Bill Allerton Reads...The Train and Other Tracks
When they want "mesmerising by the public anarchist" Sheffield audiences enjoy listening to Bill Allerton, and this compilation of recordings on CD, some from local BBC radio, shows why. Bill's material is written to be read aloud, and he has developed a popular repertoire with the pieces features here such as Fishing, Bomber's Moon, Annie, 'Tick Tock' said the Penguin, and The Comer. Why is it called a comer? You'll have to listen to find out...
Bill's reading and the rich quality of the writing stand being heard again and again, even without the few sound effects added here to give appropriate colour. His comfortable and familiar Yorkshire tones beguile you into thinking this is a cosy fireside selection of tales - but while there's a lot of humour here, there are also hard issues.
Opening with The Train - a tale of the first world war, Bill proceeds to lead us up and down the landscape of human emotions. It's a ride which is always entertaining, often taking strange and unexpected corners over mantelpieces or up the Amazon, or turning up familiar domestic items which become objects of mystery and cast potency, and never far from the poetic even where it's prose. Annie, an extended poem, deals with the human aftermath of a burglary, and when you hear the Wellsian beginning of Vox Humana you know that Connie was very ill advised to pull that stick out of the water and put it to his lips. If you want to find out "how many 'f's there are in bugger" get a copy. You'll not be disappointed...if you're quick.
Nick Pollard, Federation Magazine, No 22