Last week, I posted about 'trendy' fishing site
'Caught By The River'.
I also mentioned that I had purchased their eponymously titled and newly released book. I was quite excited about reading the book as it had received plenty of good reviews, so I shelled out for the pretty hardback version. I managed to plow through 3/4 of it yesterday evening and I must say it left me feeling distinctly underwhelmed.
The writers who had contributed were of wildly varying standard, many of the music journalists involved were very poor indeed. The book would have benefitted from being half the length - and it contains plenty of spelling mistakes, and such non-sequiteurs as:
"the silver fish was made of a material far more valuable than gold"
The subject matter was intensely repetitive, and in most cases pretty mundane. The vast majority of the stories had little to do with fishing, and instead tried to evoke childhood memories of playing near water, and how wonderful and warm and protected it feels to be standing next to their big strong daddies. The effect over hundreds of pages of sub-par writing is numbing to say the least, in fact I can't think of another book I've read that could be more easily described as
'literary cotton wool'.
It's the trendy urban 30-something equivalent of 'Heartbeat' on Sunday night TV, replacing the early sixties with the early 80's, with a few right-on Guardianista mentions of Maggie T and the miner's strike thrown in for good measure - (Is there any book in Britain based on the 1980's that doesn't build it's premise around the backdrop of the miner's strike? Its almost as if nothing else happened in the whole decade, and that every single writer in the country grew up in a struggling Northern mining town)
This pretty yet empty tome yet again confirmed to me the infantilization taking place in the western world right now amongst people of my age. The book's aim is to sell you a childlike, warm, unthreatening womb-like existence of sunny days and strong, wise fathers.
They are peddling a myth, a lifestyle that never really existed in the first place. It targets a particular type of urban man in exactly the same way that 'homemaking' magazines target urban women with endless images of happy mothers baking pink sugary cupcakes with their daughters in their perfect country kitchens.
- much like fishing, reading this book is something to be undertaken with one's brain in neutral.
Perhaps I'm not the target market, and I should be thankful that at least some people of my age show an interest in the natural world and in a life that doesn't just revolve around money, iphones or celebrities. But this book still revolves around trends, and I'm not sure I need to be sold this new-fangled trend of 'fishing' - it's like the new chill-out, man.