Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17

Thread: Tales of a Tabloid Twitcher, by Stuart Winter

  1. #1
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    94

    Default Tales of a Tabloid Twitcher, by Stuart Winter

    Scandal - Celebrity - Intrigue

    Revealed: The Truth about Birdwatchers

    An exclusive by Stuart Winter, with a foreword by Chris Packham

    ISBN 978-1-84773-693-2 Price £7.99
    Published by New Holland




    It may come as a surprise to some people, but tabloid newspaper coverage of the ornithological world does actually extend beyond cheap innuendos about tits and shags. For this we can thank one journalist more than any other – Stuart Winter. A birder since childhood he has maintained a constant presence in the world of the tabloid news since the mid-1990s bringing innumerable stories about birds and birdwatchers to the masses in the process.

    This enthralling book begins with a foreword by Chris Packham and offers a window into the sometimes shady worlds of tabloid journalism and birding. In the process it explores the full stories behind the very best scoops. There are tales of obsession – travelling the length and breadth of the country in pursuit of rarities; tragedy – risking life and limb in the line of duty; celebrity – both human and avian, from Jeremy Clarkson and David Attenborough to ‘Sammy the Stilt’; crime – from felony to rivalries that turned nasty; and scandal – just what is the most debauched use of a bird hide.

    With a whole chapter dedicated to Lee Evans, a genius in the eyes of Stuart Winter, you may wonder whether this really is the book for you. But as Stuart notes ‘mention the name Lee and everybody who has ever travelled to see a rare bird will know what you mean without having to allude to a surname. This is normally something you can only do with Popes and Royalty.’

    From the indefatigable smell of the bird fair, to childhood around an equally smelly Dunstable Sewage Farm, Stuart takes us from his early birding experiences with the late Sir Peter Scott right through to modern times in and around Rutland. Whether narrating an interview with a Marmora’s Warbler, dips with the Right Hon Kenneth Clarke (and with a certain Siberian Rubythroat), you will enjoy the pleasure and pain of Stuart’s birding exploits.

    Read of Stuart’s end of a Scilly love affair – how Yellowthroat and Blackpoll Warbler scrums, a stolen telescope and drunken abuse convinced Stuart not to return, despite a World Cup passage. Or read of how Grahame Madge, the hard-working stalwart of the RSPB’s media office, found one particular broadsheet using a silhouetted image with Grahame‘s trademark bushy moustache to illustrate the nefarious happenings inside one Lincolnshire hide.

    With 16 chapters covering all the key birding events and personalities of the past two decades and beyond, Tales of a Tabloid Twitcher may just become the biggest ‘must read’ title for birders since Bill Oddie’s Little Black bird Book.

    And perhaps the most remarkable insight into Stuart’s personality and character is his steadfast refusal to see a Puffin! Stuart Winter may be no Simon Barnes but his easy writing style, evident sense of humour and love of the subject matter makes Tales of a Tabloid Twitcher compelling reading.

    If you’re heading off for a summer break (without birds) then pack a copy of Tales of a Tabloid Twitcher and you’ll be riveted to the pool-side from start to finish. Well, I have been.

    Well done Stuart!

    You can buy a copy at Amazon. Click here
    Last edited by Martin; July 29th, 2010 at 06:24 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Co. Leitrim, Eire
    Posts
    300

    Default

    Thanks for the heads up, Martin. BOLBB and " Birders " did it for me. Now I've just Got To read this one!

    Sent for!

  3. #3
    user
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Algarve, Portugal
    Posts
    3,384

    Default

    Well, having been loaned a copy by someone who bought it at the Birdfair, and having also read the two reviews on Amazon (linked to by Martin above), I am left wondering if it is the same book .

    Colin

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Co. Leitrim, Eire
    Posts
    300

    Default

    Yeppers. Having just this minute read the Amazon reviews, I'd tend to agree, Colin. I mean; The guy's no Mark Cocker, is he?!

    No. I s'pose what we got is what we should expect ~ from a tabloid hack; Tabloid level stuff. Sort of thing ye may read over and then put down and leave as ye walk away from the place ye were reading it.

    Not that I regret having spent a few quid to get it. It kept me distracted for a couple of evenings. But, I now feel no urge to pass it onto anyone else to 'Enjoy'. I'm not even certain where my copy is. On some shelf, I suppose. Somewhere.

