The North : (And Almost Everything In It) Paperback
by Paul Morley
Paul Morley grew up in Reddish, less than five miles from Manchester and even closer to Stockport.
Ever since the age of seven Morley has always thought of himself as a northerner.
What that meant, he wasn't entirely sure. It was for him, as it is for millions of others in England, an absolute, indisputable truth.
Forty years after walking down grey pavements on his way to school, Paul explores what it means to be northern and why those who consider themselves to be believe it so strongly.
Like industrial towns dotted across great green landscapes of hills and valleys, Morley breaks up his own history with fragments of his region's own social and cultural background.
Stories of his Dad spreading margarine on Weetabix stand alongside those about northern England's first fish and chip shop in Mossley, near Oldham.
Ambitiously sweeping and beautifully impressionistic, without ever losing touch with the minute details of life above the M25, The North is an extraordinary mixture of memoir and history, a unique insight into how we, as a nation, classify the unclassifiable.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 592 pages, Illustrations (black and white)
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
- Publication Date: 05/06/2014
- Category: Autobiography: general
- ISBN: 9781408834015
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Review by Eyejaybee
I first became aware of Paul Morley as a regular talking head on documentaries about rock music, and gradually came to recognise that his opinions generally coincided with my own. He tended to speak to the camera with commitment and authority, and he has continued in that vein here.This book encompasses a variety of tones. Perhaps principally a selection of his own memoirs, focusing on growing up in Reddish, in the close hinterland of Stockport, he also offers an enlightening history of the north of England (with particular regard to Cheshire, Lancashire and the Greater Manchester area) and an engaging series of annals offering brief vignettes for most years, reminiscent of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, but with the startling distinction that the years are treated in reverse order. As we extend further into Morley's own life we are taken further back in to the history of the region.All of these interlaced narratives are charmingly written, mixing (suitably Northern) self-effacing memories with a rich vein of facts across a broad ambit of subjects. Very entertaining and very informative.