Bogey Fogey

AN Wilson

The Young Fogey Handbook

Suzanne Lowry Javelin Books 96 pp £3 .95

PuBLISH ERS -are tr emendous copycats; and in effectual copycats at that. Someone scores a hit with Watership Down and, for a few years, yo u can't get near th e children's bookshop without wading through imitativ e rabbit-sagas . Someone else hits the jackpot with The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady and every Christmas si nce, our aunts and gran dmothers have been bombarded with dull pi cture books of ye rural life in ye o ld en days, or recipes for green tomato chutney written by ladynovelists living in commuter-dormitories . Likewise, two clever journalists with a keen eye and a strong sense of humour delighted th e nation three years ago with The Official Sloane Ranger Handbo ok which was th e most perfect latrinal readin g sin ce th e death of Stephen Potter. N eedl ess to say, a lesse r breed sp rang up , hopin g to cash in on the Sloane Band-Wagon (o r Range-Rover), each coyer or thinner than th e last. I thought we had reach ed rock bottom with the handbook for 'Foodies' (the very word is off-putting), but just to prove me wrong, a group of talentless hackettes headed by one Suzanne Lowry have sunk to e'{en lower depths.

T he success of the S loane Ranger book, in case Lowry and co hadn't noticed , was based on the fact that it described an actual and id entifiable group of people. Whether this crowd ex ists is not really open to qu es tion. But at least, if we were bold enough to question it, Ann Barr and Peter York cleverly avoid naming names. Instead they invented a perfect and archetypally Sloane pair , Henry and Caroline, and managed to plot for us every detail of th eir

A N Wilson as pictured in theYoung Fogey Handbook 'J keep being named as the exception which proves their own rath er blunderingly formulated ru les .'

JULY 1985