Today being a day off, I was in central Cambridge, and as I do in central Cambridge, I went by David’s to browse among the cheap books on the outside shelves. While doing so, I picked up what appeared to be an excavation report / local history on a small English village. I loves me some local history, so I leafed through it and found it was only 50p. Sold! This was the book:
Now, at this point, to paraphrase Denis Leary, some people laugh and some people need a fuckin’ explanation. I was in the latter camp, because I have never listened to an episode of The Archers, so it was not until I actually read the introduction and realised that the county this village is in doesn’t exist that I went “hang on…”. Ambridge, for my less British readers, is the fictional village where the aforementioned radio serial (yeah, we still have radio drama over here) takes place.
The thing is, this book is fantastic. The only thing that lets it down is that the quotes on the back cover are from Woman’s Own and so on rather than History Today. Seems like an oversight to me. Because look at this thing!
It is note-perfect. Working, as I did, on a piece of British archaeology associated in many cases with churches that are still around, I have read dozens of local history/archaeology books and this is exactly what they look and sound like. It looks like it was published by the CBA. It looks like it should be on sale in the gift shop of a museum with three rooms.
Why did nobody tell me about this?! I’m giving presentations about how Lovecraft fans have this weird habit of building archaeological artefacts to sort of reify Lovecraftian mythology and they, as a community, are being made to look like pikers by The Archers? The fucking Archers? My mind is blowing here.
It’s just so perfect. If this thing had been about R’lyeh it would have been the bible of my young life, but it’s about Ambridge so I had never heard of it until it fell on me like a ton of bricks.
I think I need to go have a think about some things. I think I need to go lie down.
I was just thinking that I don’t have enough podcasts to listen to while I write … I like art and history and words and … and … I’m going to have to start listening to Radio 4, amn’t I?