Book: Preposterous Tales
12th Nov 2005
Two years ago I heard on the grapevine that Neil Gresham was putting together a book about himself and good friend Tim Emmett. I was a little sceptical about such a project, figuring it would be a little egocentric. I should have known better! Neil and Tim are two of the most professional of the professional climbers out there, utterly nice blokes, and talented climbers to boot. What stands them apart from others is their quest for adventure. Somewhere in the pages of the book it states that they have an un-written rule that they will never visit the same place twice. This principle has obviously provided a fantastic canvas on which to paint a picture of their lives. And what a picture: from 80 foot leaps into the North Wales slate quarries, to fighting off wasps and poisonous spiders new routing in Brazil and Vietnam; from the first ascent of a F7b sport route by head-torch (whilst half cut), to skidoo riding into ice routes in the Canadian Rockies, these two have packed more into the last 10 years than most would in their lifetimes. Along the way they have obviously become very special friends and come to the realisation that it’d be a good thing to share some of their experiences with the world.
So what exactly is the book? It is neither big nor small, it’s somewhere in between A4 and Himalayan coffee table book size. It’s not hard-back or paper-back, but on a luxury satin card. It isn’t full of photographs, and neither is it a book of words, but a well balanced combination of the two. That said, it’s strongest point surely has to be the photographs. Principally taken by Mike Robertson, Ian Parnell, Ray Woods and Neil and Tim themselves, it is a lesson in scanning and printing that many a well known publisher should learn from. Every single photograph is worthy of inclusion, ranging from double page spread’s to thumbnail size incidentals, each with a caption and photographers initials. It’s all very well collecting a mass of super quality photos, but in today’s world we need more. Here’s where Neil and Tim step in, with anecdotes to complement the visuals. Well written, often funny, often tense, these were as enjoyable to read as the photos were to pore over. Perhaps the most important factor of all, however, is the way in which everything is hangs together. I take my hat off to Sam Grimmer, art director and production manager for doing a superb job of both.
The book retails at £19.95 and would make an excellent Christmas present for any climber. Be careful though, it is absolutely guaranteed to give him or her itchy feet!
An absolute inspiration.
Reviewed by Matt Heason on behalf of planetFear