With "No Bandwaggon Too Good To Miss" as its reputedly unofficial motto, it's hardly surprising that the Threadbone Press has taken the opportunity presented by "self-isolating still-we-think-but-not-quite-sure-in-lockdown boredom" to promote - as opportunistically as ever - yet another title gratuitously selected from its extensive long-out-of-print catalogue of books some think should never have been published in the first place.
"With people up and down the country fearful of leaving their homes lest they spend several nights in police cells in mortal fear of state-sponsored waterboarding, now is the perfect time to persuade the general public to stay at home and distract itself from the current difficulties by escaping into another world", says book marketing expert Sayle Spitch. "The appetite for escapism is growing exponentially alongside a genuine interest in those heroes from our past who braved the odds and led ambitious lives of unabashed al fresco self-expression. Witness for example the recent interest in the Minterne Magna Mountaineers' ill-fated 1926 assault on Lewesdon Hill. Monday's Mappowder Mirror was sold-out almost before it hit the newsstands - despite the fact that no one could go out to buy it." Little wonder then that flamboyant and devil-may-care MMMS member Ivor Bigge-Todger has become his own centre of attention and the subject of more than 40 worldwide interweb search "hits".
Sensing this renewed interest in a man whose 1946 autobiography The Thrill of the Climb almost immediately sunk without trace, The Threadbone Press - which acquired rights to the book as a result of its hostile takeover of Minterne Magna Publishers Ltd - has not been slow to issue a reprint under a revised title and with a teasing cover provided, as ever, by The Charles and Maurice MacPro Design Studios. In the book, Bigge-Todger reveals much about the goings-on between the men of the MMMS and, in so doing, helps illuminate an era in which climbing "in the buff" was not only acceptable but considered a legitimate expression of manliness. "It is in many ways a very forward-looking book perfectly attuned to the present zeitgeist. Our different and in many ways more nuanced understanding of what it means to stand naked amongst our fellow men, makes this searingly honest [as well as frequently hilarious] book a vade mecum for those who, hiding behind their persona-conscious self-constructed carapace, feel they have mountains of their own to climb. It is as contemporary as it is old-fashioned, as inspiring as it is depressing". So, hats [and everything else] off to Bigge-Todger!
mountains, men and me is published by The Threadbone Press and is available by mail-order only [privacy and personal data respected] from Male Friends Mountaineering Supplies Ltd, Shaftesbury, Dorset.
Watch out - coming soon to a cinema near you: The Minterne Magna Mountaineering and Men's Recreational Society, a film by Guy Richkidd based on the best selling memoir by Ivor Bigge-Todger and featuring Jason Stourpaine as cross-dressing Launeston Thrupiece!!