Pier Review: A Road Trip in Search of the Great British Seaside by Jon Bounds
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Several things come to mind when you think of the classic British seaside holiday; sand, soft ice-cream, seagulls, fish and chips, driving rain, occasional glimpses of the sun and that Victorian bastion of the coast, the pier. Jon and Danny conceived and idea late one night in the pub, the place where all good ideas are formed, of visiting every pier still standing in England and Wales.
All fifty-five piers. In two weeks. In a car that they are not convinced will make it…
Fully enthused, they approach friends to fund their project, with the promise to send postcards regularly. With not quite enough cash secured, they need a driver. They choose Midge, an unemployed man they vaguely know, who only has two weeks spare before he needs to get back to Birmingham to sign on again. Planning consists of a spreadsheet with a list of the piers, a tent that they have never put up and a card with Linda Lusardi on for writing notes. They are ready, they think; so what could possibly go wrong…
This type of travel book is something that the British do best; a mad idea, planned whilst under the influence of alcohol and carried out in a slightly disorganised way. Both authors write from their perspective on their trip, nicely done in the book with different fonts rather than being a homogenised text. The book is full of humorous moments as they metaphorically stumble from place to place. Each pier they visit has a little box with facts and anecdotes including length, when built and most amusingly ‘Burn Baby Burn’ for all those piers that have had fires. It is an enjoyable book, full of wistful memories of the heyday of summer holidays brought right up to date through slightly hungover eyes, told with self- deprecating wit and the odd one or two scrapes. Good stuff.
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