Since I decided to make my book subject to a free promotion, I’ve been astonished by the number of downloads. If any readers have downloaded a copy, thank you and I hope you enjoy it. At the time of writing, there are still a few more hours to go and I’ll add the links at the bottom of this post. For those of you who missed the chance to claim a free copy, don’t worry, I’m going to keep it at the ‘introductory’ price for a while yet.
Although I’ve been surprised and delighted by the volume of ‘sales’, what’s really shocked me is the number of readers from overseas who’ve downloaded a copy. It’s flattering to think that I’ve gone one better than the Stone Roses and ‘broken America’, even if it probably isn’t true. On the other hand, I am slightly worried as to what people will make of the pop cultural references so I thought I’d take the opportunity to start a glossary here in order to spare anyone reading the book a trip to Wikipedia. I’ll add to this as I go but these are the phrases which spring to mind immediately.
Bruce, Robert the: One time king of Scotland. According to historians, was inspired into a victory against the English after watching a spider in a cave. One can only assume they didn’t have Spin Doctors in those days.
Budgens: Some sort of supermarket type thing. As far as I know, they don’t exist outside London and are consequently very popular in stand-up comedy routines.
Carolgees, Robert: British humourist and puppeteer, celebrated for his seminal 1980s partnership with Spit the Dog. Widely regarded as the UK’s answer to Woody Allen.
Casualty: Saturday night television series popular with ghouls and pensioners. It’s our equivalent of ER with Derek “Charlie Fairhead” Thompson is our George Clooney. Casuality has been running since 1986 which means it’s lasted longer than the first incarnation of Doctor Who. More shockingly still, it outlasted Heartbeat.
Clough, Brian: Late football (he would have been mortified to hear it called ‘soccer’, probably) manager. Won league championships at Derby and Nottingham Forest. Subject of David Peace’s The Damned United.
Delap, Rory: Journeyman footballer and Republic of Ireland international. Famous for stints at Sunderland, Stoke and Derby County. I think he had a special talent, too but I can’t remember what? Long throw-ins, perhaps? Or was that Dave Challinor.
Dualit: Manufacturers of top-end kitchen appliances. I really wanted to get one of their toasters a few years back but my wife wouldn’t let me. I could’ve got an imitation, but it wouldn’t have been the same so I settled for a cheap supermarket own brand model.
Frodsham: A small town in North Cheshire, and one-time home to celebrity tax-avoider Gary Barlow. When I started writing Don’t Carp, Marley Tiffin, I had never been and imagined it would be quite posh. Having since visited, I now see
it’s a fairly standard northern town. I should really have changed the setting to somewhere like Lymm or Wilmslow but I didn’t because Frodsham is a funnier word.
Keele Services: This is the equivalent of a truckstop, roughly equidistant between Manchester and Birmingham. Not as nice as Stafford (Northbound) but less of a hovel than Sandbach.
Leigh, Mike: Salford-born film director who makes films starring Timothy Spall. Enchanted not believed to be one of his.
M6: Rubbish and frequently gridlocked motorway that runs from Coventry to Carlisle (I think, but I’d have to Google to confirm). Home to Keele Services.
Manboobs: Proper medical term for gynaecomastia, used by doctors and that.
McFarland, Roy: Ex-Derby County footballer.
Morrissey, (Stephen Patrick): To some people, he’s a fifty-five year old man who sings songs about not liking high court judges very much. To those of us who understand, he’s the greatest recording artist and lyricist of the last fifty years. As a singer, only Scott Walker comes close. Has reputation for being prickly and I suspect we wouldn’t get on in real life.
Nuts In May: Tele-play by Leigh, Mike about a camping trip. I’ve never seen it all the way through but the bits I have managed to see were quite good.
Pheonix, Pat: Coronation Street Actor. I’m fairly certain she was on a Smith’s record cover. In spite of having a name better suited to a middle nightclub compere from Rotherham, a lady.
Peshisolido, Paul: Karen Brady’s husband.
Potter, Harry: You know who Harry Potter is.
Rourke, Andy: Bass player in Smiths, The. Joint third best Mancunian bassist after Mani and Adamson, Barry (who would win it even if he’d done nothing else apart from the bassline for Magazine’s Song From Under The Floorboards). What about Peter Hook? Get outta here.
Sale Sharks: Rugby Union (sort of like American Football with [marginally] fewer stoppages and less padding) team plying their trade in Greater Manchester with stupid name. Presumably, it’s intended to make them sound menacing but it you put a squad of sharks on a rugby pitch, all they’d do is flap about a bit and expire of dehydation. You wouldn’t even get them going into a feeding frenzy because the referee would send off any players with a ‘blood injury’. Having said that, Miami Dolphins is probably an even dafter name. At least the sharks might get a bit tasty if it rained.
Southpaw Grammar: Morrissey’s worst album. There is no argument here. You might argue it’s better than Kill Uncle or Maladjusted but you would be wrong.
Smiths, The: Morrissey and Rourke, Andy’s old band. Also featuring Mike Joyce and Johnny Marr. My favourite band for most of my adolescence in spite of the fact I was 10 when they split. Never cut a weak song and a series of acrimonious court cases in the 1990s mean they’re unlikely to ruin the memory by reforming. If you haven’t heard any of their stuff, Youtube is your friend.
Warrington: A large town and unitary authority on the North bank of the River Mersey. Historically part of Lancashire, it was subsumed into Cheshire as a result of the Local Government Act 1972. This is sort of like inviting Lemmy-out-Motorhead to join the London Philharmonic Orchestera; It’s not a good fit. Warrington is no-nonsense northern industrial town; Cheshire, on the other hand, is a land of twitching net curtains and WI bake-offs and safe Conservative seats. I quite like the defiant way it imposes its viaducts and chimneys on a landscape that would otherwise be spoiled only by footballers’ houses.
More to follow as the mood takes me. Those links again: