A book review
On occasion we’ll post reviews of books we’ve really enjoyed (or books we want to warn people off) – if only to use the words ‘rambunctious˚’ or ‘roistering˚’ – as is the case today with A.D. 500 by Simon Young. Not normally fans of historical fiction, unless it’s Flashman or Erast Fandorin, we’ve been mightily pleased with Simon Young’s offering. A rambunctious, roistering exploration of Early Historic Britain and Ireland (these Isles/Islands, the NW European archipelago, Islands of the North Atlantic (IONA), Anglo-Celtic Isles – or whatever you’re having yourself) it’s a hugely entertaining romp (YES, ‘romp˚’ – we’ll never get to use these words again so bear with us) set in a period of great change in this still Barbaric corner of Europe. The book describes a journey to Cornwall, through Wales, Ireland and Britain in the sixth century. Told through the eyes of Greek visitors, it’s written as a survival guide and educational glimpse of life in brutal times. The tradition of nipple-sucking to ensure safe passage under the ‘motherly’ guardianship of a local Tuath, and the ‘obscene’ act with a white mare as part of the coronation ritual (a little recounted ancient Irish ritual) are brilliantly evoked. We’re not calling for the reintroduction of these rites but Irish corporate culture would be greatly enriched by some of these so-called barbaric practices – at the very least meetings would be more entertaining (if a little less comfortable).
We also strongly recommend Pete Brown’s books (Man walks into a Pub and Three Sheets to the Wind – the latter of which features Billy and Dec at their most ebullient˚), and Julian Gough’s Jude Part 1, recently published, with the continuing story available online free.
˚We sincerely apologise for the use of these words and assure you that we will never, ever use them again – but we’ve been writing archaeological reports and ecological assessments and other scientific and technical things for years now and couldn’t resist it.
Here’s some pretty pictures of this years Crinniú na mBád by way of an apology.
And here’s the YouTube video posted by BigYes of the Great Beer Experiment