New book – Shifting Shale – available in Cardiff
This is my follow up book to ‘Showered in Shale’ – it’s similar but different!
Shifting Shale: 2006 A Race Odyssey
Paperback 354 pages 143 Black & white thumbnail photographs £20.00
“It’s a dafter, funnier, darker and deeper ‘must have’ companion to ‘Showered In Shale’ BILLY JENKINS
Like the modern-day gladiators of motorcycle speedway, author, observer and minutia obsessive Jeff Scott goes round in circles, Shifting Shale – just like his fearless heroes.
Only the shale he is shifting is not the pinky gloopy stuff which adorns the tracks in the rundown stadiums of broken dreams but his masterwork Showered in Shale – a 320,000 word analysis of what once was “Britain’s second largest watched sport” (after football).
He sets off again around all the tracks in the country to ‘press the flesh’, meet his public and most importantly, sell some books.
So, not only is this another unique speedway observational book – but a book that will appeal to anyone who has promoted their own work. Scott sets up his stall in the shadows of these mostly decaying yet hugely attractive full-of-triumph-and-tragedy corrugated arenas to sell his wares. His only weapons are charm, humour and unsold volumes.
And it is mostly from this table-side vista a freshly askew insight into the joys of watching four riders race four laps on an uncertain surface on a methanol guzzling 500cc two wheeled monster with no brakes. It’s a spectacle that defies logic insomuch as firstly, four riders try to squeeze into the first bend when there is only space for one and secondly, to turn each corner, the rider actually accelerates and steers to the right. Although he’s turning left …
Which, in effect, is the power of this new book – built as a blog, but now read as a book. Reading Jeff Scott, there are no brakes. To stop, you have to throttle off and put your foot down. But the buzz is so captivating, it is a very hard thing to do.
And when he leaves his tableware to the elements and wanders into the pits, the bar, car park, centre green or up to the referee’s box, once more, you are actually there.
Elsewhere, he enjoys being a guest of Sky Sports at the prestigious Speedway Riders Association end of year bash, a day astride an actual speedway bike at Sittingbourne Speedway, comparing sales figures with legendary former riders, hobnobbing with riders on the Isle of Wight ferry and even spending the night sleeping with two speedway riders at the Norfolk Arena …
With his books Showered in Shale, When Eagles Dared and Shale Britannia, Jeff Scott’s appreciation and wonder of this dangerous sport and his ability to describe and narrate the minutiae and entirety of the Speedway experience deservedly won him plaudits far beyond the specialist media.
Shifting Shale, by Jeff Scott (£20, softback), is available at track shops,
the website www.methanolpress.com or send £24 cheque to cover P&P made
payable to “J.Scott” at Methanol Press, 2 Tidy Street, Brighton BN1 4EL.