One of TenMartin Chandler |
Author: Wolstenholme, Gerry
Publisher: Red Rose Books
Rating: 3.5 stars
Now this one is, I accept, a bit niche but, for some of us, it is a fascinating insight to the workings of the mind of the cricket writer/researcher.
We have reviewed a trio of Gerry Wolstenholme’s books in the past, here, here and here, and three more diverse titles it would be difficult to find. That conceded much of Gerry’s writing in fact relates to matters Lancastrian, and as often as not centred around his home town of Blackpool. Having spent all my own formative years living just a few miles from the Red Rose’s premier seaside resort his work has always therefore been of particular interest.
In One of Ten Gerry has chosen to write something of himself, which represents an interesting introduction, but the main point of the book is to look at a small scale publishing phenomenon that he has created over the last decade or so. Over that time Gerry has, to date, produced a total of 69 monographs, uniformly produced on A4 paper, signed numbered and contained in plastic wallets and limited to just ten copies of each.
The subjects covered in the monographs are varied. Most concern cricketing subjects, but football and rugby put in appearances as well. A few have no connection with sport at all, examples of which are those concerned with visits to Blackpool by Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward and Harry Houdini.
The cricketing subjects are about as varied as it is possible to get. The series begins with an account of a modern club fixture in the form of a poem, in the style of those that represent the very oldest cricket literature that we have. There are digressions on items of memorabilia, accounts of cricket matches at all levels from schools matches to the occasional Test, and some with what is essentially biographical content. The shortest of the monographs is but a single page, and the longest twenty pages.
Some famous names get in, Sir Donald Bradman for one, who features twice. The Don is the subject of an account of each of Lancashire’s two matches against his 1948 Invincibles, although in neither is he in the starring role. The August match was for Cyril Washbrook’s benefit, and in that one Bradman scored a century. The earlier fixture in the May features for an entirely different reason, the 19 year old Lancashire slow left arm bowler Malcolm Hilton, playing in just his third First Class match, dismissing the great man twice.
By their nature these monographs are not easy to obtain, and indeed I have only ever seen them available from Red Rose Books, and then on eBay auctions. Over the years prices have crept up, and the cricketing monographs (I will confess to not following the others too closely) now generally go comfortably beyond £60 a figure which, I suspect, probably surprises the author.
So part of One of Ten contains a listing of the 69 monographs, but the book’s main purpose is to enable Gerry to explain to collectors of his work just why each of them came to be written, and it has to be said that each of those stories adds something to the monographs themselves, so much so that I have ended up rather regretting not having taken the opportunity to bid rather more often than I did.
But you can’t win them all, and with just ten copies of each around many will not have won any so, there is inevitably going to be a limited market for One of Ten. Naturally the book appears in a limited edition, although this time there are 35 copies to go round. Entirely appropriately ten of those are hardbacks with 25 paperbacks. Some of the paperbacks may still be available (I know the hardbacks have all been sold) and if that is of interest, a snip at a tenner including UK postage, it would be wise to take a look at the Red Rose Books website sooner rather than later.