- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (28 May 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141040467
- ISBN-13: 978-0141040462
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
All Points North Paperback – 28 May 2009
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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
About the Author
Simon Armitage was born in West Yorkshire in 1963, and continues to live near Huddersfield. He is one of the leading writers of his generation. He has won the Sunday Times author of the year, the Forward Prize, a Lannan Award, and an Ivor Novello Award for his song lyrics in the Channel 4 film, Feltham Sings.
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Top Customer Reviews
Armitage depicts the kind of daftness, naivety and sheer buffoonery that is encountered from John O' Groats to Land's End - but he does it through the eyes of an intelligent individual who is utterly at ease with himself and his upbringing. One of the best parts is Simon's recounting of an amateur dramatics staging of 'Camelot' and the all-male cast's sheer enjoyment and unfettered enthusiasm from start to finish. It does help that I know many of the places mentioned - I have family in Marsden too - but even without this I can recommend 'All points North' as a great read and perhaps even an eye-opener for anyone who claims knowledge of life beyond Birmingham.
Taking as his point of reference his home town of Marsden in West Yorkshire, Armitage takes us on an engaging tour of the geography, people and places of his area, and offers us an insight into what it means to be a Yorkshireman. But this is no dusty travelogue. Dusty travelogues of Yorkshire, after all, tend not to include accounts of day-trips to Iceland from Leeds Airport, or of amateur dramatic productions. Let alone meeting John Peel and Teenage Fanclub. And it's a strange travelogue indeed that would describe Richard Whiteley as 'the I Claudius of broadcasting'.
While it contains some fiction ('Jerusalem', you suspect, is influenced as much by The League of Gentlemen as by Alan Bennett), the bulk of this collection is autobiographical, from tales of literary cricket matches to intruding on film sets. It's carried off with humour, and yet compassion. Armitage doesn't point and laugh at his subjects - he just observes. One of the great strengths of this book is that it's up to the reader to decide whether the situations described are amusing, tragic, pitiful, or a mixture of all three. This makes for an extremely engaging read.
So it's difficult to know who wouldn't appreciate 'All Points North'. And if Simon Armitage continues to write collections of prose, poetry, or indeed anything, chances are they'll be every bit as good as this one.
Let's hope he does.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book written with a love of the North and things Northern. A distinctive lyrical style with some wonderful one-liners.
An open, personalised and often heart warming read at times but most of all I found it very witty and extremely funny. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Bill
Yorkshire poet Simon Armitage has, with 1998’s All Points North, penned what is a delightful set of anecdotes, painting a picture of his childhood and early working life. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Keith M
As expected for of be of Simon's books, easy to readable very descriptive.Published 15 months ago by Katie H