"[It] turned into some sort of Carry On movie meets Fear and Loathing, with the whole band and crew staggering drunkenly from one comic moment to the...more"[It] turned into some sort of Carry On movie meets Fear and Loathing, with the whole band and crew staggering drunkenly from one comic moment to the next." That sums up not just the 1999 tour, but the whole book. It's the funniest thing I've read in at least a year.
Hallelujah was written in 2000 by a Daily Sport journalist, but contrary to stereotype there are a very reasonable number of words of more than two syllables, and nothing outrageously offensive in the narrative - it's just laddish, and milder than the tone in some of today's men's mags.
Most of all, this is very sharp, often witty writing that makes a super-fast read. There's rarely a sentence of the narrative that isn't moving the story forward. The paragraphs of direct quotes from band members ramble a tiny bit more, but only enough to give a sense of someone speaking. There's never time to get bored here. To quote Madness, "there's always something happening, and it's usually quite loud."
I wouldn't want this lot as houseguests, but they're very very entertaining to read about.(less)
[3.5] This is the fourth Tony Parsons book I've read, and as I started it I told myself I really must stop buying them. They are acquired during moment...more[3.5] This is the fourth Tony Parsons book I've read, and as I started it I told myself I really must stop buying them. They are acquired during moments of boredom in station branches of WH Smith and the like - but they're always a bit meh, and if I'm going to read ladlit in the first place, I should at least try other authors.
However, it turned out to be the most interesting of his books, as for once it wasn't just about the characters' marriages and divorces, and I remembered why I chose this one. George, the protagonist, does have Parsons Man's trademark jaw-dropping ordinariness: middle brow, middle middle class, middle Englander, and it's interesting to see inside the head of a type of person I hardly ever get to know well in real life, but of whom I assume there are hundreds of thousands in the country. However I suspect that often it's really just Tony Parsons' mind we're seeing into.
Yet George is marked out somewhat by ill-health and an awareness of ageing greater than that of many 40-somethings. He has the strange mixture of bad and good luck, strictures and freedoms, that come with having a serious health problem which can be partly helped - in this case because he's had a heart transplant. In the interview at the end of the book, Parsons mentions talking to doctors for his research, but not to transplant patients themselves; I feel there's a lack of detail about experiences specific to the condition that makes the story feel unrealistic, and too often it becomes a midlife crisis novel with an original excuse.
So there is some good stuff here; sometimes Parsons' emotional reflections and generalisations often are quite deep and wise,(I loved the chapter about an ageing parent needing to give up driving, and dealing with this peacefully and privately) but some totally miss the mark, and a few are downright trite. The author's wish-fulfilment fantasies about crimefighting are a bit embarrassing and unrealistic - though one daft Sweeney pastiche chapter is entertaining in its way - and stand out from the rest of the story too much.
Stories We Could Tell is about music journalists; looks like it might be interesting. Aargh, it's happening again!(less)