AS a well established writer, former Wigan resident Stuart Maconie is well equipped to give his verdict on a book about his home town.
Stuart, author of Pies and Prejudice and Cider With Rosies, gave an in-depth review of Stephen Armstrong’s The Road to Wigan Pier Revisited, in The Guardian.
As Stephen returned to Wigan to see how the town had progressed since George Orwell’s satirical tribute 75 years ago, Stuart gives his take on the industrial revolution.
He wrote: “There has always been an understandable if deluded reluctance among some Wiganers fully to appreciate Orwell’s good intentions.
“When the pier area was redeveloped in the 1980s, the naming of a new pub as The Orwell met with much opposition. George Formby was the dedicatee preferred by many.
“A certain amount of this attitude remains. In among the harrowing tales of abuse, exploitation and general misery recounted in the book, you find folk such as Bob: “Wigan’s alright … there’s lots of people here who don’t like the cloth caps and whippet image Orwell’s book gave us. The town’s not that bad – all the two ups and two downs have gone, the air’s clean. It’s alright … I mean, it’s getting worse.”
“Like Orwell, Armstrong’s heart is clearly in the right place. Armstrong’s call is, according to the blurb, “a wake-up call to the nation”.
Stuart also gave his views on the viral YouTube hits footage of a hundred youths rampaging through a McDonald’s outlet in Wigan town centre, calling it “grim viewing.”