In my second book No Joe Bloggs I tried to give you a warts and all account of my childhood, my upbringing, my family, grandparents and everything that made me tick. It was about Ilford, Essex, the lovely suburb where I grew up, London, the West End, East End and the world.
But now here is my third book. Joe's Jolly Japes is very much my personal take on the people, places and events that remain deeply enshrined in the English culture. It begins with a long and detailed account of the sport that essentially defines men and manliness. Football, and all its varied narrative, drama and controversy, is very much the Beautiful Game.
Joe's Jolly Japes is about football, Harry Redknapp, the England football team in recent history, World Cup performances, both abysmal and disastrous, triumphant and classically victorious. There are the England managers, the players who annoyed, pleased and occasionally irritated us. Now I know you've probably read it all before but this is my slant, my humorous perspective on what went right and wrong with the England team.
In the second half of the book I talk about the quintessentially English cultural institutions. There's the Chelsea Flower Show, Polo played by the middle and upper classes on the playing fields of England, the Henley Regatta, the great John Arlott, the even greater Alan Bennett, a glorious observer of the cosy social niceties, David Bowie, Cliff Richard, some short but I think sweet stories about two retired gentlemen recalling their past, West End department stores in all of their grandeur and what England does on a Sunday morning. Here I think I've painted a pretty picture of life in all its rich tapestry.