This was an absolutely cracking read. It was another book that I picked up from Barter Books (read about it here) while we were on holiday in the north east.
Initially I had got my Simons confused, thinking that this was actually the presenter from Nevermind the Buzzcocks. That is Simon Amstell. This is a very different Simon. A poet from the north of England.
The book is full an northern anecdotes, some of them first hand, others second or third hand, and a few which despite being made up and still hugely enjoyable. There are also a few poems. I especially enjoyed the story behind being commissioned by the Coop to write one, with the instruction that it might be nice if some of it rhymed. There aren’t too many poems, so don’t let that put you off.
The story of a man who tried to break the world record for sitting in a tree and came back down after 28 days, thinking that he had broken the existing 27 day record, only to be told that the record was in fact 27 years.
I also enjoyed that the writing style was very different to anything else that I had read recently, in that this book is written in the second person present tense, whereas everything that I write is generally first person past tense.
“You go to the book shop”, as opposed to “I went to the bookshop”. The book made me want to become a better writer, to experiment, to improve. It also made me want to read some poetry.