I'm going to define the essence of this sprawling place as best I can. I'm going to start here, in this village, and radiate out like a ripple in a pond. I don't want to go to the obvious places, either; I want to be like a bus driver on my first morning on the job, getting gloriously lost, turning up where I shouldn't. I'm going to confirm or deny the clichés, holding them up to see where the light gets in. Yorkshire people are tight. Yorkshire people are arrogant. Yorkshire people eat a Yorkshire pudding before every meal. Yorkshire people solder a t' before every word they use....
If there were such a thing as a professional Yorkshireman, Ian McMillan would be it. He's regularly consulted as a homegrown expert, and southerners comment archly on his 'fruity Yorkshire brogue'. But he has been keeping a secret. His dad was from Lanarkshire, Scotland, making him, as he puts it, only 'half tyke'. So Ian is worried; is he Yorkshire enough?
To try to understand what this means, Ian embarks on a journey around the county, starting in the village has lived in his entire life. With contributions from the Cudworth Probus Club, a kazoo-playing train guard, Mad Geoff the barber and four Saddleworth council workers looking for a mattress, Ian tries to discover what lies at the heart of Britain's most distinct county and its people, as well as finding out whether the Yorkshire Pudding is worthy of becoming a UNESCO Intangible Heritage Site, if Harrogate is really, really in Yorkshire and, of course, who knocks up the knocker up?
©2015 Ian McMillan (P)2015 Random House AudioBooks
As a Yorkshire man I can truly say this is worth listening to. Furthermore, as a Yorkshireman who just spent a few months not in Yorkshire I can say this book got me through that time. It's good when a book reminds you of home. Not only that but despite his hesitate nature Ian has something to say, I especially enjoyed the small periods where he spoke about Yorkshire Independence. I am now on the train back home and it's been too long. Buy this book, I recommend it but if you don't then have a little Yorkshire adventure of your own, just remember to wear a hat.
I like Ian McMillan. I like his poetry. I like his voice, albeit an oral caricature of Yorkshireness. I especially liked the BBC radio 4 comedy ‘The Blackburn Files’ that was a great vehicle for his working class, laid-back wit; different from Peter Kaye, but from the same stable. So, you might wonder why I have given this only three stars. I think there are two reasons. First, that it seemed a bit patchy, so there were times when he ground the life out of a humorous situation, as if trying to squeeze a few extra words towards the finishing line of his book. The second reason is that I think I like Mr McMillan best in small portions, or when collaborating with others.
The book itself is a celebration of all things Yorkshire (perhaps it should have been sub-titled Yorkshire Pride). It’s focus is Ian’s take on, and experience of, what might be considered the mundane or commonplace aspects of Yorkshire life, with a fondness for the eccentric. I suspect that it will be enjoyed, moaned about, and secretly admired by Yorkshire people in equal measure. I was going to say that for the rest of us it may be a curates egg, good in parts. However, when I looked up ‘curates egg’ it had a meaning of mainly bad but good in parts and I think this is the opposite of what I feel ( i.e. it is mainly good, but I would have edited some bits to make it shorter).
I am glad that I bought this book, but for those who are unfamiliar with Ian McMillan’s work then I recommend a preview (prelisten?) before making up your mind.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.