Dirty Old Town and Other Stories - Nigel Bird
What a load of old tosh!

I honestly don't know what this book was about. Great title, but what Old Town? I still don't know. Is it Glasgow, London, Manchester, a little fishing village in Scotland, I don't know.

So many of the stories failed to reach an ending or make any sense whatsoever. You've got one guy who starts the story by getting a right spanking off a few blokes, but we never find out why or what led up to it. He ends up beating a drug dealer up, tying his hands and feet together and then placing his feet through a pair of gymnast's rings! How does he manage that when they're tied together? And even if he untied them what would keep them there? He'd just drop to the floor.

We get another fellow who's the butt of a joke at a roof party - I'm trying desperately not to be a `spoiler' here - with the words, "Should have known who'd been holding the it an' all..." and I've no idea what that means. Anyway he takes the opportunity to attack two of his antagonists from behind and push them off the roof stating, "I held onto their belts for a moment until I had to let go." WHAT! He held onto their belts for a moment? Assuming they weighed approximately the same as him, he's holding twice his own weight with no anchorage whatsoever. It would pull him straight off the roof too.

This is another story that just stops. A crowded party, everyone would have either witnessed him do this or seen the bodies falling through the air and looked round at him. But no, the story just stops right there. It's rubbish!

Too often we're left to guess at the ending. Two young boys playing on a beach hear a choir, a sure sign that there's been loss of life at sea, and then their mother doesn't turn up for tea. Are we supposed to assume she's dead? She certainly wasn't lost at sea. I didn't know what to make of that story at all.

Then there's the story of three white lads attacking and raping Muslim women. It seemed to jump about all over the place, going back in time and introducing (I think) six Muslim men that I kind of lost track as to who was who.

Nigel Bird seems a genuine chap, who's very serious about his writing, and I feel awful offering such a poor review, especially as he's evidently working so hard, but I have to be honest. I think his writing is actually quite good but his plots are rubbish. They have little more imagination than an average schoolboy. They start out of nowhere, in the middle of a plot, and finish abruptly when the reader knows full well there's going to be consequences for the actions taken at the end.

Every story is incomplete. I won't be reading anymore from this author.