The Damned United By David Peace
Reviewed By Nick Quantrill
This latest work from Yorkshire born Peace is another slice of his
distinctive style that combines fact with fiction to boil down the
story to its true essence. Previously tackling the Yorkshire Ripper
investigation in his Red Riding quartet, and the miners' strike in
GB84, this time Peace turns his attention to Brian Clough's turbulent
44 day reign of Leeds United during the summer of 1974.
Clough has become a mythical figure in football, a throwback to the
lost and lamented days when it was the manager who was the club's star asset.
This breed were extroverts, never out of the newspapers or off the
television, and it was Clough who epitomised this era.
Peace's clever interweaving of Clough's past, the prematurely ended
playing career and the turnaround of perennial also-rans Derby County
into League Champions, is cleverly contrasted with the disaster of his
spell with Leeds United, and allows Peace to get under the skin of Clough
and examine the man behind the myth.
Throughout the book, Peace expertly brings Clough to life in a manner
that doesn't shirk from portraying his less than pleasant characteristics.
The story places much stock on his professional and personal
relationship with his assistant, Peter Taylor, and through this a
more multi-dimensional Clough emerges.
Without his friend and trusted colleague, Clough's decision to take over
from the legendary Don Revie at Leeds is attributable to his by now rampant
ego, and it is the ghost of Revie that looms large over Elland Road and
Clough during his tenure.
Clough's infamous, and highly public, disgust of the uncompromising
Leeds United playing style of the day, portrayed with Peace's distinctive
powerful clipped dialogue and sharp sentences examines Clough's descent,
ultimately at the hands of his new players, and a more fragile and
vulnerable character emerges.
Peace's uncompromising style may sometimes be difficult to swallow, yet
he always remains fair and sensitive to his subjects.
By refusing to pay lip service to the character of Clough, Peace's
continuing theme of how power corrupts and changes a person, draws
out a more compelling story, and makes for a highly satisfying, if
slightly uncomfortable read.
Reviews, Books - Perfume - The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind Reviewed By Laura Kilvington
Perfume - The Story of a Murderer was recommended to me by a friend
who described it as, one of the books you just have to experience before you die.
Now, after reading it for myself, I have to agree.
Perfume is a bildungsroman (a novel of education), which tells
the story of Grenouille who is born into the slums of
Reviews, Books - The Night Gardener By George Pelecanos Reviewed By Nick Quantrill (Available 10th August)
The 14th novel from George Pelecanos, The Night Gardener sees him weave an ambitious story that aims to lift him up and beyond the conventions of the crime-fiction genre. Pelecanos has never flinched away from tackling difficult social issues, and his remit here is to take a broad look at how crime touches the lives of those outside of its direct consequences,
Reviews, Humber Mouth 2006 - Friday 30th June 2006 -
Galloway: A Language Of Dissent? A Personal View By Pablo Luis González
Having watched the rather impressive performance that George Galloway MP put at
Hull Truck Theatre on Friday 30th of June 2006 as part of the Humber Mouth Literature Festival,
where he spoke without notes or sitting down for nearly an hour, in spite of the rather fancy
white leatherette chair provided for him on stage.
I was enthralled not only for what he
Reviews, Theatre - Northern Broadsides Company at Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough - Wars of The Roses by Patrick Henry
Battles depicted by semaphoric flag-wielding and huge rattling drums, vigorous balletics,
sack-barrows deployed as steeds or track-turning tanks; speeches characterised by robust Northern
or Midlands accents, and their inherent ironies and wiliness; intrigues concocted rapidly and
sadistically, mirroring statecraft strategy related to our day now.
Such are the best
Reviews, Humber Mouth 2006 - Saturday 1st July - Germaine Greer at Hull By Laura Kilvington
As a enthusiastic follower of feminist literature, I attended the talk by
Germaine Greer with the expectation of an intense, second wave feminism
discussion like the, all societies on the verge of death are masculine
(Greer:1984) type opinions which I associated with her.
Instead, the rubric of Greer's discussion was Anne Hathaway, the older
and greatly overlooked
Reviews, Humber Mouth 2006 - Friday 30th June - Galloway Trucking in Hull By Martin J Deane George Galloway Photographs by Ben Gurevitch
George Galloway, MP for Tower Hamlets in East London played Spring Street Theatre, Hull on Friday.
Despite introducing himself as having spent 6 hours in the back of a car suffering from food poisoning he delivered an entertaining, insightful and though-provoking show.
Here is a flavour of it! It's not verbatim but from notes so any errors are my own!
Reviews, Humber Mouth 2006 - John Pilger at the Ferens By Martin J Deane
Blair is the most right wing Prime Minister I have ever known. And that includes Thatcher!
In a wide ranging talk on Tuesday night, John Pilger shared his experiences of nearly 40 years of
investigative journalism giving a flavour of the man who, over 40 years, has made it an art.
In his opening remarks, John Pilger said how he used to cover northern England for
Reviews, Books - The Storm Watcher By Graham Joyce Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Simultaneously an unusual and extraordinary story set in France, a multitude of winning
elements ensure that The Storm Watcher is always an engrossing read, as sheer drama is
played up against some chilling thrills and spills.
The author in the award-winning Joyce grew up in Coventry, but over the years he has
lived in various places, such as on
Reviews, Books - Bowie : Loving The Alien By Christopher Sandford Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Rock writer Christopher Sandford sure doesn't beat around the bush when it comes
to writing highly detailed and thoroughly engrossing biographies of some of the
biggest names in rock music.
