Friday, 30 November 2012

Live on Drive-Time

Five minutes of fame for my book The Joy of Essex on Radio 5 Drive-Time on Monday live from the cafe at the Basildon Sporting Village. Peter Moore, who started out working on the Basildon Echo was amused by my billing as an Essexologist and managed to cover Bas Vegas, the Basilwood sign, Tiptree jam, West Ham and moire in my slot. Click on the link to listen, it's 2 hours 20 minutes in. Sporting Village looked well-used to judge by the packed car park and the rock-climbers in reception and Five Live also interviewed Olympian gymnast Max Whitlock on the show.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Big in Bas Vegas!

Thanks to all the good citizens of Basildon who have bought The Joy of Essex. It's flying off the shelves at Basildon Waterstones and has sold 60 copies in the last couple of weeks. "We do have a sense of humour about ourselves in Basildon," says the man behind the counter. And it's even on display nestling next to the Essex Joke
Book, The Little Book of West Ham and London Taxi Driver Rhyming Slang...

Friday, 23 November 2012

The worst free kick ever from Chelmsford City!

Sympathy to Chelmsford City midfielder Sam Corcoran. The worst free kick ever taken in the history of football has gone viral on YouTube and to make it worse Hayes and Yeading go straight down the pitch and score. Doh!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Essex trivia #5 The Peasants' Revolt started in Brentwood

The notice board by the Thomas 'a Becket chapel in Brentwood High Streert reveals that Brentwood was the birthplace of the peasants' revolt of 1381. Rebellious Essex Men reacted to an over-zealous poll tax collector by giving him a slap. The revolt spread to Kent, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Norfolk. Perhaps angered by high taxes on beauty salons, Kentish geezer Wat Tyler and his Essex mates proceeded to London with the medieval equivalent of West Ham’s Inter City Firm and smashed up Jack Straw's Castle. Though that's not the Jack Straw who went to Brentwood school...

All facts are from Pete May's new book The Joy of Essex (Robson Press).

Monday, 19 November 2012

Essex trivia #4 Marmalade Murders at Tiptree

“We had Midsomer Murders filming here a few years ago,” remembers the Wilkin & Son factory production manager Mike Smith. “The chap was crushed by what was meant to be a pallet of pickle, though it was really tawny marmalade.” Crushed by a conserve — a very British murder indeed.

All facts are from Pete May's new book The Joy of Essex (Robson Press).

Friday, 16 November 2012

Loved-up in Loughton

Loughton women are the flirtiest in Britain, according to a survey from Badoo, the social networking site for meeting people. Women in Loughton are more likely to respond to male messages than women anywhere else in Europe, it seems. Perhaps they like Theydon Bois. Almost inevitably this resulted in a headline in the Daily Star of "The Only Lay is Essex" and "The Only Way is Web Fllirting" in the Daily MirrorWhile Ilford is also in the flirting top ten at joint eighth place. Bottom of the league is dour old Manchester. What could it be about Loughton that inspires female/male online interaction? Well, there’s plenty of opportunity for hot dates in nearby Epping Forest where couples might like to stroll by the iron age fort of Loughton Camp, followed by a romantic dinner at Sheesh in nearby Chigwell, the Turkish restaurant with the largest mirror in Essex. As Bogart might put it: "I guess we'll always have Loughton…"

Out to launch with Joy of Essex

Thanks to all who attended the London launch of The Joy of Essex at the Wenlock and Essex in Essex Road, N1. (Essex launch to come once I can pass the dress code at Sugar Hut.) At the risk of sounding like Piers Morgan, here's me with a couple of local luminaries, writer Meg Rosoff on the left and Hattie Hayridge from Red Dwarf. Thanks to Nick Clee of Bookbrunch for the pic. Reem!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

BBC Essex interview on The Joy of Essex

To hear The Joy of Essex and other great matters of Essexology debated on BBC Essex with Etholle George, click on the link. It's about 40 minutes in…

Monday, 12 November 2012

Weirdness in Chelmsford

Nice caption above The Joy of Essex in Chelmsford Waterstones. Her Indoors says funny weird... Saw the books while on BBC Essex with Etholle George and we had a good ten minute natter about Essexology, Bas Vegas, Tiptree jam, Essex humour and much more.

Essex trivia #3 Paul Simon wrote Homeward Bound about returning to Brentwood

Paul Simon penned Homeward Bound in either Ditton or Halebank stations in Widnes, while waiting for a train back to Brentwood, where he was living with his girlfriend. Yes, it was Brentwood that made him get all poetic.
He made his UK debut at the Railway Inn Folk Club in Brentwood in 1964 and met Kathy Chitty there, the inspiration for Kathy’s Song and America. She was a 17-year-old Essex girl on the door selling tickets to men in cord jackets. They dated for two years until Paul returned to the US. Kathy now lives in Wales and maintains a diplomatic sound of silence on all Simon-related subjects. Although we can picture her as a slightly folksier version of Amy Childs. 

All facts are from Pete May's new book The Joy of Essex (Robson Press).

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Essex trivia #2 Charles Dickens drank at Sheesh in Chigwell

Sheesh, the Turkish restaurant in Chigwell frequented by Towie's Mark Wright and other luminaries was once Charles Dockens' favourite pub. It was formerly the Olde Kings Head, built in 1547. Dickens used it as the basis for the Maypole Inn on in Barnaby Rudge. In one of his letters, Dickens described it as, “the greatest place in the world...Such a delicious old inn opposite the church...such beautiful forest scenery... such an out of the way rural place!” It now has zebra-patterened carpets and the largest mirror in Essex. What larks!

All facts are from Pete May's new book The Joy of Essex (Robson Press).

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Essex trivia #1 Billericay means place of tanning!

As for the name Billericay, the town was considered part of Great Burstead in the Domesday Book. The first mention of ‘Byllyrica’ was recorded in 1291. It’s believed to be derived from Medieval Latin, beller ca, which translates as dyehouse or tanhouse. Yes, even back then, the residents were into tanning!

All facts are from Pete May's new book The Joy of Essex (Robson Press).

Friday, 2 November 2012

Book signing at Newham Bookshop

If anyone has a spare moment between the pub and Ken's Cafe. I'm doing a book signing at the brilliant Newham Bookshop at 745-747 Barking Road, E13, from 3.30pm before the West Ham game against Manchester City on Saturday. I'll be signing The Joy of Essex, which features lashings of Tiptree jam, sunshine on Leigh with Phill Jupitus, a visit to Minnies boutique, Paul Simon wishing he was Homeward Bound for, erm, Brentwood, the largest mirror in Essex, Dr Feelgood, Grayson Perry's Chelmsford Sissies, Ian Dury, Tilbury Fort, the not-so-secret nuclear bunker, bluebells and Dickies in Billericay, scaling the Basildon sign on the A127, paranormal happenings and dodgy alleyways in Romford, Bas Vegas, Boudica going mental in Colchester, the only pub in Frinton, pier pressure in Southend, northern lights in Maldon, Stanford-no-Hope, sculpture in Harlow, Dickens channelled by Alan Sugar and Towie in Chigwell, the Essex Lion and lots of chip shops. Look back in Ongar and wonder if the only way is Upminster…