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Blue Collar

by Danny King

It's a manual job, bricklaying. It gives a bricky time to think. And Terry thinks. He arrives at conclusions, argues with himself, analyses attitudes. His girlfriend, Charley (Charlotte to her Daddy), says she knows psychologists who don't do half the head-churning he does. He talks to his mates on the site, of course, but that's different: they're his mates. They go for a pint Friday night, perhaps an Indian or Chinese, see each other day after day, year in year out, in all weathers. But Terry never talks to Charley about how he feels. He jokes, of course, they both do. They share childhood memories and compare notes on families. But Terry would die rather than mention that he worships the ground her Guccis have trod. And Charley? Well, she's cool. She's middle class, after all. She doesn't ooze adoration, or brim with emotion; she's not Miss Marvellous or Superwoman. She knows what to wear, but not how to hang it up. She knows about posh food, but not how to cook it; she knows how to love, but not how to say it. From the moment they wake up in bed together and introduce themselves to one another they are in love. But neither of them knows how to give out such sensitive information: it has to be half-inched, leaked and lifted from the telly.

Danny King's humour is subtle, unPC, and I don't pretend to understand a few of his one-liners, although I expect the penny will drop unexpecredly as I think about and remember the book. I shall never again see a crack-arse bricky in quite the same light. And this novel is an education. For instance, just look at the Leaning Tower of Pisa: if the subby on that job hadn't shown up with a busted theodolite we would never have heard of Pisa. Not many people know that. And there is a new religion called Shittabric, and the prayers begin 'Christ Mite'; the language is Texted, and goes something like 'wnt 2 cm ^ + hv drx in isl @ 7? :-)'

gd bls U 2 dny kng

Review by the Downs Bookgroup


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