The much loved Scots actor Bill Paterson was brought up in those halcyon days of post-war Britain when a child could still play happily - and safely - in his own back green and the streets beyond. Now, in Tales from the Back Green, he evokes his boyhood and youth in Glasgow's East End during the 1950s, which was full of intriguing characters and extraordinary events.
Always eager to push the boundaries of what they were allowed to do, Bill and his mates construct a giant dust "atomic" bomb, try to hold their own World Cup tournament, and play endlessly on wasteland that's now unrecognizable compared with the exciting jungle of his childhood.
Tales from the Back Green is a brilliant realisation of a time and a place, read by the author.
This book of reminiscences was simply not compelling enough. While mildly amusing and scattered with droll details about Glasgow's urban underbelly, this is a book that would be of most interest to Bill's old chums and family. Listening to it was kinda like trying to feign interest in a thick photo album of people you don't know and don't care about, though they are standing in a somewhat appealing landscape. He might have been better served to spend more time on portraits of his neighbors, rather than his own boyish exploits. The people were too sketchily drawn, but still the most engaging bits in his tales.
Usually I am a total patsy for a Scottish accent (or Irish brogue, or even, saints preserve us, an English accent), but his Caledonian cadences were just not enough to bring life to his mundane tales.