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Filthy English This has been a helluv'an introduction to Jonathan Meades I'm so glad Paladin mentioned it in their copy of Georges Bataille's Blue of Noon that I read It's slightly surreal to think this was released in the 1980s for me it feels like an earlier version of a British Chuck Palahniuk which should be Irvine Welsh but it's earlier than Welsh and is of a Stephen Fry esue articulation A strange piece for me or maybe it's just that I haven't dipped my toes enough in home watersMore please so much entertaining crazy and indeed filthy a treasure trove of new vocabulary you never expected to find in the most unlikely of combinations eg this priceless little vignette from a rural pubA normally well behaved dog called Dusty found it too much to bear and joined in the jollity jumping hither and tither leaving poochy paw marks on coats fashioned from fellow uadrupeds causing tables to lurch and drinks to spill No one minded much save the couple who owned the creature a cravat and a headscarf who threatened him with expulsion to the car outside period colour reuires a Healey 3000 The dog was disobedient almost tumbled into the open fire at one pointLen caught headscarf's eye she looked embarassed and exasperated Dusty did another leap circus than shire a further source of embarrassment and a Tattersall check shirt muttered something like 'ruddy hound' The next time that Dusty skidded to a halt by him melting icicles of slobber dripping on to the floor Len acted He punched Dusty on the side of the head Not a playfull cuff but a proper Hackney sandwich The dog keeled over very surprised made an eldritch whimper and lay wriggling like a decapitated eel The silence was loud as the clash of tweeds in the bar No one understands England better than Meades Stephen FryIt's a glowing endorsement really but perhaps I should have known better Stephen Fry is famous for being ridiculously intelligent by 21st Century standards and this collection of bizarre short stories seems to have been pitched somewhat over my headPerhaps it is me that is at fault and my mind that needs examining though when I read the back of a book and it promises bestial pornographic movies incest and a homosexual crime passionnel I sort of expect something akin to an English KnockemstiffMeades is the type of writer who loves words relishes their use infact and I have no issue with this in general but he is relentless in it using paragraphs to discuss a words synonyms as opposed to you know plot and story and other such entertainments There's no doubt that the way he uses these discussions to extract an anecdote from the 20 pages or so each one is allocated reuires talent and skill etc it's just not something that I took any real enjoyment from Having only understood every third word or so did not detract from the fact that Meades' head should probably be sectioned under the Mental Health Act A collection of rather disturbing tales centred around the part of England where I happen to live I will now think twice before entering the New Forest alone A collection of short stories the best of which is the first one in the book entitled Fur and Skin It stands out because it is a bit different and well I like a bit different the rest seem to be sort of oh well a bit on the dull side I guess when Stephen Fry wrote 'No one understands England better than Meades' he sort of gave up on England and started his world wide tour which seems to every now and then include a few seconds of tweetering from his iphone in england You can't put a good book down You can't pick a bad book back up A great book like this enjoins such a visceral reaction you find yourself repeatedly putting it down out of shock only to pick it straight back up If you're familiar with Meades' television work this book might come as something of a shock What seems irreverence in Abroad in Britain becomes excoriation in his fiction In these short stories Meades' keen sense of the grotesue springs fully formed from the page abruptly than in his longer form fiction He imagines or revisits a world seemingly conjured from his childhood memories of the places and possibly people he writes about Revulsion is an inevitable reaction Bestial pornographic movies and aniseed addiction; hallucinogenic mushrooms and incest; a homosexual crime passionnel As you would expect from Jonathan Meades his disturbing collection of short stories introduces us to characters who lurk and linger around the back alleys of the mind I found this book last spring when I was at Shakepeare Co in Paris I decided I HAD to get something while I was there and this was 6€ and it has an endorsement from Stephen Fry on it so I figured it must be good It's taken me forever to get through it too many other books to read y'know but so far it's been uite good I'm not sure whether I liked it or whether it was OK It's that kind of book Rather like a meal consisting of pan fried foie gras with raspberry reduction followed by confit of duck with cherry reduction and a crepe suzette to close All delicious in their way but in one evening NaaaahScurrilous and occasionally funny but never funny ENOUGH in my view Vile but well written draws you in couldn't stop reading last story a murder story with a mystery element SPOILER the murderer has to be I've forgotten how to do the spoiler hide thing so won't say but I was up all night trying to work out who what this is an anagram Bastard author 1986 notebook


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About the Author: Jonathan Meades

Jonathan Turner Meades born 21 January 1947 is a writer food journalist essayist and film maker Meades has written and performed in than 50 television shows on predominantly topographical subjects His books include three works of fiction and several anthologiesMeades is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and a Patron of the British Humanist AssociationMeades was bor