Books that should succeed • 10 November 2007 • The SnowBlog
Books that should succeed
Well there's a thing. Em linked to Russell Davies's blog (he of the reliably fine Earth-based writing and not his namesake of the variable-quality off-world fare) because he'd said some favourable things about a couple of our titles. In checking out the post in question I was sad to see that Russell's book Eggs, Bacon, Chips and Beans didn't sell as well as he would have liked. It's such a shame because it's been one of my favourites since it came out, although I could see why not everyone might 'get it' at first glance. It's a series of informal reviews of greasy spoons, specifically their ability to provide a good plate of eggs, bacon, chips and beans, in harmonious surroundings, and it's illustrated with oodles of photos. On the face of it, it doesn't sound like a great read; more of a reference book aimed at a very particular group of people none of whom quite possibly are you. But it's charming and funny. Its disquisition comparing the two leading brands of brown sauces is a perfect poetic kaleidoscope of subsconscious British iconography. I defy you not to be amused. And somehow the jaunty captions on the photos hit exactly the right tone to tickle and entertain. They're like the next link in the evolutionary chain that gave us Three Men in a Boat, and Music Hall, and Carry On films, and Morecambe and Wise Christmas Specials, and Beano and Dandy annuals*.
Of course it probably helps if, like me, you'd rather eat food that comes with a mug of tea. It also helps if like me you're a connoisseur of whimsy. But surely there are more than 4,702 of those in this land - though disappointingly that's the number who have so far gone out and bought a copy. I sincerely doubt whether that fully reflects the book's capacity to delight. I would have thought five or six times as many would have been a sensible start.
So anyway, try to bear all that in mind as you're doing your Christmas shopping. There must be someone in your life with a sense of humour and a fondness for the simpler pleasures in life, who'd get some yuletide pleasure from this book (and I wouldn't be at all surprised if they were male as well).
*Apologies to non-Brits to whom this list may mean nothing whatsoever.