I am so excited to be on the blog tour for something very different today – The Bespokist Society Guide to … London, a new type of travel guide! My thanks to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on to the tour.
“sparse… some glaring omissions” FoodPorn London
“only page 23 is of mild interest” http://www.londonpetlover.com
“Wow!!! A genuinely bespoke city guide!!!” Tommy Sponge, Chairman, The Bespokist Society
You have in your hands one of the most curated city guides ever created. As the first travel book produced by the hugely influential Bespokist Society, this handy guide takes you to a London you’ve never seen: a London of challenging Etruscan restaurants, edgy branding parlours, emoji hotels and hidden Icelandic communities; a London where 8-ply toilet paper is a thing.
On the way, meet an eclectic band of inspiring Londoners – from scriveners to socialites via urban wordsmiths and coffee preachers – and see why London is now the global epicentre of Bespokist consciousness, community and culture.”
I am sure that other globe-trotting book lovers will have the same affliction that I do, which is the compulsion to buy a guide book as soon as you have booked a break to a new destination. Even in these days of instant access to all the information you ever need at the click of a mouse, I still love to have a physical guide book in my hands when I travel. This is particularly true when I am taking a city break and trying to pack as much as possible into two or three days. I am especially fond of the ‘Eyewitness Top 10’ city guides but, having read this book I think I may have found a series to rival them.
I love London and visit regularly but this guide highlights a very specific side of London that is one I haven’t explored much – the hipster London. It contains details on a lot of quirky sights, restaurants, hotels and hotspots that will appeal to people who like everything artisanal, organic and bespoke and I think a visit to London focusing on these attractions which are off the usual beaten tourist track would be a refreshing change. As a mother of 5, I really love the idea of staying at The Enzo and having the kids whisked away for the weekend so we can relax, although I’m sure my partner would prefer a room at The Union with his own ‘pastry butler’. There were several restaurants I had earmarked as possible venue – The Gentle BBQ was one that particularly appealed, and I also half hope I can pass off The Irishman as a homeless man so he can sell the heinous beard he currently sports against my wishes to ‘The Beardy Boy Project’ and use the funds to buy me some artisan egg cups.
Before anyone who has read this book thinks I am either mad or stupid, I can confirm that I am joking and do realise that the book is a satirical take on the kind of pretentious guide book we have all read in the past, and is also taking a searingly accurate swipe at the affected preference for everything ‘bespoke’ by a certain section of society today. It is so cleverly done that you could almost believe this is a genuine travel guide for the achingly hip portion of thirty-somethings that roam the country looking for holidays is genuine shepherds’ huts in the Cotswolds with hand-milked honey from vegan bees and organic hemp four-poster bed curtains on tap.
This book is extremely funny, if you like your satire sharp and observational. I laughed out loud, at the same time as thinking ‘ouch’ as parts of it cut very close to the bone. I can imagine some people thinking that parts of it sounded like quite a good idea – the aforementioned ‘Gentle BBQ’ being a case in point – and I am fairly sure that place like ‘Little Foodies’ probably exist. And, if anyone wants to open a branch of ‘Elevenses’ in my home town, I would definitely visit. I have been thinking about their Rich Tea biscuits ever since I read the description! Parts of it also made me cringe (The Whitlow?!!!)
This is a small book, cleverly made to look like a pocket travel guide, and is one you can dip in and out of if you feel like a few minutes of light relief. It bears careful reading so you don’t miss any of the tiny, clever little details that make this such a joy. The entry for The Fishy Finger is my particular favourite example of the writer slipping in a minute, seemingly irrelevant detail that you could miss if you blink but creates real joy in your heart is you catch it. The entry for Good Life made my heart sing and had me smiling every time I thought about it afterwards.
I really enjoyed this little, quirky, clever book and it will appeal to anyone who loves satirical humour. Should not be read by genuine tourists or easily-offended hipsters.
The Bespokist Society Guide to… London is out now and you can buy a copy here.
If you would like to follow the rest of the tour and find out what my fellow bloggers make of the unique book, find the dates below:
About the Author
The Bespokist Society Guide to London is a work of fiction written by born and bred Londoner, Jeremy Liebster. Somewhat surprisingly, Jeremy is also a city lawyer – formerly at DLA Piper and now a General Counsel within a large private equity group. Jeremy is utterly obsessed with travel books and although he might poke fun at urban fads, hipster fried chicken is his guilty pleasure. He also has an unusual interest in clothes hangers.