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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, April 28, 2007
    It's great up here
    A week in Fellfield reading some deep, dense, detailed space theory / place theory from Doreen Massey and Kim Knott, was brought to an apposite, wonderful, guffawing close yesterday when in Hawkshead's branch of Henry Roberts Books I treated myself to a copy of Stuart Maconie's Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North. I read it through in one long, satisfying sunny, sitting.

    The book's been slated by northerners whose own places were neglected by Maconie on his (North-West, Lancs and Cumbria-slanted) travels; and, of course, by southerners who just don't get it, especially when he gets at them (which he does very often and usually very well). But if you share his prejudices (and I certainly do), this book is a gem. And it reveals some hidden wonders, such as the deli in Bury market which - as Maconie rightly says - if it was in Camden or Brighton would never be out of the Sunday broadsheet columns; and great odd truths such as the (spiritual) regeneration of Skelmersdale which is the consequence of the Transcendental Mediation movement making that isolated planned town its unlikely headquarters.

    Full of writing which made me laugh out so often, so loudly, that the sheep in the neighbouring field seemed quite upset, the book is full of things like this lovely little vignette from Maconie's childhood Wigan days: