In a review of Ian Jack’s The Country Formerly Known As Great Britain, Rachel Cooke writes:

Almost all of these wonderful pieces were commissioned by newspapers and magazines. They would never have worked, and would not now work, on the internet, which is so very interested in speed and sensation and so resolutely uninterested in well-researched thoughtfulness; in essays on bus conductors and Sundays and the seaside; in all the small, strange things that make us who we are.

This seems to me to be utter poppycock. There is abundant “well-researched thoughtfulness” in Interwebshire, plenty about bus conductors and seaside resorts, and a cornucopia of those small, strange things. Hooting Yard is merely one tiny haven of such delights. And surely if one is seeking vapid drivel and “sensation”, one need look no further than the Grauniad and the Observer (where the review appears).

The book itself looks well worth reading:

Jack notes that 1956 was the year in which he and his parents ate their first “tin of baked beans that also included sausages”, a meal taken while sheltering from the rain beneath a bridge at Lanercost Priory, near Hadrian’s Wall. “My,” said his father, “but this is good!”

You can rarely go wrong with a sausage anecdote.

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