The North (And Almost Everything In It)

by Paul Morley

(...but mostly Stockport)

The North

Paul Morley spends several chapters at the start of this long (584-page) homage to the North of England trying to define what people mean by The North. In Morley's case, The North is Stockport. If Stockport isn't specific enough, The North is primarily the Reddish area of Stockport. This book would be a hell of a lot shorter if all the Reddish/Stockport sections were removed. Two-thirds shorter, I reckon.

The North (And Almost Everything In It) is a interesting and unusual read, part autobiography, part history. The autobiographical sections are pretty much chronological. These are interspersed with a random history of the North and northerners. I mean random quite literally: it jumps about in a non-chronological order, with no discernible pattern—which I quite liked. As I got into the book, I began to suspect that Morley had culled random snippets of information from the internet, and had jumbled them up to make half of this book. On p.383, Morley admits that's pretty much what he did.

Towards the end of the book, Morley describes his eventual move down to London. So I suspect that will be covered in more detail in his next book, no doubt to the entitled The South. I shall certainly read it.

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