Anthony Woodward wasn't interested in flying, he was interested in his image. So, in his world of socializing and conquest shagging, a microlight plane sounded like the ideal sex aid. So why - once he discovers that he has no ability as a pilot, it costs a fortune and its maddening unreliability loses him the one girl he really wants - does he get more and more hooked? As he monitors the changes to the others in the syndicate; as he learns that there is a literal down-side to cheating in flying exams, shunning responsibility and pretending to know stuff you don't, the question keeps on surfacing. Why? What is it about this absurd pastime that begins to devour every idle thought, converts any open space into a landing strip, requires days of planning to make journeys that could be taken in a couple of hours by car; that, finally, becomes even more important than girls? As the misadventures mount - accidents, tussles with Tornadoes, arrest by the RAF - he keeps thinking he's worked it out. But it isn't until "The Crash", in which he nearly kills himself that the penny finally drops.
A propellerhead is someone hooked on flying, and Antony Woodward got the addiction in his mid-twenties. First, as he tells it, in a bid to impress the girls (imagining himself as somewhere between the autogyro pilot in Mad Max 2 and Terry-Thomas in Those Magnificent Men) but was soon swept headlong into the seriously unserious world of "microlight" escapades and competitions, including the madcap Round Britain race for these flimsy monoplanes. Woodward is a successful advertising copywriter, and this lively non-fiction is snappily written - in a somewhat quixotic bid to do for microlights what Nick Homby has done for soccer. Whatever you think of Hornby, Woodward is not quite in his league as a writer, but this is an amusing and original book. Promotion includes the author's offer of taking booksellers up in his plane, should any fancy a near-death experience as a break from routine.
About Antony Woodward
Antony Woodward has won numerous awards as a copywriter in advertising. He has written columns for Tatler and the Independent on Sunday, as well as articles for numerous newspapers and magazines including Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, Literary Review and Country Life. He has made documentaries for BBC 2 and for The South Bank Show.
Propellerhead by Antony Woodward
Used - Very Good
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