Thursday, June 16, 2005

Urban Grimshaw & The Shed Crew - Bernad Hare

If literary fiction is a polite dinner party, with clever people – elegant, interesting, well worded, amusing and nothing like you expected when you arrived – then reading Urban Grimshaw and The Shed Crew is a foursome with two Estonian prostitutes and an anatomically correct giraffe puppet, on a stolen boat in Martinique: it is rough, exhausting, slightly sickening, exhilarating, you will feel soiled – until Urban loses his virginity, then you’ll just be envious – you may or may not want to go back for more, but you certainly won’t regret it.
Oh, and no imagining – this story happened!
We were polarised. Only I liked it unequivocally, and that is because I read it with an air of detachment – like watching a documentary as you would watch an Arnie movie. The others found it hard going, and some questioned Bernard Hare’s motivations for, first, being in the crew, then for writing about it.
We all wanted a Hollywood ending – but what we got was Brentwood: the kids (now adults) are no better off, and they all attended the book launch in Leeds, except Urban, because he is in jail again.
Personally, I loved Urban Grimshaw and The Shed Crew for its sheer escapist energy. And it has given me pause for thought, rather than retribution when Notting Hill’s Shed Crew keeps tried to steal both my motorbike and pushbike on the same night.

Who: Bernard Hare
What: Urban Grimshaw and The Shed Crew
Who by: Sceptre
When: June 2005
Where: London
Why: It will open your eyes
Why not: Sometimes it hurts when your eyes are forced open


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