Browser review: Parkinson on the ‘sublime’ George Best

A trio of writers bring us Ready for Her Close-Up – pen portraits of the Irish condition

Broadcaster and author Michael Parkinson  revisits a subject close to his heart in this memoir – that mesmeric footballer, the beautiful George Best. Photograph: William H Alden/Getty

Broadcaster and author Michael Parkinson revisits a subject close to his heart in this memoir – that mesmeric footballer, the beautiful George Best. Photograph: William H Alden/Getty

 

George Best: A Memoir

Michael Parkinson
Hodder & Stoughton, £20
George Best was the greatest player Michael Parkinson has ever seen, “sublime and unstoppable”; he brought glamour to soccer as “the fifth Beatle” and “the Pied Piper of sixties Britain”. The central theme of this lively, personal and poignant memoir is where and why it all went wrong for Best – giving up playing for Manchester United at only 27 and drinking himself to death.

“The ultimate irony of [his] career was that although his gifts and looks made him the perfect product for his time, and he was exploited as such, no one thought how to protect him.”

He had no self-pity, blamed no one but himself and didn’t want to be saved. He wasn’t given to introspection but Parkinson believes “there was within him a profound melancholy”. This memoir combines Parkinson’s thoughts about Best’s life with excerpts from TV interviews with him and others, as well as revisiting relevant parts of his 1975 biography of Best. But why he chose the path of self-destruction is perhaps unanswerable in the end. – Brian Maye

Ann Devine: Ready for Her Close-Up

Colm O’Regan
Transworld Ireland €14.99
“Where would I get keifir around here? [ . . . ]We’ve heifers, but no keifir.” Welcome to Kilsudgeon, a rural village teeming with vivid and humorous characters. There’s the (potentially) corrupt TD, Patsy Duggan, the feminist young “wan”, Freya, the American capitalist, Oona and the vice-chairwoman of the Tidy Towns committee and eponymous Irish Mammie, Ann Devine.

But what is a mother to do when all her children have grown up and left home? The answer is to join the Tidy Towns committee and star in a viral YouTube video, according to Mrs Devine. However, when a Hollywood film crew descend on Kilsudgeon to record a TV series called The Celts, the locals have a hard time adjusting to their “notions” and, meanwhile, Ann becomes entangled in a land dispute over a fairy fort.

Beneath the hilarious one-liners and the cringe-worthy descriptions of us Irish, this book captures something warm and wholesome – like eating a Cadbury’s chocolate bar when you live abroad. It feels indulgent and reminds the reader of home. Prepare to laugh and grimace at the antics of the Irish Mammie.
– Mia O’Halloran

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.