Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Book Review: Don’t Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs: She Thinks I’m a Piano Player in a Whorehouse, by Paul Carter

She spends alot of time on long-haul flights and thus devours books the same way she devours Sour Cream and Chive Pringles. Cat W shares her thoughts on what sounds like a rollickingly good read:

Following on from the lovely Renee’s fillum review of a few weeks back, the one with Brad Pitt and a 47 word title, comes a book with a similarly long title but belonging to a completely different genre – Don’t Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs: She Thinks I’m a Piano Player in a Whorehouse, by Paul Carter. Although it was released something like a couple of years ago, I consider it the height of rudeness that this riotous work was not bought to my attention earlier. I love a book that makes me laugh out loud and for me, this one manages that and then some.

Don’t tell Mum I Work on the Rigs has the potential hallmarks of a travelogue, you know the ones where I spent a year on the Mediterranean and here are all the wonderful things I learnt whilst I frolicked through olive groves and entertained dashing Italian guys, or I hiked through Alaska now read about how macho I am for fighting a polar bear. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind reading the odd travelogue myself and have read quite a few in the past, but the more I read the less I give a shit about said adventures (unless they’re my own or my friends,’ lets get this straight). Carter offers his readers a little more substance in this book; it details his travels throughout some of the world’s most remote locations whilst following a career working on oil rigs, a tough, gritty bitch of a job that does not suffer pillocks. Carter makes no bones about how difficult this work is, but his ensuing adventures manage to leave nothing to the imagination. One gets the impression that he is in fact a bit of a wild man, and maybe just a few of his life tales may have been missed out here due to the fact that they’re simply unprintable.

Don’t Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs tells of Carter’s career travels to numerous far-flung and diverse locales - the Russian tundra, Borneo, jungles of Asia, Sumatra, the Middle East, Tunisia, Nigeria and the North Sea, among others. The stories he tells of the people he meets along the way, as well as the animals (!) and situations he gets himself into are recounted with a kind of chilled out alacrity, and one of the reasons this book is so easy to read is because Carter is just a bloody funny guy. Peppered with hilarious anecdotes about a pubescent monkey called Joe, Stetson-wearing know it all Texans, almost dying of dysentery and being served cocktails by an orang-utan on a ocean freighter, Don’t Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs is 200 pages of obsessively readable exhilaration that anyone with an open mind, an appreciation for the left of field and an immunity to a little swearing will enjoy.

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