A Summer in the Park - Tony Allen
Review by Magnus - readers' reviews Amazon
Souvenir of London
I have known Tony for thirty years. During the 70s speakers used to hold meetings at the Corner every day of the week. I can testify that this book is an authentic picture - the best work on the subject since Heathcote Williams wrote 'The Speakers' in the 1960s. Given the fact that millions of visitors to London attend Speakers' Corner every year, I am surprised that so little has been written to celebrate the institution. Tony has certainly made good the deficiency. If you want to see the sights of London take the Blue Guide (or the Rough Guide). If you want to experience the real London. Buy this book and take it home as a souvenir.
Magnus. October 24, 2004
Review by Day Trader Dave - readers' reviews Amazon
An excellent and very funny journal; Essential for anyone interested in Speaker's Corner Speaker's Corner is a London institution, and Tony Allen is a Speaker's corner veteran. I can't remember the first time I saw him at Speaker's Corner, but you will find him there under the London Plane trees on most Sunday afternoons.
To fully appreciate the Speaker's Corner experience, you really have to become a regular visitor, you have to see the place in the sunshine, in the rain, take in the amazing variety of characters who make the place what it is. If you have never been, then you have missed something. I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy Tony's book 'A Summer in the Park'. Would it live up to my own vision of the Corner?
Well, I shouldn't have worried. It is an excellent read. I read it in a couple of sittings, it's very funny, very witty and it really captures the essence of the Speaker's Corner experience. As the authors says, there really is nowhere quite like it. I suspect Tony, like many others, is addicted to the place. Tony's observations of the crowd dynamics are frequently spot on, they are often very funny too. He is also honest, describing his shortcomings as a speaker.
The discussions here cover a range of topics, from the future of the internet, to the saving of London's Victorian architecture in the 1970s, via DIY psychotherapy and radical feminism, and exactly what is meant by the phrase "good for jobs".
I would guess that anyone who want's to stand in front of a crowd of people and hold their attention would benefit from reading 'A Summer in the Park'. I really did laugh out loud reading this book. Well done. One thing I wonder though, how did Tony Remember all this stuff ?
Day Trader Dave October 15, 2004