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VINE VOICEon 17 May 2017
Good old Overend, when I was a kid I'd watch Mott the Hoople on TV and wish I had hair like his, long with silver colouring, he looked like he was from another planet - he for me was the coolest in the band - the coolest of all the people that I saw on Top of the Pops. Fast forward 40 years or so and although I have a load of Mott albums I was unaware of this book until I heard about Overend's untimely death R.I.P. Being a bit of a walker myself (but not a real backpacker) I was surprised to come across this .. looks like he was a real proper walker judging by the back detailing the other walks he went on after this ...who knew??? Well loads apart from me I guess. I thought I'd grab the book.
Anyone looking for a walking guide needs to look elsewhere as this is not what you're looking for. What it is though is an hilarious account of his walk based on the journal he wrote as he undertook his mammoth task. Yes mammoth task, as the title suggests he was a man who didn't like walking and for his 1st ever walk he chose the South West Coastal Path which apparently is a bit of an ordeal for even experienced walkers. His style of writing is light, humorous and eminently readable. It feels like your alongside him on the walk sharing in the situations and predicaments he finds himself in. The whole book is a delight to read and had me laughing out loud on more occasions than supposed humorous books have. I enjoyed it so much that when I finished I started it again right away. A brilliant book.
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on 28 February 2017
I saw Mott the Hoople in October 1972 and was fascinated and amused by their silver haired bass player in the thigh high platform boots. Overend Watts and his band featured regularly on Top of the Pops for several years following this concert as Mott the Hoople had a string of raucous, catchy glam rock hits. Then they slowly faded from my memory, being revived every time "All the Young Dudes" was played on the radio. And then out of the blue came news of a series of concerts by the band in 2009 . I bought my ticket and saw them at the Hammersmith Apollo; they were great and the decades slipped away - briefly I was 18 again. So we come to January 2017. It was with dismay that I read of Overend Watt's death. His obituary mentioned that he had written a book. I ordered it and started to read. What a great read it is too! Of especial interest to those who know the beautiful coast of SW England, this is a fascinating study of a complex and shy man discovering a new reason for living. Containing a seemingly endless succession of characters it is Overend's humanity that shines through as he puts himself to the test. A fitting epitaph to a good man.
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on 17 March 2017
I knew of this books existence being a Mott fan, but thought the subject matter wouldn't be for me. How wrong I was, I've just finished this wonderful book, and feel like reading it all over again, straight away. Pete/Overend's writing style is wonderful, and you feel like you're out there with him. He comes across as a friendly, although somewhat solitary man, slightly eccentric, someone you'd love to chat to or have a drink with. Sadly his untimely death means we'll never get a follow up, but I truly can't recommend this book highly enough. Outstanding.
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on 7 September 2017
I'm a lifelong fan of Mott the Hoople, and this sounded like a good book. However, I have to say that the late great Overend Watts was better at playing his guitar than writing books. It's a kind of monotone account of a long walk, rather than a fascinating insight into an eccentric and colourful character. I'm not an avid reader and I'm half way through but it is not grabbing my attention.
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on 16 July 2017
Hilarious tale of Pete watts mammoth trek,whether your a Mott the hoople fan or not makes no odds.it's a book that you can't put down,you want to get to the next part of the trail.as other readers have said,you really do feel you are with him all the way,probably the easiest book I've read due to Pete's relaxed writing style.like another contributer,within a day of finishing it I started to 're read it again.what a shame he is no longer with us,a sequel of his other walks would have been a treat.rip over end.
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Love his mangling of the english language, fo sunny, just wish i could have let overend know how we think alike before his too early demise.
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on 27 April 2017
Amusing story. Knew Pete personally for many years. Sad loss.
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on 26 August 2017
Very amusing. Felt like you were with him. Loved him in Mott the Hoople so perhaps I'm biased!
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on 7 January 2014
The plot here is given away pretty much straight away. This is a narrative of Overend Watt's completion of the very demanding Southwest Coastal Path in the UK, so there, I've given it away. However read on.
As this was the first effort from Mr Watts I wasn't sure what to expect. I needn't have worried because it turns out to be an extremely engaging/ addictive read. It is very much in a diary format (if you have ever read "Pennyless through Britain" then it is of a similar ilk, though very different in content).
This is a book that should be mandatory for anyone considering a trail walk of any distance from 50 miles upwards. There are a lot of learning points in here which are presented honestly and in a very readable format - in short read and take notice, preferably before you go and kit yourself out (I have made just about every mistake Overend admits to and I wish he had written this years ago as it would have saved me from my own stupidity. I would still have done the walks I did but would have been far better prepared and a lot more savvy). I will be reading it again to make sure I haven't missed anything.
If you have no interest in trail walking whatsoever, then this is still a good read and well worth getting hold of. There is a serious side to this book, but there is also a good dollop of humour in here as well, some of it is dark, there is a lot of wordplay, all in all very entertaining especially the open and honest narrative of Overend's changing state of mind through the walk as well as his descriptions of the many places he visits and the characters he meets on the way.
There are also excellent historical and location narratives spread throughout the book. Again, even if you never want to do any serious walking, it is worth reading the book for these snippits of information. Regrettably as OW completed the walk some years ago, some of the locations etc will have changed or even gone, but nevertheless there are some priceless comments in here.
Is this the best literary effort of 2013? Well in honesty it probably has a few holes in it that the better educated amongst us wouldn't be happy with. On the other hand I have picked up Booker prize winning novels before now and put them down without finishing them as they have been so cleverly written that they became tedious after the first few pages - Mr Watts cannot be accused of this, and I was genuinely sorry when I came to the end, in fact the book became more engaging as the journey progressed.
I hope Overend has something else in his notebook because I'm now looking forward to the follow up. OW, if you read this, a publication just in time for next Christmas would be good because my wife never knows what to buy me.
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on 22 January 2014
Bought my copy at the recent reunion tour and thoroughly enjoyed it. Quirkily written with great humour, his personality shines through on every page like an extension of his on-stage persona. Music fans be aware, though, that there is very little about music in general or Mott in particular. What you get are witty and charming accounts of B&Bs, chocolate biscuits, sore feet, etc., as our hero finds his pace and the right gear. The pen portraits of fellow travellers encountered on the way are particularly well executed and this is a book that will make you want to give long-distance walking a go, too. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it and felt that I had got to know the writer pretty well by journey's end. Nice guy, too. I'll keep my eyes open for you and your camper van on my Hebridean jaunts, Mr Watts, and maybe share a cup of slop and a reese choll or two!
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