Oh! I Do Like


“I’ve often wondered if there is really such a need to travel hours at huge cost and stress when you can travel a few miles to your nearest seaside town. When you’re having a break, it doesn’t matter how close or far away you are from your everyday life. The important part is the unwinding. You don’t have to go to the other side of the world to do that.”

I was introduced to the work of John Osborne on Christmas Day 2011.

Whilst the rest of the family were engaged elsewhere in the house I listened to the radio version of his one man show – John Peel’s Shed, and it was one of the loveliest things I’d heard for an age.

In the, what I assume (probably wrongly), abridged version of John’s show he tells of his success in winning a competition on John Peel’s Radio 1 show and how radio has affected his life. It’s a sweetly poetic homage to the joys of radio and how the world of the wireless saved John from a life where Mike Baldwin was a role model because, “He’d go to the bar, he’d order a scotch, he’d pay the barmaid with a fiver and tell her she could keep the change. To me that was the epitome of success”.

Since then I’ve made sure I’ve gathered together a collection of John’s available work and this now includes his new book Don’t Need The Sunshine (from which the extract above is taken).

In essence Don’t Need The Sunshine is a celebration of the British seaside and as such it’s a hugely enjoyable read, especially if like me, you do like to be beside said seaside.

However it’s about so much more than that – it’s as much about the people that make the places than the places themselves – about the Beachy Head Chaplaincy Team, Donald McGill and his saucy postcards, Gerry the archivist of The Association of Lighthouse Keepers, a certain Mr Punch and John’s dad and his memories of a pillbox in North Wales.

So whilst John perhaps didn’t have the “funds or inclination for two weeks in the sun” he did find the romance in Cleethorpes, which to my mind is reason enough to buy a copy of his book.

Don’t Need The Sunshine is of course now available from all good bookshops and one enormous one which we’d all do best to avoid eh? After all there are plenty of independent bookshops that would much prefer your trade.

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