/ NEW ARTICLE: Echoes by Nick Bullock - Exclusive Excerpt
Here we have a UKClimbing.com exclusive excerpt from his debut book 'Echoes' ...
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=4888
I'm studying philosophy of punishment at the moment. We have to hope we can learn from countries doing things different and reform our penal system for the better.
Enough to make anyone head for the hills
I hope it continues in this vein. As with so many climbing biographies, it's the background and build up that interests me most, much more than the climbing writing!
I received my signed copy in the post this morning.
Iv'e only had time to flick through it after a busy day, but i had a smile and a moment of contemplation when i read the dedication at the front and saw the pictures of Jules and Jamie (i can hear the echoes of laughter in that picture). It seems like another life, another country; the past. And now here i and many others are, putting the children to bed, making packed lunches for the morrow and looking out of the window and worrying that the grass is getting longer. I think that i will enjoy this book very much.
I find Nick's prison experiences both fascinating and frightening, I couldn't imagine doing that day to day. I read another great excerpt from his website a while ago:
"At the age of twenty-one the doors opened to a world that society would rather forget. The shadows clinging to the dark beneath the prison’s walls changed me – the sick minds rearranged my mind. Fifteen years later fortune shone: the doors opened and I was released to begin a life of adventure-excitement-travel and people. Fear, and even terror, were still with me – but now there was no risk of a pan of molten sugar and red-hot cooking oil being thrown into my face."
"Arriving at the prison car park I hoped there would be no spaces, so I could just turn around and drive home. On entering the prison I could feel fearful bitterness simmering behind the walls. I would joke with other Prison Officers – false laughter, bullshit and bravado. The maggot in the intestines squirmed. Before opening The Block’s four-inch-thick wooden door I would breathe deep … then savour the last few seconds … before aggression."
To go from that to a world of mountains, a world of space, of clean air and an inviolate environment must have felt like a rebirth. It reminds me of Andy Cave's journey out of the mining communities of Northern England. If Nick's book is anything like Andy's "Learning to Breathe" it'll be a welcome addition to modern climbing literature.
Hi, not wanting to sound like I'm giving it the big sell, this piece of writing is a very small part in a book which has a strong narrative arc covering the topic you talk.
It has been nine years since I left the Prison Service and twenty-one years since I worked in the punishment block. I would like to think things have moved on, but without a massive cash injection and training and a more enlightened, liberal and sympathetic outlook not only from people managing and working within the Prison Service but more from the 'normal' people on the street I'm not sure they will have.
Hi Andi, if this is your criteria for a good read I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Personally I would not have chosen this chapter, which by the way is shortened, for an excerpt; this is a chapter that comes after an argument for reform and a different way of thinking which balances what is going on in this piece of writing, and later I say that I am not proud to have been involved in this type of thing.
Like I say, not the big sell, but I'm afraid to have the full story and a proper opinion people will need to read the whole book ;-)
Cheers Nick, PS, thanks James and Tom
Hi Nick, how does it feel to be referred to as 'insane' by crazy mentalist Paul Pritchard?! (In the foreword) Quite an honour, I expect!
Read a good few chapters the last couple of nights - not got to the climbing yet, but since I know stuff all about the prison service I'm finding it really enlightening. Looking forward to the rest.....
Thoroughly looking forward to reading the whole book Nick.
Hi Calder, Yes, kettle calling pot comes to mind :-)
To be honest though, having Paul write the foreword and being involved is really special.
I remember reading Deep Play for the first time and loving the writing and feeling inspired by the adventures but more than this I was inspired by the lifestyle Paul and others around Llanberis at the time lived. Never did I imagine I would write a book and Paul would be involved. Crazy!
I'm 3/4 of the way through this book now, it's hard to put down. some of the descriptions of the rock routes are making my palms sweat, in sympathy
A really good book. Quite raw, and feels very honest.
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