Cyan Books, 2006.
Subtitled “Around Britain in 30 writers”, the brief asked authors to explore a book closely connected with a place and what it meant to them. I chose Keith Waterhouse’s Billy Liar and my mixed feelings about living in Yorkshire – called, appropriately enough, “I’m Grim Up North”.
“You know when people say it’s grim up north? They’re right. My advice to anxious urbanites thinking of relocation is think carefully. What do you value? Where will you find it? My problem is the people – tattooed, moustachioed nosebiters choking the Saturday streets and drinking themselves rabid on two for the price of one bottles of Bud Ice. The men are even worse. I exaggerate of course but take it from me, anyone with a metropolitan frame of mind (and using a posy phrase like that strongly suggests I fall into that category) will soon come up against the stifling limitations of small town northern life.”