corner corner Me and Mickie James


Me and Mickie James
by Drew Gummerson | Literature & Fiction
Registered by Vroomfondel of Leeds, West Yorkshire United Kingdom on 8/3/2008
Average 7 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by Shelly-Sparkles): available

10 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by Vroomfondel from Leeds, West Yorkshire United Kingdom on Sunday, August 03, 2008

8 out of 10

Publisher's description (as per
"Down By Law are a pop duo like no other. From their base in a room at the top of St Pancras Station they plan to take the music industry by storm. When they meet Ivan Norris-Ayres they think things are finally going their way. They are, but not in the way they expected. They find the path to success is anything but a simple three-chord love song."

Madcap and zany - in the good sense, not the 'ironic' sense. Witty, clever and warm. I really liked the two lead characters, they were very well written. Their international escapades of humour and intrigue were bizarre, weird and very readable, and the writing style - such as always referring to Mickie James in full, and (I think) not referring to 'me' by name, was excellent.

Updated 29 August: I did try and get a ray going for this, but only one person wanted it, so it's now a RABCK on its way to GoryDetails

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, September 03, 2008

This book has not been rated.

The book arrived safely in today's mail; many thanks! I enjoyed Gummerson's first novel, The Lodger, very much, and look forward to reading this one. 

Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, March 02, 2009

8 out of 10

What a delightful book! I agree with Vroomfondel's comments completely; it's witty, clever, warm, madcap, zany - and more. The word "giddy" comes to mind, as our heroes manage to find themselves high up on a roller-coaster rail or in a cargo plane bound for Iraq, or "meditating" on their little camp toilet on the roof of St. Pancras station. (Um, perhaps I should add that our heroes are a bit earthy, and very unselfconscious regarding personal habits as well as their sex lives. That is, there aren't any explicit sex scenes, but the narrator rattles off the events of his day without any filters, so there are quite a few references to having had sex, wanting to have sex, needing a shower very, very badly, etc. If you prefer your characters less, um, grungy {wry grin}, you may want to skip this. Despite all the earthiness, though, the characters are so sweet and oddly innocent that to me it doesn't feel "gritty" at all.)

The book had me laughing out loud within a very few pages, and there were plenty more laughs throughout. I immediately adored the main characters, wished them well even when I didn't quite understand how they could manage to live like that, and fretted over them when things got tense. And I even got a bit sniffly here and there; the story can be quite touching in among the zaniness, as when the narrator's musing over Mickie James' hunchback: "I wish that he would learn to love it as much as me but I don't think that he will."

I marked a lot of passages in this book, an indicator of how much I enjoyed it, though it's a vain endeavor because I don't want to quote a zillion tidbits. One of the early ones (and one that coaxed a laugh out of me) does give an example of the style without giving away any of the story. Our narrator has just met someone who claimed to have been in a band once too:

'Our band was called Pravdu. The name came from a misspelling of the Russian word for truth.'

I asked why a misspelling, as this kind of music folklore fascinated me, and Ivan Norris-Ayres replied that it was because he felt the misspelling said something about the nature of truth.

'You could have called yourselves Tuth then,' I said.

'We thought of that, but there's already a band called Tuth.'
While the book is funny and often frivolous, it's got some steel in there too. The subplot involving Iraqis, for example, manages to humanize people whom we tend to think of as The Enemy, without downplaying the very real problems. But our heroes' emphasis is always on their music, and their seemingly-unquenchable belief that they'll be pop stars Any Minute Now.

I also found that this book reminded me - unexpectedly - of the very madcap and zany works of Harry Stephen Keeler, specifically Riddle of the Traveling Skull, which has its own carnival-characters sub-plot. While Keeler's work isn't as urban-gritty, and seldom even hints at sexual goings-on, I think there's a similarity in the imperturbable optimism of the protagonists and the delightfully dizzy plots.

Side note: I found the author's web site here, with some interesting commentary. I found that in addition to this book and The Lodger, he's written quite a few short stories, which I now want to track down. And he said that Me and Mickie James was actually a collection of short stories itself, which - once I read that - made sense; the book holds together well and there is an overall arc, but the individual chapters could stand on their own.

Thanks so much for sharing this one, Vroomfondel. I'll try offering this one for a book ray again, and see if we can't get more interest this time! 

Journal Entry 4 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, March 02, 2009

This book has not been rated.

As this is still the only copy of this book registered, and since I think it deserves to be read, I thought I'd offer this book for a book ray. [See the forum thread here.] The book is a trade paperback that weighs 10 ounces, something to keep in mind when estimating postage costs.

Bookray instructions:

When you receive the book, please journal it, and PM the next person in line for their address so you'll have it ready when you've finished the book.

