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Christopher Matthew is the author of Now We Are Sixty, When We Were Fifty and The Man Who Dropped the Le Creuset on his Toe. He lives in London and Suffolk.
From Ozymandias the Steve McQueen of Springers whose acrobatic sex life rivals Errol Flynn's, to terrier Ted, whose Falstaffian appetites (and over-indulgence following the loyal toast) lead to a shameful bender followed by a spell in re-hab, man's best friend comes in many guises, not all of them benign. In his latest collection of sly verse, Christopher Matthew celebrates the canine world in all its glorious diversity - and takes a sidelong glance at the human one along the way. Travelling from Camp Bastion to West Wittering via a sunlit Greek island, Matthew's compendium embraces comedy, tragedy and personalities great and small. There are exuberant, rear-fixated puppies and neglected latchkey dogs, there are dignified mongrel strays, war-heroes, a psychotic Great Dane called Cher Bebe and a top-drawer spaniel of theatrical lineage with Uggie-envy. And then there is man, with his cowardice, his commitment issues, his short attention span and his propensity for very silly names...The great question Matthew circles in this gloriously entertaining gallop through one of the world's great auld alliances, therefore, is not so much who is the master in this relationship, as who is the mutt. Touching, wicked, clever and kind, Dog Treats will bring delight and recognition to dog-lovers everywhere.
Stepping into the lower deck of Christopher Matthew's Triple-Decker Treat, we discover that not only can a Le Creuset casserole be very dangerous in the wrong hands, but so too can Pilates, open-air opera in evening dress, weekending in Wales with a pug, and pushing a trolley in Waitrose. Next deck up, we meet a menagerie of assorted dogs - among them a spaniel who was once a big star of TV commercials, a Camp Bastion war hero, an overweight pug with ambitions to be a sheepdog and a psychotic Great Dane called Cher Bebe. Finally, on the top deck, we negotiate the pleasures and pitfalls of romance in later years. Love is revealed in the most unlikely places, with the most unlikely people seeking it. Often very funny and always touching, these delightful and stirring verses about cast-iron cookware, rear-fixated puppies and late-flowering love are a celebration of everything life has to offer.
Daunted by the prospect of old age? Fearful of becoming a silly old fool? 'No need,' says Christopher Matthew. He has just hit eighty. He plays golf; walks the dog; has all his own hair; doesn't need a hearing aid, and no one ever stands up for him on crowded buses and tubes. By his own lights a late middle ager who intends to remain so. No one likes the idea of getting old, but in this wry, thoughtful and very funny guide to life in the last lane, the author of the million-selling Now We Are Sixty will surely persuade all late middle agers that they have a lot more to look forward to than they might imagine.
'It's never too late to have a fling, for autumn is just as nice as spring . . .' Christopher Matthew's latest collection of canny comic verse negotiates the perils and pitfalls of romance in later years. Love is revealed in the most unlikely places, with the most improbable people seeking it. Whether in Dorking, Diss, Clapham Junction or West Wittering, there are amorous opportunities waiting to be seized at the bridge table, on the tennis court, in the herbaceous border, on a bicycle made for two, or simply in warm companionship. Often hilarious and always touching, these delightful and stirring tales of late-flowering love (and even mild debauchery in a retirement home) are a celebration of life for the young at heart. And never again will you take the 49 bus without a sideways glance at the driver.
Throughout the ages, mankind has been fascinated by the ruins of previous societies. The desire to gain a greater understanding of our past has driven archaeologists, artists, and scholars from across the world to study the vestiges of lifestyles that have vanished in an attempt to capture their mystique and beauty. Originally intended as an examination of the rise and fall of the state hospital system, Matthew Christopher's Abandoned America rapidly grew to encompass derelict factories and industrial sites, schools, churches, power plants, hospitals, prisons, military installations, hotels, resorts, homes, and more. Through his collection of writing and photography, Christopher has spent the last decade documenting the ruins of one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever known: our own. Exploring sites like the charred remains of the Hotel Do De, the rusted cells of the Essex County Jail Annex, the sublime majesty of the Church of the Transfiguration, or the eerie and dilapidated remnants of the New Castle Elks Lodge, the work spans architectural treasures left to the elements and then all too often lost forever. Matthew Christopher's body of work is a powerful statement about job loss, cultural legacy, urban blight, the artistic/architectural context of iconic buildings, and historic preservation. In light of the collapse of American industry and the subsequent economic meltdown, the relevance of these topics has never been more important to an examination of America's national identity.
The path trodden by the middle-aged middle classes in Britain, smooth though it may appear to the less privileged, is in reality a peculiarly dangerous one, dogged by its own set of terrors, pitfalls and opportunities for social humiliation. In The Man Who Dropped the Le Creuset on his Toe Christopher Matthew follows up the huge success of Now We Are Sixty with a collection of mordant, witty, cautionary verses on the subject of the British bourgeoisie and its foibles and failings. Not only can expensive, enamelled, cast-iron cookware be very dangerous in the wrong hands, but so too can Pilates, open-air opera in evening dress, weekending in Wales with a pug, gastro-tourism in Tuscany, the mid-life parachute jump as an alternative to physiotherapy, and pushing a trolley in Waitrose. As for the middle-aged Lothario's quest for a younger, Mark Two model, this can all too often end in ignominy rather than fun and games and feather boas in Cap Ferrat. Sharply observed and gloriously mischievous, The Man Who Dropped the Le Creuset on his Toe gently punctures the pride and sense of entitlement enjoyed by the pesto-loving middle classes.
For those turning sixty, this new edition of Christopher Matthew's tribute to A. A. Milne's classic poems contains fresh material as well as the old favourites. 'A wonderful present to sixty-year-olds' Auberon Waugh, Daily Telegraph When Christopher was six, the poems of Milne were always on hand to reassure him that other children were just as puzzled and naughty and silly as he was, and that grown-ups could be even sillier. When he turned sixty, he decided it was high time there was an equally reassuring volume for those of his generation who were not only more confused than ever, but were losing their teeth, their hair and, all too often, their car keys. What he did twenty years ago was to take some of Milne's best-loved poems from Now We Are Six for an older audience, with results that are often hilarious, sometimes rueful and always thought-provoking. Some verses are about realising one is not as young as one once thought, and not feeling quite as chipper as one once did; while others address some of the more disconcerting problems of modern life such as mobile telephones on trains, unsocial behaviour, traffic jams and the internet.