Our regular correspondent Ken Gambles goes off-piste to get poetry, football and Leeds United into the same story. Already mystified? Wondering what might rhyme with Dirty Leeds? Let Ken take up the story …
The headline sounds impossible so I’ll explain. My ex-colleague and friend of more than 30 years, Graeme Garvey, became a member of the Leeds Football Writers’ Group, one outcome of which was the formation of a small publishing company, PDG Books, along with his fellow member Paul Birch.
They published a well-received Leeds United anthology called Doolally and, following its success, I was asked if I would like to edit an improved Sunderland version and hence the birth in 2005 of Black Catalogue (free copies are available; can you tell us how – Ed?)).
Another of Graeme’s contacts from the group was Paul Hatt, a Fulham supporter, who went on to set up his own website www.footballbookreviews.com (of which more later).
Graeme writes reviews for the site and asked if I would be willing to help. Fees were the same as writing for Salut! Sunderland (ie zilch; but only on good days – Ed) so how could I refuse?
I was given Arsenal and Other Poems by Mark Hamilton, which I admit didn’t hold much initial promise but turned out to be a very good collection of poems with far more general appeal than the title suggested.
As an aside, Sunderland’s 2-0 victory over the Gunners in the FA Cup 5th Round in 2012 helped to prompt one of the offerings in which the author pleads for “a shaft of metaphorical light”. We know the feeling. I have only become aware of the site the past month or so but it is well worth a look. I’ll let Paul explain in more depth.
The site aims to provide an arena for football in its various written forms but in terms of book reviews we hope to give the visitor an opportunity to discover recently reviewed books plus a back catalogue of other titles with the ability for the reader to order directly from the site.
There is a team of regular writers and I suppose one of the main premisses is that books we review are not the run-of-the-mill biogs of Premier League players but cover areas and topics that might not normally receive much exposure.
My hope is that visitors to the site will continue to come to us as the reviews are honest and constructive and therefore can be a trusted guide.
Do try to take a look as the site is easy to explore with a range of interesting features.