Review Reviews by Sassy Brit

394. Alternative READ: Fast ~ Portobello Books ~ Kevin Jackson; Photographs by Richard Heeps ~ Reviewed by Sassy

Title: Fast; feasting on the streets of London
Author: Text by Kevin Jackson, photographs by Richard Heeps
Publisher: Portobello Books
Website of Publisher: www.portobellobooks.com
Genre: Non-Fiction / Photography / Food
Publication date: 2006
ISBN: 1846270294
Length: 144 pages with 50 colour photos
Format: Paperback

fast ~ Feasting Streets London ~ Portobello Books

America had Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Burger King; we had Cliff Richard, Tommy Steele and the Wimpy.

And that just about sums up the theme of this book, and what us unfortunate Britons had (and in some cases still have) to put up with, by the way of fast food joints, that is. I’m going to leave Cliff Richard out of this, as his 65th birthday has been and gone and we don’t want any sudden mishaps. To make up for it, I could burst into tune with Mr Steele’s ‘Half a Sixpence’ song, but then, apart from being just as dangerous, that would be admitting I watched that sort of crap, and even worse, I’m that old!

And boy, did parts of this book make me feel old. I found myself feeling very nostalgic towards the disappearance of the Wimpy, only to be told by Mr Jackson, they are still around, “you just don’t notice them so much”. True. True. Mr Jackson also blatantly points out the frightening fact that we are OLD enough to remember when grease ridden food was not a sin to eat and actually preferred, in comparison to their low-fibre, healthier options of their competitors. I mean, who’s heard of Prousts anyway? I don’t even know if I spelt that right.

I love the personal comments these chaps made; Richard’s take on photographing sushi — ‘It’s an absolute bas!ard to photograph adequately’, and Kevin’s portrayal of his interviewees as ‘willing victims’.

What I really enjoyed, however, were hearing the tales from people they met; traders, shop owners, lunchers etc. It’s amazing, (when confronted with two men, a notepad and a camera), how much people will let rip; unless, of course, you happen to be the customers and workers from Pizza Hut, McDonalds, KFC in the Piccadilly Circus area. You resistant camera shy little fellows, you know who you are.

Spookily enough, I wondered if the Travolta/Samuel L Jackson* world famous fast-food-in-Europe dialogue from Pulp Fiction would be mentioned. Even spookier is this particular article shares the same page as the possible illegal immigrants and dole fiddlers of a well known area in London, named after a circus. I must be psychic.

Together, Kevin Jackson and Richard Heeps capture the mood, atmosphere and sometimes the history of London’s fast food and their outlets, with an interesting and original slant. You just could not make up the pleasant (and not so pleasant) staff and customer responses to being interviewed or photographed by the devilish (and highly engaging) duo! The hungry pair, who, as far as I can see, are mooching around the food halls, and streets of London, taking full advantage of free meals and taking photo’s of pretty girls! Okay, that’s not quite true, there are a lot of artistic photos of food in this book, to tempt to you to suddenly dine out – the fast food way. Avoiding certain areas, of course, and those foods which were b@stards.

This is a great book for foodie fans. As you can tell, I found it a feast for the eyes in more ways than one. Hey, would you like to come and meet me and sample some of my wares?

*No relation – I’m sure Kevin would have said when he’s not busy eating.

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