Abailart's Reviews > On Roads: A Hidden History

On Roads by Joe Moran
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's review
Feb 17, 10

bookshelves: culture, history, on-hold-to-return-to
Read in January, 2010

It's proving to me a bit of a long journey. I have had recent unpleasant relationships with motorways and their peripheral appendices so suffer a mild form of traumatic unease that feels like a dull miasma whenever I open the book. This is very well researched book, well written (understated, with gleams and flashes of sharp wit along the ways) mainly about motorways in the UK, but structured to raise interesting cultural perspectives 'on roads'.
I have taken to skimming it, delighted to see it ends with the bottom of the M62 in Liverpool, my home town, where glow surreal strips on the flyover and projected iconographies of a city that does not exist anywhere - except at the end of a motorway, underneath a flyover.
It's a welter of usefully useless information as a bonus to more serious claims for gravity. Glad to see Eddie Stobart gets a look in, and deeply interested in the sort of facts I pass on to strangers at bus stops. Such as, of the 120,000 books published annually in Britain many will be pulped and those millions of words become 'shredded into tiny fibre pellets called bitumen modifier, which can be used to make roads, holding the backtop in place and doubling up as a sound absorber. A mile of motorway customises about 20,000 books. The M6 Toll Road used up two-and-a-half million Mills and Boon novels, romantic dreams crushed daily by juggernauts.'
It's been fun to read. And like a good, sometimes boring journey will do, has detoured me to places I had forgotten about. Stopping for refreshment once I googled and found myself in the far northHighland roads, a different story entirely, and discovered there a book about the history of travelling shops...
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message 1: by Jackie (new) - added it

Jackie Hi Abailart from your very own neck of the woods. I'm visiting my sister and finding the M62 very useful for getting around these parts! We were discussing just last night how good the roads are here compared to Kerry's winding, narrow counterparts! I enjoyed your review. "..It's a welter of usefully useless information" Ha ha. File away for quiz night at the pub :)

Abailart Have a great time over here, Jackie. I am off to the windy roads of Glasgow tomorrow for a while. There are things I could tell you about the M8 up there that would make your hair stand on end and uncurl the toes of your shoes. :)

message 3: by Jackie (new) - added it

Jackie Thanks Abailart I'm home now curly shoes intact :) Have a great time in Glasgow.

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