We Could be Heroes: One Van, Two Blokes and Twelve World Championships by Tom Fordyce and Ben Dirs

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We Could be Heroes: One Van, Two Blokes and Twelve World Championships by Tom Fordyce and Ben Dirs

Category: Sport
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Hilarious depiction of some of the world’s more obscure World championships. Laugh out loud – highly recommended but take my advice, don’t read it in a library unless you’re willing to face glares from all around or are exceptionally good at containing your mirth.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: July 2009
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 978-0230736153

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Meet Ben Dirs. Apart from having one of the most unfortunate names on record, he’s a fairly laid-back guy whose daily breakfast consists of two cigarettes. Compared to Dirs, his BBC colleague Tom Fordyce – a keen amateur triathlete – looks like Daley Thompson in his prime. But Tom’s ambition of winning a world championship is still completely unachievable, surely? You don’t go from BBC blogger to 100m champion, football World Cup winner, or even the number 1 snooker player on Earth, after all. On the other hand, there are some more obscure Championships out there… could these two unlikely heroes make their dreams come true, and be recognised as the best shin kickers in the world? Not if Rory McGrath has anything to do with it! In addition to the Cotswold Olympicks and their shin-kicking, Dirs and Fordyce try snail racing, wife carrying, nettle eating, and many more weird and wonderful events. The only thing they have in common is the humour which the pair see in all of them.

Okay, first things first. I read about half of this book in my local library because I was so engrossed I couldn’t even tear myself away for the ten minutes it would have taken me to get it out and walk home to carry on reading it. Eventually, I gave in to public demand caused by my continued loud laughter and beat a hasty retreat to finish from the comfort of my sofa, narrowly avoiding a pair of elderly ladies with a scary resemblance to a duo of harpies who seemed intent on forming a lynch mob. My personal highlights include the shin kicking bout against comedian McGrath, the wife carrying championships, and the pair’s contrasting methods of training racing snails.

Overall this is a richly comic story of England – for the most part, at least, although the pair do venture abroad for a couple of their challenges – and its glorious eccentrics, ranging from Simon Sleigh, desperate to see his world record for nettle eating broken, to the peashooter who glumly states that the sport is becoming like Formula 1, all about who’s got the most jazzed up peashooter rather than about skill.

A really strong recommendation to all readers.

Further reading suggestion: The two narrators’ gentle humour is similar to that of Bill Bryson, and I’m sure fans of the book would love his autobiography, The Life and Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid.

Buy We Could be Heroes: One Van, Two Blokes and Twelve World Championships by Tom Fordyce and Ben Dirs at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy We Could be Heroes: One Van, Two Blokes and Twelve World Championships by Tom Fordyce and Ben Dirs at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy We Could be Heroes: One Van, Two Blokes and Twelve World Championships by Tom Fordyce and Ben Dirs at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy We Could be Heroes: One Van, Two Blokes and Twelve World Championships by Tom Fordyce and Ben Dirs at Amazon.com.


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