Up North: Travels Beyond the Watford Gap by Charles Jennings - review by Keith Waterhouse

Keith Waterhouse

‘Ave a Good Laff

Up North: Travels Beyond the Watford Gap


Little, Brown 217pp £15.99 order from our bookshop

If you cannot judge a book by its cover, you certainly cannot judge one by opening it at random on page 83. ‘It was the lack of greenery that finally di d for me at Blackpool’ was the first sentence l read of Up North, to which I heard myself responding, ‘Yer great daft Mary Anne! Greenery’s to build on!’

Not a good start. But, a fair man, I thought l would give Charles Jennings every chance and plough on for another four or five pages.

Like the Conservative Party (and much of the Parliamentary Labour Party, but they keep quiet about it), he does not warm to Blackpool, for all that his introduction to the resort is a woman on the Preston Sprinter yelling, ‘Eh, look at that fookin’ cow! In that field! I never seen a cow fookin’ run before!’ I mean, what more does he want?

Yates’s Wine Lodge, where in his nancified Southern way he cannot bring himself to order a glass of the draught champagne and a chip butty and put hairs on his chest, fail to enchant him: he sees only a ‘monumentally tawdry, flatulent place’ the size of a dance floor. I

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