Enough! For far too long, Lancashire has languished under the grimy pall of smoke and muck and mills and mines, enveloped in outdated condescensions, smothered by the easy dismissals that put down the north of England as just 'up there' and 'grim'. Thank you very much George Orwell, Monty Python and every London cabbie.
But Lancashire is not up there. Lancs is actually situated in the centre of the British Isles. And far from being grim, it is a place of wit and wonder, romance and surprise, a land of exotic influence whose people have always looked outward to sophistications and influences beyond frontiers and seas.
Indeed, French writer Honoré de Balzac recognised these affinities and yearnings in the Lancashire people when he had one of his characters declare that 'Lancashire is the county where women die of love.'
Mock if you like, but then think about it: where is the magnificent thoroughfare that inspired the boulevards of Paris? Where did they go to film Brief Encounter, the most romantic British film ever made? Where did the young Shakespeare dream of and draw on for his inspired imaginings?
Join Charles Nevin, Fleet Street journalist and humorist, as he returns to his roots and reveals all this and more. Discover the true Camelot and the beauty that is rugby league. See where Lancastrians go to die, but first visit Lost Lancashire and its great twin cities, Manchester and Liverpool. Mull over why Britain's greatest comics, from Laurel to Coogan, Formby to Vegas, Dodd to Kay, Fields to Wood, Morecambe and Dawson, have all come from Lancs. Mere coincidence? Give over, and read on . . .
What's in a name? Juliet doubted its importance in the matter of her Romeo, but we know what happened to them. Names are important. And first names particularly. People react to them even before meeting their bearers. Parents agonise over their choice. Children agonise over it, too. Small wonder when you remember the challenging time laid on by his dad for the boy named Sue. Jack, though. Always popular, it has become one of the most common names throughout the English-speaking world over the last 25 years, topping lists in most countries.But how much do all these new Jacks know about their name? Charles Nevin has explored history, folklore, legend and fiction to emerge with an enthralling list and lexicon of the world's most remarkable Jacks, their potted profiles packed with interesting facts and gripping anecdotes. How did Jack the Ripper get his name? What was the secret of the success of Jack 'Snuffy' Tracy, music-hall trombonist and husband of Britain's most renowned stripper, Phyllis Dixey? How did Jack Daniel, of bourbon fame, die?
All the answers are contained in "The Book of Jacks", a remarkable collection of larger-than-life hell-raisers, handfuls, heroes and relishable eccentrics.
King John, an Asian sub-postmaster, a harassed solicitor, a crime writer, a driving instructor, a rugby tour, the Peasants' Revolt, several bears, two train journeys and more than one rabbit feature in this collection of short stories from Charles Nevin, award-winning journalist, columnist and chronicler of engaging curiosities. Some are set in the past, some in the present. Some are inspired by Raymond Chandler, John Betjeman and Enid Blyton. All are new. Most are funny. And one is blue...
Sometimes In Bath, Lost In The Wash With Other Things, Lancashire, Where Women Die of Love, and The Book of Jacks are available via Amazon, any good book shop, or direct from me (signed copy optional).
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Knowsley Road was one of the most famous sports grounds in Britain. For 120 years it witnessed breathtaking, spellbinding rugby league played by such legends as Ellaby, Vollenhoven, Murphy and Karalius. Now the Saints have marched on to a magnificent new stadium and the great old ground has gone. Here St Helens RFC presents Knowsley Road's complete history, lavished with text, photographs, memories and much affection.