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View from the Bridge

Back to the Bridge

A Bridge Too Far

View from the Bridge

WELCOME TO MILLTOWN:

a little sump in cyberspace dedicated to mordant humour. Written by John Morrison and hosted by the Hebden Bridge Web. Episodes 1 to 98, first posted here in the 1990s, have became a trio of books: first View From the Bridge, then Back to the Bridge and A Bridge Too Far. The weekly episodes, chronicling life in a small Pennine milltown, have long come to an end, but every single episode can still be read here.

THE BOOKS THEY WANTED TO BAN

…One of the finest humorists around… - Glyn Hughes.

They're working a three-day week down at the laughter factory. So if you could use a few laughs, bookmark this page and call back again. Watch out for new comedy appearing here, very soon…

ORDER THE BOOKS!

Local publishers Pennine Pens
beat all records with a runaway local hit

The Book Case

WHAT THEY SAY

You might recall (Simon Armitage's) recent book about life in the north of England… Well that pales in comparison with John Morrison’s A Bridge Too Far.

Hebden Bridge's most fervoured son writes not so much with an acid pen as a vinegar-loaded felt tip about the history of 'Milltown', the peregrinations of Bill Clinton's semen, and the thin fictitious characters established in his two earlier books. This is his tightest performance to date and can be relied up for a laugh-a-chapter. I particularly liked the dedication to 'Bernard Ingham's neighbours', and the 'eco discc jockey Alan Ginseng with his CD 'Now That's What I Call Whale Music'.

Artscene

It warms my heart to be advised by John Morrison about neighbourly relations. His contribution to good neighbourliness, as an offcumden, is to take a regular condescending look at the Pennine folk in whose midst he lives along with what he describes as his kind of people, including ne'er-do-wells, new-age therapists, lovers, loners and losers. And if it is necessary, as he suggests, to move towards Sodom and Gomorrah in order to move on, then I am delighted to be regarded as immobile, a stick-in-the-mud, outdated, old fashioned and not with it.

St Bernard Ingham, Hebden Bridge Times

I'm not giving publicity to someone who slags me off. He can go hang. (Sheila Tordoff, editor of the Hebden Bridge Times).

I rather think Hebden Bridge is going to have a good laugh at itself. (Sir Bernard Ingham).

Better than Tolstoy… (Vic Allen, Artscene).

…A warm welcome back to all our old favourites from Milltown - Peak & Pennine magazine

Writer John Morrison has enraged locals in his home town of Hebden Bridge by penning…a tale of its ‘alternative culture’.
(Manchester Evening News)

The local weekly and evening newspapers have banned any reference to the book, after the weekly paper was ridiculed with headlines BUS ROUTE STAYS THE SAME and MILLTOWN MAN CREOSOTES SHED. (Yorkshire Evening Post)

THE MILLTOWN TRILOGY offers a mordant view of a small Pennine town (of a similar size, ambience and map reference as Hebden Bridge) and its idiosyncratic population. When this little old milltown went into serious decline, it soon filled up again with an intriguingly diverse cast of 'off-cumdens'. Artists, writers, new-age therapists, lovers, loners and losers: people who've mulled over life's great questions and who must now admit that, no, they still don't know the way to San José.

There's Willow Woman: inhabiting a world that shares a common border with Fantasia and Never-Never Land. Wounded Man: not gay, exactly, but happy to pitch in if they were ever short-handed. Town Drunk: intoxicated stalwart of the Grievous Bodily Arms, the naffest pub this side of the Crab Nebula. Dope Dealer: attempting to go upmarket by styling himself as a Substance Abuse Negotiator. Arthur and Martha Fustian: they look like everybody's grandparents and, given the relaxed sexual attitudes that prevailed during the 1970s, who's to say they aren't? Yes, love may indeed make the world go round... but it's lust that lubricates the moving parts.

Having appeared, weekly, on the Internet, the episodes built up, Marshall-Cavendish style, into a trio of books published by Pennine Pens: everything you ever wanted to know about life, love and laughter in a small Pennine town... and quite a lot you didn't, frankly. View From the Bridge appeared in Spring 1998. Being banned by local newspaper was an unexpected bonus and helped the book to become a local best-seller. This success encouraged Pennine Pens to bring out a second book, Back to the Bridge. Book three - a barrel-scraping exercise called A Bridge Too Far - will be out very soon.

JOHN MORRISON has been a writer for longer than he cares to remember, and also works as a landscape photographer. He has written, or illustrated, more than thirty books to date: mostly guidebooks to the North of England. He is now turning his hand to comedy.

Two unrelated events have boosted his public profile. Firstly, he won a Salman Rushdie look-alike competition, organised by a local branch of the Dangerous Sports Society. And when he picked up a prestigious award - the Crouton D'Or for Mealy-mouthed Satire - the future looked bright. Encouraged by these successes, he sold the house (which came as quite a shock to his landlord) and moved to the little old milltown of Hebden Bridge.

Other books are in preparation: all casting an affectionately jaundiced eye on life in the North. Women Are From Venus, Men From Mytholmroyd: exploring some of the more baffling aspects of the sex war. The Satanic Pulses: a vegetarian cookbook that aims to exploit the worldwide success of Rushdie's seminal work. Look out, too, for titles such as Out of Accrington, Great Train Journeys of West Yorkshire and The Lighter Side of the Brontës.

View from the Bridge

Back to the Bridge

Book Covers — drawings by Andy Hawkins and Tony Wright