Badger, Boomer and Bathroom Bob
By John Wilson
Matador – £9.00
The title of this book, Badger, Boomer and Bathroom Bob, might give some indication as to what expect. Although, to all intents and nullifying purposes, I would have to suggest that author John Wilson, is far more obsessed with bodily description, than he is writing in a fluid, provocative and dare I say it, entertaining fashion.
So without wanting to come on like an annoyingly pedantic, Bavarian mathematician, I do feel it’s necessary to bring to your attention to the numbing number of times Wilson feels the need to paint a picture of what each and every character looks like:
Chapter Six: ‘’Lieutenant McCallister was a tall, slender African American with a pencil-thin moustache and a receding hairline. Dressed in a charcoal grey suit, he had already removed his overcoat and draped it over his right arm. His companion was a middle aged white man of medium height with an unkempt, full beard and a large paunch. He had on a black, thick, wool overcoat and a fedora, which he removed, revealing a shock of iron grey hair.’’
Chapter Seven; ‘’A tall, willowy man with a thatch of receding grey-brown hair and a pointed goatee, somewhat in the style of Leon Trotsky, Duxbury wore square, gold spectacles atop a long, protruding nose […]. Boomer was built like a thick post with oversized hands, feet, ears, and jowls. He possessed a glistening head devoid of hair, except for a dark fringe, and an unusually large, mushroom nose, spider-webbed with broken capillaries […]. The Duchess had soft, rounded features that perfectly mirrored the contours of her body. A middle-aged, plump woman with greying hair pulled into a bun […]. Aaron’s seldom-used nickname was BN. He looked out at the world through spectacles that resembled the bottoms of soft drink bottles. These glasses rested on a prominent nose that protruded from a thin, pale face under a thatch of dark hair. An easy smile and a clubby tweed jacket on a frail frame barely saved him from social oblivion.’’
Being a huge Thomas Hardy devotee, I’m all for description (for instance, I’ve known Hardy to describe a tree for the best part of two entire pages), but there comes a point where description begins to wear a little thin, especially when the remainder of the book is void of substance.