Those of you who know me, know that I love to read. English is also my ‘specialist area’ at school (i.e. the one I teach the most. I do also love teaching maths, drama and the humanities :-)), so I also love to talk about books!
So this post is the first of many book reviews I am hoping to do here. And this one’s a little special, because the book was actually written by a very talented friend of mine, Simon. Simon and I met through mutual friends with a love of being nice to people and then going to the pub, and I am an avid reader of his blog (brilliant photographs, thought provoking posts on religion and politics, and a fair bit of Apple love over there). So when I found out last year that he had written a book, I of course pre-ordered and awaited my copy with all the enthusiasm of a cat awaiting the opening of a can of tuna (one day, I will video our cat’s reaction to this event. It’s golden.).
So, I waited for my copy, and when it arrived I read it eagerly on my commutes to and from school. ‘Up The Creek…’ charts the first stages of Simon’s quest to visit as many places as he can which have the word ‘mullet’ in their name. This whole quest is inspired by a spate of ‘mullet spotting’. In this case, the awesome eighties haircut. You know, business at the front, party at the back? Feel free to google the word mullet for further elucidation. While he and his friend were on convoy in Eastern Europe they became fond of this ‘mullet spotting’, and before he knew it Simon, was a full on mullet-bagger.
Part Dave Gorman, part Bill Bryson, this book charts Simon’s adventures in Albania, Ireland and Australia, visiting as many ‘mullets’ as he can. Simon’s prose is very much like that you might find on his blog – conversational and witty, with a knack for a dead on observation and a real way with words. The whole book is also shot through with humour and lovely moments where our hero faces challenges or meets interesting folk. There’s even a little bit of media darling-ism in there too!
We travel with Simon as he tries to complete his quest and prevent his mullet fascination taking over his life, and he gives lots of detail on all of the places he visits. Indeed, his observations on Ireland came in really handy as I read them just before I went there myself.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s entertaining and well-researched, and has plenty of chuckles and thoughtful moments throughout. I would thouroughly recommend this book to you if you enjoy non-fiction, travel writing, or indeed any book where a man or woman sets off on a bit of a project (for example, the books of Danny Wallace or the aforementioned Gorman).
Simon, I cannot wait for the next part of your journey to be published!