Yorkshire Wisdom contains a collection of unforgettable quotations from some of the county’s most celebrated sons and daughters. There is, however, a slight twist. Being a Yorkshire-born book, it only felt natural to keep things grounded and also provide a platform for all the ‘ordinary’ tykes out there with something to say.
Sheffield firefighter and author Joe Moorwood made it his mission to unearth some genuine pearls of wisdom from ‘regular’ Yorkshire men and women across the region. Their quotations now rightly share the stage, or rather the page, with the words of those already guaranteed a place in Yorkshire folklore.
Yorkshire Wisdom is full of inspiring and insightful quotations from the likes of Alan Bennett, Gary from Leeds, The Bronte sisters, Ian the plumber, Jarvis Cocker, Elaine from Rotherham, Dame Judy Dench, database administrator Bob, Ted Hughes and many many more.
From the insightful to the amusing and from the inspiring to the downright obscure, the good people of Yorkshire are rarely short of an opinion.
How Yorkshire Wisdom came to be
In October 2013, much to my surprise, I had my first book published, The Yorkshire Meaning of Liff – a dictionary of things there should be words for. This regional gift title was inspired (and endorsed) by John Lloyd’s and Douglas Adams’ original cult-classic, The Meaning of Liff.
Several months later, with the whole thing still feeling somewhat surreal, my publishers asked if I had any ideas for a second book. After a brief fantasy about penning the next best-selling international crime thriller, it quickly became apparent that another quirky Yorkshire-based gift title was what they required. Fair enough, and still exciting.
I set to work racking my brains… Yorkshire, God’s own county, industry, dramatic scenery, no nonsense, flat caps, bitter, Yorkshire pudding, chips n gravy, under-achieving football clubs, whippets. I soon had a long list of clichés and not much else.
Eventually, I started thinking about people. It’s the people that make Yorkshire so distinct. A long list of famous tykes quickly followed, and I was suitably awestruck at its quality and quantity. I then gravitated towards the idea of a famous Yorkshire quotes book. As I got to work researching my celebrity “pearls”, however, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was amiss.
The world, and indeed Yorkshire, is not lacking in words of wisdom, as I confirmed during my research (I also stumbled across quite a few forgettable ones that somehow snuck through the net). History has left a trail of astute and enlightening quotes, spoken, sung or penned by those who have lived far from ordinary lives – the celebrities, the big achievers, those in the limelight. And as I collated my quotes, I was reassured by the impressive contributions made by my long list of Yorkshire legends.
So, why this nagging feeling, this sense that my idea was missing something. Then it struck me. What about the rest of us. Is it right that only a select few, an elite if you will, should dominate my Yorkshire-themed book. That didn’t seem very “tyke-like” to me. What about the vast majority of Britain’s largest county, have they got anything else to add, anything worth sharing – anything worth putting in a book. Over the next few months, with my publisher’s deadline looming, I made it my mission to find out.
Joe Moorwood, has a way with words and an eye for the amusing. Something that founder of QI, John Lloyd, recognised and encouraged with The Yorkshire Meaning of Liff:
“After 40 years in radio and television, I think I’m right in saying I have never produced a show, directed a movie or got involved in a book based on a script sent to me out of the blue by someone I’ve never met. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s never happened yet. Until now, that is.”