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The Pie At Night: In Search of the North at Play

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  321 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Factory, mine and mill. Industry, toil and grime. Its manufacturing roots mean we still see the North of England as a hardworking place. But, more than possibly anywhere else, the North has always known how to get dressed up, take itself out on the town and have a good time. After all, working and playing hard is its specialty, and Stuart Maconie is in search of what, exac ...more
Paperback, 343 pages
Published April 7th 2016 by Ebury Press (first published April 30th 2015)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Paul
When you think of the North of England an industrial landscape would come to mind, with the factories, mills and heavy industry. It is a hardworking place; but it knows how to have a good time and play hard too. Maconie decides that he needs to dust off his suit, polish his shoes and go out on the town in search of a good time.

Using the best intelligence that he can get, Maconie travels round the north, revisiting the classic haunts of leisure from Blackpool to the dogs, football and rugby of c
...more
Louise Culmer
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stuart Maconie's affectionate look at the various ways northerners amuse themselves, covering music, sport, fell walking, heritage sights, art, restaurants etc. Some activities he says he left out due to lack of space, among these are'growing giant leeks' though that has been covered adequately in Harry Pearson's delightful 'racing Pigs and Giant marrows' (likewise pigeon racing, also covered by Mr Pearson). It is quite entertaining, though there are occasional moments when I find myself wonderi ...more
Plum-crazy
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Maconie has an simple, direct & amusing writing style & usually I find it easy to identify with him, surprisingly in some ways as firstly he's a man..& I'm not!...& secondly he's a....dare I say it?..a Lancastrian Well, I am a Yorkshire-lass through & through.....

This book was a bit of a mixed bag for me. There were parts I found thoroughly enjoyable, especially those set in my own neck of the woods & despite spending my whole life around Huddersfield I've found out things about the town I never
...more
Brian Clegg
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've never been a fan of the 'hello sky, hello grass,' Fotherington Thomas school (or should that be skool?) of travel writing that is packed with purple prose and lengthy descriptions of scenery. What does the trick for me is a travel book that explores the (often humorous) interaction between the writer and people and places, preferably with more urban and suburban adventures than countryside and wilderness. When it comes to plain humour, the master of this genre is Bill Bryson (even if he did ...more
Suzie Grogan
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I want to write like Stuart Maconie. Sharp and witty but warm and with a real affection for his subjects - here focusing once again on his native north of England in the sort of follow up to Pies and Prejudice from about 10 years ago. Here he looks at how people spend their evenings and the cultural focus of their spare time and despite his sometimes comedic descriptions, this has, at heart, something serious to say about what is and isn't important in Britain today.

I wouldn't gripe, but would l
...more
Paul McFadyen
A solid 7 out of 10 for me.

Being a Northerner (and almost a near neighbour, at least for a small shared portion of our lives), I will chirpily devour a new book by Stuart Maconie, a real champion of these parts, especially when he returns to the subject of "our" part of the world.

This one covers plenty of bases: sport, art, theatre, music, drinking, the countryside etc. and as an advert for all sorts of lesser-known (to me) places to visit, it's excellent - there's a strong chance that our 2016
...more
Derek Issacs
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A companion to Pies and Prejudice," says Maconi, about this, his second book about the North.
He writes in a very chatty style and the book itself is almost as good, or is as good, as a travel companion. I have written down loads of places that he mentioned and that I want to visit when I go back home to the North (as I do most years), places of which I had never heard before reading this, even though I am a notherner. I think he rambles ( no pun intended) in parts but I kept on turning the pag
...more
Gill Thomas
I love Stuart Maconie's commentaries and there are some 'gems' in this book. The thing for me was that because Stuart is male, it was definitely a perspective from a male - one too many sport references for me. But the chapters I liked, I really liked so hey ho :)
Janet Panter
Not as enjoyable as some of the others I've read. This was a bit more heavy-going.
Marjorie
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 Stars

It's not all flat caps and whippets - unless you're in Yorkshire where they still don't have electric light or fitted carpets (sorry Lancastrian, so not sorry) - and this is what Stuart Maconie is hoping to prove here. At least, that's what I think he's trying to prove. It is very hard to tell between his frequent forays in to locations that are decidedly NOT the North (Sorry but Birmingham, Wolverhampton et al are in a Metropolitan County called the West Midlands - the clue is in the n
...more
Peter Kobryn
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable book , charmingly written by the journalist / author / DJ ( as they used to be called )

Unlike many readers of this book ( I suspect) I have not yet read the predecessor to the work - Pies and Prejudice - but I may well do after enjoying this book.