Note: even if you've sent books to that person before, please PM them before mailing this one, to confirm that the address is correct and that they're able to take on a bookray book at this time.
Try and read the book promptly - ideally, within one month of receiving it. (If you expect to take longer, you can request to be put at the end of the list. If you find you're swamped with other books when the person before you contacts you about the book, you can ask to be skipped, and then let me know whether you'd like to be moved down the list or dropped entirely. If you receive the book and find it's taking longer than you'd planned to get through it, I'd appreciate an update in its journal entries or on your profile, just to let me and the other participants know you haven't forgotten it.)

When you're ready to pass the book along, please add your comments about the book and indicate where you're sending it, either through a journal entry or through the controlled-release-note option. [If you use the controlled-release-note option and specify your own country/state/city, we'll end up with a handsome map of the book's travels!] If you find that you're having problems contacting the next person in line, or don't think you can manage to mail the book as originally agreed, please let me know; I'll be glad to try to work something out!

Participants, in mailing order:

Bug2004 [Nebraska, USA]
geneli4 [North Carolina, USA]
ladilee24 [Delaware, USA]
Megi53 [Virginia, USA]
Mascis [Virginia, USA]
raeliz64 [UK]
chich [France]
Dunzy [Canada] (asked to be skipped)
Shelly-Sparkles [Australia] 

Journal Entry 5 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Released 9 yrs ago (3/10/2009 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA



I sent this book off to Bug2004 in Nebraska today, to kick off the book ray. Hope you enjoy it! 

Journal Entry 6 by Bug2004 from Omaha, Nebraska USA on Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Re'cvd today. Will get to it as quick as I can. Thanks for sharing! :) 

Journal Entry 7 by Bug2004 from Omaha, Nebraska USA on Wednesday, June 24, 2009

6 out of 10

A quirky little read. Not as intresting or fun as I had hoped...mildly enjoyable.

Sorry for keeping it so long..mailed off to geneli4 today. 

Journal Entry 8 by geneli4 from Raleigh, North Carolina USA on Thursday, August 06, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Picked this up at the post office today, yay! Will try to have it on its way to ladilee24 V V SOON! 

Journal Entry 9 by geneli4 from Raleigh, North Carolina USA on Sunday, August 09, 2009

8 out of 10

i enjoyed this book every bit as much as i enjoyed the lodger, and in some ways, more. it's sweet and funny and detailed in all the best ways, and there's something really endearing about it, about these characters and their band and the idea of them together, about how the rest of the world just isn't them. ♥

as the back cover says, me and mickie james is a novel of amazing energy and humour about love, fate and the importance of pop music in all our lives.

Journal Entry 10 by geneli4 from Raleigh, North Carolina USA on Monday, August 10, 2009

This book has not been rated.

posted this book to ladilee24 today, media mail, dc# 0308 3390 0001 7757 7565 

Journal Entry 11 by ladilee24 from Newark, Delaware USA on Thursday, August 13, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Just arrived in the mail today and I am chuckling reading the cover. That bodes well. 

Journal Entry 12 by ladilee24 from Newark, Delaware USA on Wednesday, August 19, 2009

8 out of 10

I loved this. As everyone else noted, the book is a bit mad, but in a good way. There is actually a love story at the heart of this whole crazy adventure, because the Narrator (the unnamed Me, though we almost hear his name in the final chapter) loves Mickie James, hunchback and all. Part of their quest for success is to give Mickie James a place in the world, and that they do seem to achieve, though the rest of their dreams sort of have the best way of going awry. I laughed a lot, I smiled a lot, I want to meet these guys. So glad I read this one. Thanks for sharing. I'll put this into the mail for Megi53 tomorrow! 

Journal Entry 13 by Megi53 from Danville, Virginia USA on Monday, August 24, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Arrived today. Flipping through it, I was caught up in the hilarious Bloomsbury Cheese scene. Looking forward to more laughs. 

Journal Entry 14 by Megi53 from Danville, Virginia USA on Tuesday, September 29, 2009

8 out of 10

While enduring a reading slump earlier this year, I signed up for various rings and rays that were outside my usual nonfiction/midcentury classic range. As so frequently happens, six of them arrived around the same time in August, and I ended up taking a bit over a month to finish this one. Luckily, ::ahem::, the person after me is a rapid reader.

Gummerson proved to be a very descriptive writer, which I ordinarily like -- however, many of the things he described were repugnant: elective surgery and mutilation; sex with food; brutish stereotypical Americans; and toilets, toilets, toilets. I don't think these guys chronicled one day of their lives without mentioning where and why they relieved themselves. Some of the details (Octavio the would-be castrato and the aftermath of the al-Qaeda movie, for example) gave me the vapors and I had to stop and read a chapter of an innocent, old-fashioned travelogue as an antidote.

Why I enjoyed the book anyway: the author is a powerful pacer and plotter! One of the best scenes had the duo writing a song while they worked in a ship's galley. It was incredible the way Gummerson built up excitement as they considered and discarded lyrics, arranged the acoustics, philosophized about the worker class, and added just the right light touches of humor and pathos.

The repetition of themes was masterful: there were orphans, Kylie Minogue, jewel heists, ballerinas, and secret attic rooms inside subway stations, always with an official count of the number of stairs that had to be climbed before Down By Law arrived "home".

