Brian Thacker – The naked man festival (08-057)
While on the road, I feel I have to read at least one travel book. Brian Thacker fits the bill. He had been recommended by Amazon.co.uk to me for a quite a while, when a year ago in South Africa I finally decided to buy a book by him. Not until then did I remember that I already owned and read his first book. Rule No. 5: No sex on the bus (My review) was a nice summary of his days as a tour guide in Europe. It did start his career as an author.
And now Thacker needs an excuse to travel a lot. The Australian leaves wife and kids behind in Melbourne than travels the world to attend festivals. Many festivals. Weird festivals. Before that he has done a lot of on-line research to find out where to go and why. The two countries with the most bizarre festivals are, hands down, Japan and the United States. Hence that is where Thacker is heading for the majority of the festivals described in this book.
The title story takes him to Japan where a lot of men, dressed only in nappies, go into a temple to try to catch a holy stick. Sounds weird enough? In his own country he visits a country festival (Tamworth), but also the famous Mardi Gras in Sydney. This last one with a bloke called Miss Stephanie.
Thacker has an easy writing style, it is easy to picture him in the middle of a lot of people celebrating whatever takes their fancy and him, the Aussie outsider, observing what is happening around him. My favourite is the UFO festival in the US, though I was most impressed with him travelling to Haïti to attend a Voudou (or is it spelled Voodoo? He doesn’t) festival. Having travelled in that country myself, completely on my own, not seeing any tourist for days, he deserves a compliment for not just going to the easily accessible ones.
If I have to find some negative point, it would be the throwing of festival knowledge in other stories. Several times one has to read sentences like “If you think this is bad, can you imagine what the festival in Oobah Billabong Idaho would be like”. I can use google myself, I don’t need Brian to tell me what other festivals exist, if he doesn’t visit them anyway.
Quote: “Women – and I’m talking lots of women here- were modelling their pubic hair on David Beckham’s haircut at the time. This involved brushing the hair into a Mohican and dyeing the peak an ‘eye-catching colour’. I wonder if Posh had hers done as well. (P.89)
Title: The naked man festival and other excuses to fly around the world
Author: Brian Thacker
Language: English (Oz)
# Pages: 264 (11366)