As the cliché goes, Slamthology is a book of two halves. The first section is a travelogue, detailing the kind of adventure every wrestling fan has dreamt of many times, only to brush it aside as some sort of crazy fantasy. Not John Lister, who from his English home, embarked on a series of American road trips, taking in all manner of shows, sights and smells.
Through his comprehensive, always hilarious journal, Lister details everything that happened; the insane travel schedule, taking in numerous wrestling shows of varying quality and size, hanging out in Terry Funk's backyard, even making a cameo in a movie, and much more.
The writing itself is tremendous, the author has a real flair for humour, and as such, it's impossible not to picture the events in your head as you're reading. Even though travelogues by their nature don't have a regular narrative per se, this is genuinely a real page turner. The passion the author has for the business leaps from the pages, and one can't help but get caught up in the highs and lows experienced at the time. Anyone who has called themselves a fan of professional wrestling at any point in their lives will find themselves extremely jealous, although the writing is so great, that readers will feel as though they were there anyway.
The second half of Slamthology is a collection of articles the author had written for various publications throughout the years, from fanzines, unpublished diaries, and even from a mock GCSE exam paper. While these vary in subject matter and quality - some coming from a time before Lister 'smartened up' to the business - the author's trademark wit and insight is present throughout, and there's not a bad or unentertaining piece of writing to be found. As the articles chronologically move closer from the author's teens to the present day, there's a clear evolution from (admittedly very well written) fan-fantasy dream booking, to genuinely fascinating pieces of sports journalism.
Buy this book and be entertained, enlightened, and to be able to live vicariously through the author, who lived the dream. Three times.
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As a reader of John Lister's Hulk Who fanzine back in the day (by mass ordering back issues after reading one of the main articles in here surrounding his travels) I was looking forward to re-reading articles in this collection. I wasn't disappointed.
I'm not exaggerating to say that I could actually remember parts of it 15 years after first reading them. The large articles that make up the first half are great tales of the kind of trips all wrestling fans would love to make and are great fun.
The articles in the second half are more hit and miss but the author did write some at a very young age. The Hulk Who "What If" articles are a highlight though.
All in all, a great read for wrestling fans who loved the sport in the mid 90s.
This really is a superb read - so good that I even e-mailed the author to let him know!
This is a collection of some of John Listers work which he used in various other publications.
Two particular stand out chapters/sections are on the old wrestling territory system and how wrestling became a fixed form of entertainment. These are both informative and very well written pieces. Even if you are well up on both areas of pro-wrestling they still make for excellent reading.
Another great read are his reviews of the various trips he made to the States in order to watch a series of live wrestling shows. Anyone who has ever done this (myself included) will be bale to relate to his experiences and it will bring back your own hysterical memories from what are always usually interesting trips.
I really can't recommend this book enough and it is well worth the money.