A few marvelously-described settings: the elegant French Colonial brothel in Ho Chi Minh City; the endless brown desert outside Las Vegas; and oh my! the Christmas Eve snowstorm in Southend. The latter was so sentimental and tearjerking (I loved it!) that I wondered if Gummerson wasn't having us on ... but then later he included more sweet vignettes featuring children (the bongo busking by the dock in Japan; the Vietcong camp) that rang true.

Mickie James and his partner often displayed high moral standards. They came up with brilliant statements such as "I had become a black porno actor and Mickie James a freak in a panto. I wasn't sure if this was something we could ever get over, but if we didn't try to get over it then it stood to reason that we wouldn't." (page 20)

Some throwaway lines were hilarious: "I stood up and gripped tightly onto the railings of the balcony. Down below a dog chased its tail. It didn't catch it." (page 202)

Toward the end, Mickie James was musing that they could be managers if they weren't meant to be famous, but I can see them as detectives instead. The Harlan/Penelope/Gus tale that ranged from Shanghai to Tivoli Gardens in chapter two could easily be fleshed out into an entire book for their first adventure!

The 50-word stories on Gummerson's website are not to be missed -- I'm so happy I got to know about him through this bookray. And by the way, the rings and rays did the trick: I'm over my reading slump.

Visiting the post office tomorrow, so this will be on the way to Richmond shortly.


Journal Entry 15 by Megi53 at Danville, Virginia USA on Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Released 8 yrs ago (9/30/2009 UTC) at Danville, Virginia USA



Mailed from Ballou Park substation post office. 

Journal Entry 16 by Mascis from Richmond, Virginia USA on Saturday, October 03, 2009

This book has not been rated.

I got the package with this book today. I'll read it next week. Thanks! 

Journal Entry 17 by Mascis from Richmond, Virginia USA on Sunday, October 11, 2009

8 out of 10

I liked reading the story. It reminded me of Kavalier and Clay.
Thanks for including me in an official BC bookray! 

Journal Entry 18 by Megi53 at Richmond, Virginia USA on Sunday, October 11, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Released 8 yrs ago (10/10/2009 UTC) at Richmond, Virginia USA



I mailed this to the UK for my son, Mascis -- mailed from the Genito Road post office branch. 

Journal Entry 19 by wingraeliz64wing from Leicester, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Saturday, October 17, 2009

This book has not been rated.

In the usual manner of bookrings this is the third to turn up this week, I'll get to it as soon as I can :-) 

Journal Entry 20 by wingraeliz64wing from Leicester, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Sunday, November 01, 2009

8 out of 10

I smiled and/or chuckled through most of this book and laughed out loud a few times. One of my favourite bits is when the boys are talking about John Lennon and Mickie James says that John didn't have a hunchback. The narrator says something along the lines of "no, but he did have Yoko Ono." 

Journal Entry 21 by wingraeliz64wing from Leicester, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Monday, November 02, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Posted to chich today 

Journal Entry 22 by chich from Sant Antoni de Portmany, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares Spain on Thursday, November 05, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Image hosting by Photobucket Book received today, thanks for passing it on raeliz64!

I'll finish the book I'm reading right now and will get right on to this one:) 

Journal Entry 23 by chich from Sant Antoni de Portmany, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares Spain on Saturday, November 14, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Ok, so I missed something. I mean, I must have; everybody simply loves this book but it just didn't do anything at all for me. I didn't find it funny and wasn't really interested in the story at all:( Actually I'm quite disappointed I didn't like this book because I just love anything madcap or wacky. Oh well, it might not have been the right time for me to read this, who knows?

Thanks anyway for sharing GoryDetails:)

Dunzy asked to be skipped for now and I'm waiting for Shelly-Sparkles to give me her address to send her the book. 

Journal Entry 24 by chich from Sant Antoni de Portmany, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares Spain on Monday, November 16, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Book sent to Shelly-Sparkles today, enjoy! 

Journal Entry 25 by Shelly-Sparkles on Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Book arrived today. Sounds great. Love Fate and the importance of music in our lives.... 

Journal Entry 26 by Shelly-Sparkles on Wednesday, December 16, 2009

8 out of 10

What a completely batty read! Just the way I like them. Strange. Very strange. And I was surprised to read that the author works as a police officer! LMAO. Maybe someone spikes his drink from the drug busts, at lunch time?

There was no harshness in this read,although much of the subject matter could have been noted as such. The 'two' just trip around, with big dreams, take no offence to anyone, getting lulled into (mis) adventure by the word contract, and then make those madcap adventures part of thier bio for when they do make it to the big time. Down by Law.

O Gosh.

Must seek out the authors first novel to read in the future.

and thanks to others who have linked to books that reminded them of this style of read! note to self to seek out those books to read too.

As I am the last on the ray I am going to post this to a friend in Melbourne. He is a little madcap, so I think he will enjoy this read too.

Merry Christmas. 

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