poets in this day and age is a good thing.
Armitage comes across as a sound bloke with a wonderful everyman talent. The North? Well, it will always remain a mystery to me.
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