    To me, MC's " Birders " will always evoke that stunning passage where he describes the moment ones eye looks into the 'scope and there's the bird. How it all comes together in that moment. Brilliant bit of writing!

    What do I bring away from This book? The authors unhealthily sycophantic view of Bill Oddy, to be honest with ye.

    Not the best taste in my mouth .....

  5. #5
    user
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Algarve, Portugal
    Posts
    3,384

    Default

    Pleased that someone shares my views on this Ditch. Just goes to show that many of these so-called "reviews" are publicity rubbish.

    I have only flicked through and read bits of the book - couldn't be ....d to go from cover to cover. The friend who lent me the book is off back to the U.K. tomorrow and says he doesn't want it back, despite not having read the whole thing!!

    Colin

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Key View Post
    I have only flicked through and read bits of the book - couldn't be ....d to go from cover to cover.
    Thanks for the helpful review Colin. I'll definitely give it a miss then.

  7. #7
    user
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Algarve, Portugal
    Posts
    3,384

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tapaculo View Post
    Thanks for the helpful review Colin. I'll definitely give it a miss then.
    My comments are not a "review" tapaculo, just my first impressions after an hour or so with the book - I think it is total .....

    Colin

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Haven’t seen the book yet myself, but just to offer a degree of balance to the eloquent critique on this thread, here’s Bryan Bland’s review in Birding World (but what does he know about the birding scene?):
    “Stuart Winter is a journalist – a self-confessed ‘Fleet Street hack’. In 1994, he wrote his first ‘Strictly for the birds’ feature (Britain’s first newspaper column for twitchers) in the Daily Star, and he now writes the ‘Birdman’ columns in the Sunday Express. It is no surprise then that the title of this book is catchingly alliterative and that its cover even masquerades as a ‘red top’. The accompanying cover blurb is also typically tabloid: ‘Revealed: The truth about birdwatchers’. The truth? From a journalist? What a curious concept. Yet throughout 200 pages of narrative, covering many of the key birding events and personalities of the past two decades and beyond, Stuart gets all his facts right (apart from referring to the Scilly inter-island launches as gigs). What is more, in the 40 press articles he quotes, he does not put a foot wrong either. In fact, these must represent the most extraordinary sequence of accurate reporting in the history of journalism. Stuart is no hack. He is a perceptive writer. Thought-provoking, humorous (after self-deprecating), honest and accurate, he has provided a fascinating account of the recent twitching scene. The chapter headings alone invite further perusal: Lee Evans – my part in his legend; I was Bill Oddie’s Body Double; The Dips So Maniacs .... The events will be familiar to every reader of this journal and it is satisfying to relive them through Stuart’s words – as enjoyable on a second read-through as the first. We owe the author a great deal for the good sense he has brought to presenting innumerable stories about birds and birders to the masses in his press articles of the last 16 years. It is good to have many of them brought together here, linked by a fascinating and insightful narrative which rings bells on every page.”

  9. #9
    user
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Algarve, Portugal
    Posts
    3,384

    Default

    I quite honestly do not give a toss about this book or its author, but I am somewhat incensed that the two reviewers on Amazon UK ( David Paul and Gooner George) give the book 5 stars and an over-exaggerated, euphoric "write-up". Note that neither reviewer has given any other previous reviews.

    The whole thing stinks of "promotion".

    Colin

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1

    Default

    To go a bit against the flow I actually enjoyed this book.

    Hugh

Similar Threads

  1. Forthcoming "Twitcher" programme
    By Colin Key in forum Surfbirds Noticeboard
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: August 28th, 2012, 03:20 PM
  2. 1st winter YLG?
    By andy lawson in forum Advanced Bird Identification Q&A
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: November 7th, 2010, 01:47 PM
  3. Winter Finches
    By john robinson in forum Backyard Birding
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: January 25th, 2008, 04:18 PM
  4. Winter Thrushes 2
    By john robinson in forum Backyard Birding
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: January 13th, 2008, 08:19 PM
  5. More Tales Of Harlingen
    By BirdChick.com in forum Birding Blogs
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: November 13th, 2007, 12:57 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •