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Mark Steel's in Town

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  128 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Published October 27th 2011 by Fourth Estate
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Derek Baldwin
Pitched somewhere between Notes From A Small Island and The Idler Book of Crap Towns, this is not a match for either. The Idler is much funnier, vicious, partisan, whereas Mark Steel tries very hard to be fair all the time, or most of it, and pulls his punches. His tendency to drag in some left/anarchist politics at every opportunity is endearing but irritating. I agree with his principles but don't think he needs to express them All The Bloody Time. The writing's quite patchy and many of the jo ...more
Jan 18, 2016 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
I like Mark Steel: a lot. It probably helps that we're not that far apart in our political outlook and closer in a genuine caring for the country in more than social and economic terms. The book, perhaps by its very nature, suffers from a certain repetition and it doesn't work properly if you read chapter after chapter at a dash. Each chapter has at least one stomach creasing, gasping- for-breath laugh that is actually painful as well as being the best laugh I've had for quite a while. He catche ...more
John Humber
Dec 02, 2014 John Humber rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel
I enjoyed the Radio 4 broadcasts, and the repeats on 4xtra. But I didn't finish this book. Perhaps it's just material that is better listened to than read, but I found my attention drifting quite frequently. Hard to say why that is; it's not that he's a bad writer, but reading the chapters that I could remember hearing on the radio, there was something missing. I came to the conclusion that the missing factor was the audience; he does engage with the audience in the broadcasts and without that i ...more
Tim Allen
Jun 12, 2012 Tim Allen rated it liked it
I do like Mark Steel and his politics, and I really enjoyed his Radio 4 show in 2010, which this book is an accompaniment to. I also heard him speak about the book recently, too. He tries to find what lies at the heart of modern Britain by visiting a place, researching it, then inviting local people to come along to a comedy night, the theme of which is the town and its environs. He endeavours to look beyond the chain stores and shopping centres, and is eager to uncover the idiosyncrasies of loc ...more
Steve Gillway
Feb 09, 2012 Steve Gillway rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humour
I am a fan of his radio programme and of his politics. He was on Question Time quite recently and went on a fantastic rant. This book explores many of the places he has visited. The surrealist humour is the best part for me, his quirky selection of erroneous facts, the description of local laddish pursuits (football. pubs etc.), local luminaries of note are also engaging. Unfortunately, for me the chapter on Bristol is a bit disappointing. It's like the stand up comedian's jokes are funny about ...more
Mar 07, 2012 Leonie rated it it was amazing
Mark Steel gently mocks and lovingly hightlights the eccentricities and uniqueness of each 'town'/area/region he visits. He finds the best and the worst of a place and embraces them in a big long comic hug. I really enjoyed my short visit to each of these destinations and miss the radio show. I also confess to having heard some of the material in the book already in his stand up spot at Latitude Festival. It was a warm easy read and just what I needed Apres Ski.
Amanda Webb
Jan 11, 2012 Amanda Webb rated it really liked it
This is the first book I read on my Kindle which means people on trains were looking at me oddly as I sniggered whilst staring at a grey piece of plastic.

Mark Steel visits towns around Britain, investigates their history, their character (good and bad), their rebellions and makes a case that behind every cloned high street of chain stores there are people and stories that make it unique.

A really enjoyable and informative read... So read it!
Dec 29, 2012 Bookhuw rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
The radio show from which this book stems was rightly lauded, but something is lost when transferred to the page, and it can feel like a bit of a repetitive slog to read from cover to cover. Steel will always have a principled chip on his shoulder, but it is hard to stomach some of his declarations – for example, a claimed preference for Didcot over Oxford seemed to be going a little too far. Didcot?!
Steven Pilling
May 10, 2013 Steven Pilling rated it it was ok
Companion to the Radio 4 series.

If you havent listened to that then this will pass a few hours perfectly , but it is not more impressive than similar titles, find it on Radio 4 player or probably radio 4 extra
Liane Coia
Feb 02, 2013 Liane Coia rated it liked it
Loved his live show about his travels and think he's a very funny and clever man. The book was an enjoyable read but not as funny as I thought it would have been when compared to his live show.
Dec 12, 2013 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2012
A tie in to the radio 4 series where Steel trawls round to different towns in the UK and discovers lots of amusing facts and anecdotes about the place. very funny in parts.
Elizabeth Beverley
Jun 04, 2013 Elizabeth Beverley rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this, as I had listen to the radio show. I could hear Mark Steel's voice as I read it. Interesting incited into different towns and places.
Feb 05, 2012 Shakesmyteeth rated it it was amazing
Superb...with a chapter on my adopted hometown. Reccommended.
Jan 14, 2012 Fiona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Enjoyable, informative, laugh out loud funny and a little bit silly.
Sep 28, 2013 Jan rated it liked it
Chucklesome but not nearly ranty enough for my tastes...
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Apr 25, 2016
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Maryam Mahmood rated it it was amazing
Apr 15, 2016
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Mark Barnes marked it as to-read
Apr 10, 2016
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Mar 31, 2016
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Feb 25, 2016
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Feb 24, 2016
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Mark Steel (born 4 July 1960) is a British socialist columnist, author and comedian. He was a member of the Socialist Workers Party from his late teens until 2007.
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