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Friday, 15 April 2022

"West Side Stories Notes from Northolt" a Review...

I've known Stu Deabill for many years now and one thing that is immediately apparent about him is how driven he is to get quality writing out there and heard. Stu's a grafter, he always puts full wallop behind everything he does and it's been a pleasure to work alongside him on many projects over the years. 2022 saw the arrival of his first solo book, "West Side Stories Notes From Northolt" that tells tale to some of the wittiest, boldest and enduring set of characters you could ever wish to meet, grabs the reader from the first breath and doesn't let go until the final verse is sung. 





Almost like a really good autobiography, "Notes From Northolt" starts to give you the early pieces to the jigsaw that built the foundations to Stu's life. Growing up in a loving, working class background you knew from the outset that he was going to have all he needed in life to succeed. These early stories that shaped and moulded him as a young lad, introduce you to his first love (Chelsea FC) and make you aware of the various types of people you come across in life, are written with the type of charm and vigour that force you to read on. The "Stamford Bridge" chapter describes a young boys first glimpse at that hallowed turf that would play a monumental role in the rest of his life, it's love at first sight man! "You can't choose your football club" echoes across the pages here and anyone who follows the beautiful game will realise just how important those early games at your club are. Growing up and striving for identity whilst battling the tribalism of secondary school are all part and parcel of the British way of life. This is encapsulated perfectly in the, "Dawning Of a New Era" chapter which describes that battle for teenage supremacy that we've all faced with passion and tenacity. The "Which way do I go?" question reverberates around the pages and has you delving back into the memory bank for the times when you too were in that torrent of puberty, first girlfriends and wanting to be the David Watts of your school yard. 

"Notes from Northolt" pulls the reader in for a like-minded chat in the boozer about the Holy Trinity of, clothes, football and music and anyone who's remotely into any of these three wonderful things will immediately connect with these tales of chancing, tomfoolery and camaraderie. The humour that comes across throughout the book is even more significant if you know Stu. I often heard his quips jumping out of the the pages on many occasions. The chapter, "Hurry Up Harry" describes some scenarios that surrounded the once landlord of his local boozer. This chapter drove home just how many completely mental characters you come across in life, Harry was just one of these and Stu and his pals had a few laughs out of him to say the least. It also got me thinking about how important boozers are to people and communities and how they help to shape the person you become. You can learn a lot from public houses and Harry is no exception to that rule, funny place is Stoke... 

Other chapters I particularly enjoyed were; "Glastonbury 90" which illustrates how some people just can't handle leaving their manor... "In Bruges" which highlights that wonderful bug of following your team across the delightful cities of Europe even if their OB aren't the most accommodating and "Egg and Chips" which describes a young Stu's dreams of being a guitar wielding hero, we've all been there man! "Notes from Northolt" was a thoroughly enjoyable read and a departure from the previous books Stu's put his name to, they encapsulate eras gone by, style, passion and that striving for something more that every creative mind yearns for. I'd recommend this to anyone as it works on so many levels and will have people from all walks of life relating to it in some way for sure! Bravo me old China! Last few copies available here!

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In loving memory of Denise Pottinger