With an always affectionate eye our author takes us through themed chapters, and many towns and cities in the North of England ( some spiritually rather than geographically - yes, you Wolverhampton )

As a northener at heart I enjoyed this
...more
Janet
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I guess I ought not to like Stuart Maconie as a writer, seeing as he is down on us 'Southerners' a lot of the time, tarring us all with the same brush! Yes, I do like some opera (when it's sung in English and sung well) but also I generally say hello to people even if I don't know them (although never on the London Underground when I visit the city, or they think you're a psychopath!).

A lot of his criticisms perhaps do apply to people who live in the capital (surely not all of them!), but not to
...more
Michael Rumney
Stuart Maconie reflects on how northerners play and since I found this in the biography section of my local library I assumed it was going to be more about his life.Yes there some snippets, how he learned about classical music by taping radio 3 and borrowing records from his library but mostly it's about geography of the north and its history with leisure.
The geography angle is a little strained in that great chunks of the book are located in Birmingham, the midlands and the Swindon Railway work
...more
Pamela Fellows
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Biased Review

Brilliant book. Being from the North and immensely pleased and proud that I am , perhaps a bit biased. Interesting historical facts, well written, funny. I find all this author's books, entertaining, educational and honest.
Janette
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just delightful! Allowed me to visit and revisit some favourite places during Lockdown and appreciate even more why we should treasure them, stay away and stay home. In the meantime, I’ve made a ‘to visit’ and ‘to revisit’ list.
Jonathan
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A companion work to his earlier book Pies and Prejudice this book focuses on 'leisure' pursuits in the north. I can't really say anything more than this is a must read
Emma
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great book by Stuart Maconie, Love the chapters on the seaside and football.
Jon
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Professional Northerner writes thinly researched book about not very much. Potboiler.
Michelle Witcombe
Another funny book
Amanda
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Maconie is always excellent company
Pauline Midwinter
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love his writing style!
Jonny Brick
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good on football, greyhound racing and variety shows, this is a wonderful memorial to leisure time in the North of England.
Col
Mar 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably the weakest and least enjoyable of the four books by this author that I have previously read and immensely enjoyed.
This one was a bit hot and cold depending on the chapters subject.
Still very interesting in parts and I do like the authors style.
Jennifer
Reading Stuart Maconie is a bit hit and miss. He has a fine way with words but sometimes what he is saying is either confused or wrong (in my opinion) or otherwise A Bit Irritating.

Very early in this book he asserts that the middle class non-Northerner is sitting in front of the telly of an evening, so that's what he is setting the wonders of the Northern working class nightlife against, and it seems a very shaky foundation.

However, that premise is largely left behind by a very solid book which
...more
Mat Davies
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maconie's second and barely disguised love letter to his beloved Northern England works well as both travelogue as well as social history. It covers leisure time: from cold January nights spent on football terraces to the solid community spirit generated by membership of the local brass band via several engaging pit stops that celebrate the diversity of these communities, this is a never less than interesting travelogue.
As a former music journalist, Maconie is particularly strong on music-his s
...more
Jim
Jan 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. The only chapter missing was about how Northern men can beat the living sheggite out of any nancy boys pampering themselves south of the Watford Gap, but maybe penning this was unnecessary as it was shouted between the lines. I skipped the chapter on football because I just couldn't face it and I dreaded, dreaded the one on music through a fear of two words: The Smiths. Can you imagine if The Smiths had played for Man Utd on the side? What hope for the rest of the world?
Maco
...more
Richard
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
Started reading this when I borrowed a copy from the local library but stopped half way through. Not because it was bad, it was as witty and observant as has become the norm with one of Stuart Maconie's books. The problem is that he has such a fantastic command of the English language, that'd I'd be reaching for a dictionary every few pages! I now only buy his books on a Kindle with the dictionary I can access at the touch of the screen.
It's good (but not as good as Pies and Prejudice). My only
...more
Steve Chilton
I've always found Maconie's books witty and enjoyable. They're all pretty distinctive from each other. He covers some unusual leisure pursuits well here, but some parts of it do drag as though he may have been fulfilling a contractual obligation. Maconie seems to have a genuine pleasure in his pubs, clubs and gigs and also fell walking, which all makes for an interesting read.
Maggie
Aug 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a big fan of Stuart and his excellent humorous travel writings. I adored Pies and Prejudice and this was written as a sequel and looked at leisure in the North. I was not disappointed- packed full of amusing pastimes and less well known landmarks- worth a look.
Ipswichblade
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent book about the North from Stuart Maconie
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Stuart Maconie is a TV and radio presenter, journalist, columnist and author.

He is the UK’s best-selling travel writer of non-TV tie-in books and his Pies and Prejudice was one of 2008’s top selling paperbacks. His work has been compared with Bill Bryson, Alan Bennett and John Peel and described by The Times as a 'National Treasure'.

He co-hosts the Radcliffe and Maconie Show on BBC Radio 2 every M
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