As well as having written this mini-masterpiece about Bowie, he's also dedicated
huge swathes of time and energy to documenting the fascinating lives and times of
Reviews, Books - Lunar Park By Bret Easton Ellis Reviewed by Steve Rudd
This has to have been one of the most extraordinary and surprising books published
in 2005, simply because it has been written by the hugely controversial author
of American Psycho - and because the form that Lunar Park
takes is so jaw-droppingly unexpected.
Bret Easton Ellis is one clever man, as revealed by the way in which this
Reviews, Books - Surfacing By Margaret Atwood Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Poetry and prose. Two separate entities, right? Wrong! Surfacing bears full-frontal,
gob-gawping witness to that as one of the most important novels of the 20th century
(according to the New York Times anyroad) in this bizarre beauty naturally glides
with sheer poetry within rasping prose.
Set in remote Quebec, this super slow-burning drama shadows a young
Reviews, Films - Welcome to Silent Hill By Margaret Ryan
A deliciously dark film of fear mongering, Silent Hill takes you on a terrifyingly absurd quest. Where to? That is a question this film doesn't answer, but enjoys twisting round you to find it. Of course playing the game helps understand this film.
I found the game itself to be relatively arbitrary and linear, rather like this film. However, the game is foreboding and visually
Reviews, Books - Magic Hoffman by Jakob Arjouni Reviewed by Steve Rudd
'We were young then, as if getting older were some kind of illness for which there was no cure.'
Magic Hoffman, the novel, is translated from the German original and follows
the captivating story of Fred and his best friends Nickel and Annette.
Following a botched bank heist, Fred serves 4 years' porridge and - as any friend would do - refrains from dobbing his mates in. Anyway,
Reviews, Films - An American Haunting (15) By Margaret Ryan
Possession? On rental, probably.
Call yourself a horror movie fan? Perhaps you'll get something from this.
Not particularly focused on horror movies? Then you may still enjoy it.
Imagine The Exorcist set in 1800s God-fearing America over the period of several weeks.
The premises for this film look awesome on paper.
Taking into account you've watched the trailer,
Reviews, Books - Stuart MacBride - Dying Light (HarperCollins) Published 2nd May 2006 Reviewed By Nick Quantrill
Dying Light is the eagerly anticipated second novel from new crime-fiction hotshot,
and follows sharply on the heels of last year's critically acclaimed debut, Cold Granite.
Once again following the story of Detective Sergeant Logan 'Lazarus' McRae, Dying Light opens
with him set to cement his position as the rising star of Aberdeen's CID.
Reviews, Films - The Dark (15) By Margaret Ryan
Clever psychological horror, perhaps too clever?
This clever psychological horror film perhaps lets itself down by being too clever? If you enjoy the blurred boundaries of the supernatural/subconscious, however, this is a well-paced, atmospheric film about a couple losing their daughter, only to believe they can bring her back from the dead.
There are criticisms, however, that
Reviews, Books - The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster Reviewed by Steve Rudd
One should never underestimate the power of books.
New York-obsessed Paul Auster is back, and he's clearly writing better than ever in light of this astounding novel of epic and forever-surprising proportions.
Paul was born back in 1947, and since 1974 he's rightfully become a widely acclaimed writer of novels, screenplays and poetry ... amongst other things.
Reviews, Films - The Road to Guantanamo, Channel 4, Thursday 9th March 06 By Patrick Henry
Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross's work is hardly like anything else ever shown on television, which makes it remarkable and welcome, though not to The New Statesman's reviewer who complains of its deficiencies, TV-wise, and that it fails to inform about the political attitudes of the protagonists or the real nature of Camp X-Ray and as a road movie lacks amusement.
Reviews, Books - Mission Flats by William Landay Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Crime-thrillers come no better than this edge-of-the-seat masterwork from American
writer William Landay, who here delivers a truly superb debut novel that attacks the senses and ultimately leaves you reeling from the brilliantly-staged shock ending.
It's amazing how some Crime writers make their stories sound so authentic courtesy of the detailed lengths that they go to in order
Reviews, Theatre - Friday 17th February - The Hull Blokes Present Love - A Night Of Comedy, Drama And Passion at Northern Theatre By Jane Foster
The Hull Blokes are a talented bunch of 13 local, er, blokes! who I have
had the pleasure of seeing twice before in their relatively short life.
So I thought it was high time to do them justice and write a review.
The Blokes have been lucky enough to secure themselves a home in the new
Northern Theatre building, which in my opinion is more welcoming and
Reviews, Books - The Loop by Nicholas Evans Reviewed by Steve Rudd
This is the second breathtaking novel from Nicholas, the first having being
the international best-selling weepy, The Horse Whisperer which shot
the English-based writer to fame.
The Loop has nothing to do with horses whatsoever, and instead focuses
on the trials of a wild pack of wolves that is terrorising a farming community in Montana.
A 29-year old wolf expert called Helen is
Reviews, Books - Rising To Obscurity and How To Remain Anonymous by AAA Aarbon (Bitterne Books) Reviewed By Nick Quantrill
Published by Hull-based Bitterne Books, the first two titles in this humorous series
offer a different take on the modern world that we live in.
Part satire, part social comment, they follow the story of AAA Aarbon, a self-confessed
seeker of anonymity.
AAA Aarbon is described by his editor as being best forgotten for many reasons.Rising To Obscurity charts the absurd
Reviews, Books - Notes From a Small Island By Bill Bryson Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Good old Bill is a natural comedian and never holds back when it comes to being honest. He's one of the world's best-loved and most famous travel writers, and this volume of 'notes' is exclusively concerned with a number of weeks that Bill spent investing in the art of travelling around Britain back in the mid 90's.
His travel writing talents first came to prominence when he released