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Exploring the written word

The North (and almost everything in it)

The North: (And Almost Everything In It) - Paul Morley

By: Paul Morley
ISBN-10: 0747578168
ISBN-13: 9781408834015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Language: English
Format: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle, Audio


Throughout the years I have travelled from outside England to London and Cornwall, always loving the vibe of the city, and then the quiet of the very far south. But I wanted to see more of this facinating Country. From London you can take the train north, reaching Manchester Piccadilly within about 2 to 2 1/2 hours with Virgin Trains, CrossCountry, East Midlands, First TransPennine Express, Northern Rail, etc. As you are cradled by the Train you may wonder about the sights you see along the way (similar to the Book The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins), curious about the history, the history of the North. To me, North England means Manchester, which is wrong and only based on personal opinion (certainly not along any geographical or political lines).

"By the time you arrive on the edge of this major northern city and see the buildings, new and old, that tell its story, that announce its entrenched character, you may have been in the north for a fair few miles, and nothing will have seemed so dramatically different since you were in the obvious south (P. 36)"

My first impression of the North was Stoke-On-Trent, then up to Manchester, finally settling on Stockport. I adore Stockport. I love the Greater Manchester area. I am enthralled by the Peak District. Paul Morley, the Author of The North (and almost everything in it), grew up in said area, specifically in Reddish, which is an area of the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, in Greater Manchester, England. "It is 2 miles (3.2 km) north of Stockport and 4.6 miles (7.4 km) southeast of Manchester. Historically a part of Lancashire, Reddish grew and developed rapidly during the Industrial Revolution and still retains landmarks from that period, such as Houldsworth Mill, a former textile mill" (Wikipedia). That is why I picked up the book in the first place; I wanted to learn about this North since I myself have been exploring Stockport and to a lesser extend, Manchester.

The Book itself was great although it took me weeks to read due to the convoluted way it was written. I had no issue with the historical timeline of the North of England being written backwards as his own timeline went from youth to adult in the expected manner. There were lots of sentences that ran together, for an eternity it seems, and sometimes I wondered if the Author was not on something as he was writing - still - I give the man credit: it calls for a second read so I can highlight passages and explore this North and the locations he mentions. The book also lead to me and Google again forming a intimate relationship so I could look up any names or happenings I was not familiar with. I am, after all, not from England.

While I do like the book, there was too much mention of Sports and Music - but considering Paul Morley is an English music journalist with a serious Football (Soccer) fetish, I will forgive him for such folly.

Paul Morley's non-fictional book The North (and almost everything in it) will capture you if you give it the time it deserves.