Man Bites Talking Dog Paperback – 1 Apr 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
"Funny" books very often fail to deliver the promised laughter so I bought this one hoping for the best but prepared just to be mildly amused as comedy very often requires a person to deliver the lines for the writer, this author though does it all for you, he writes the lines and supplies the delivery. Just buy it, you will not be disappointed.
Don't read it on a long train journey though as you'll upset your fellow passengers with your constant fits of giggling.
If you want one take on the recent state of British journalism and to laugh rather than cry, Colin Dunne's story of his life and times on the road, at lunch and at the typewriter is the book to buy.
He mirrors a working way of life that is now all but history.
Fleet Street was more than an address; it was an entire creative and, allegedly, commercial culture. It represented the might of journalism - national, regional and local, evening, daily and weekly - when newspapers first built up and then reflected the national mood; sold millions; changed attitudes; even toppled governments.
What today's reporters, anchored by cost controls and falling circulations to their desks, lunching on sarnies over the keyboard and downloading celeb copy from the internet, can only marvel at is that many Fleet Street reporters, writers, even editors of yesteryear got the job done at all, bearing in mind all the bars propped, glasses emptied and enduring fog of cigarette smoke.
From the Yorkshire dales via regional newspaper offices to the Fleet Street of the Daily Mirror and the Sun, Colin Dunne for decades lived this this time capsule of newspaper journalism while writing - humorously and always lightly - about the odd, peculiar, funny and the downright ordinary. Now he has turned his cuttings book into his own working life story. It's a cliche to say readers will laugh out loud and no newspaperman would ever reach for a cliche - so let this one highly entertained reader say it instead.
Man Bites Talking Dog could perhaps be called Life on Mars at the typewriter.
And we now have a newish generation of writers displaying their own brand of it. Caitlin Moran and Daisy Waugh of The Times. Zoe Heller. But what is it? The obvious answer - talent. But what makes the talent exceptional?
If gunge-writers heavy with big words, long sentences, and adjectival suicide knew what it was they would be writing it. But they don't. So the few, with their heads above the clouds are the elite.
Colin Dunne moved with modest distinction from life on a country weekly in the Yorkshire Dales to Fleet-street: a longish progression in which the raw tumult of a daily journalism retreated before the massed ranks of accountants, computers, carpets and No-smoking signs. He writes in his book of "the glory days of journalism." But that is the excuse. His chore. His reason for writing. The chore quickly transcends its reason as it soars with humour, observation, and a feel for language that is simple, direct, yet smooth and deceptively effortless.
I would be sorely depressed if his email name - dunnewriting - were true. He should be writing all the time. That is what he owes both us and his talent.Man Bites Talking DogI ordered three copies of this one book and will probably read all of them.
When you read the book you slowly realise you recognise the name but are not quite able to place it, having read it many times as a by-line in sundry publications, though not for me the Craven Herald. Such I guess is the life of a features writer - everywhere but not appreciated, and certainly not by editors on the evidence of this book. Dunne by his own account was a writer of "verbal candy-floss" treading the well worn path round the Provinces to Fleet Street - twice in his case. Self-effacement is a particularly strong suit and the reader can be easily misled and only later in the book do we see what a successful and talented writer he is. I would have liked a few more examples out of his cuttings file but the book is really an example of "Si monumentum requiris..." It's packed full of hilarious journalistic anecdotage sharply observed and gently written. If I had, it would have been worth paying for just for the story about Kelvin McKenzie and the ex-SAS man, though the tale about Hugh Cudlipp and Dunne's blue velvet suit back in the 70's is laugh out loud funny.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Witty, light-hearted view of the world of journalism by a hack who manages to see the funny side of everything.Published 19 months ago by David Baird
Just awful. Maybe students of journalism will read this and learn about the alcohol sodden, sexist bores of yore.Published 19 months ago by Jem
never rated anything below 3 stars before. This should be an interesting topic for a book but by some distance this is the most disinteresting book I have PARTLY read; so poor I... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mr H.
I was fascinated to read this, as the author went to the same school that I attended, and his reminiscences are hilariousPublished on 5 Jan. 2014 by selwyn42
Reading Colin Dunne's Man Bites Talking Dog is akin to sitting in a smoke-filled pub, surrounded by friends and colleagues and nursing a pint of beer as tall tales of long ago are... Read morePublished on 28 Aug. 2013 by J. Whitworth
Colin Dunne is a master of the written word, and as a former national newspaperman has created more elegant columns than the Greeks ever did. Read morePublished on 22 Aug. 2013 by Rugby3
I so enjoyed the step-back-in-time that Colin's book provided. I too worked for the Daily Mirror in Manchester throughout the 1970s, so I was transported back to that smoky,... Read morePublished on 1 Aug. 2013 by Janet Cowie
Colin Dunne's ability to lift your spirits, with hilarious accounts of real life journalistic exploits, takes some beating. Simply sublime!Published on 13 Mar. 2013 by HAITCH
A real insight into the life of a journalist (as it was, at least!) with some excellent anecdotes and humourous writing style.Published on 28 Feb. 2013 by Andy Batchelor