The North remembers…
In fairness to Stuart Maconie, writing a sprawling compendium of the North from the point of view of a staunch Lancastrian was never going to please everybody. As a Yorkshireman and native of Doncaster, I was initially annoyed by my home town barely receiving a mention in Pies and Prejudice, as well as Maconie’s soft spot for horrible football team Leeds United. On reflection though, Maconie mostly does a good job in his search for the North of England.
Maconie speaks passionately and articulately about a subject that is clearly close to his heart as he continually muses on what it is to be Northern as well as offering a kind of travel guide through the major landmarks of Northern England… and Rotherham.
Stuart Maconie tends to view everything through a lens of football, food and music and while some may find this reductive, I would question what else really matters outside of those vital parameters, especially in the beautiful North.
The former NME writer clearly struggles to reconcile his misty eyed nostalgia for his Lancashire up bringing to his current incarnation as a successful, middle class broadcaster and whilst this conflict is never really cleared up, it does make for a compelling and unique narrative.
Despite his scandalous exclusion of Doncaster, Pies and Prejudice is a pretty comprehensive view of the North of England taking in everything from the glorious beauty of the Lake District through to the garish nightmare that is Blackpool.
By time Maconie reaches Newcastle towards the end of the book, he appears to have ran out of steam but Pies and Prejudice is an endearing, funny and painfully accurate representation of the North of England.