A love-match at the fishmonger's, a cricket-match between Ladies and Gentlemen in the Suburbs, the Midsummer Night's Dream of a liberal park-keeper, life at a haulage cafe and in a goldfish bowl and among a group of artful dog-loving didgers, Robin Hoods of the building trade with the London streets their greenwood glade, free masons indeed - these are some of the seasonings of William Sansom's new book of what he feels can perhaps best be called 'ballads'. Ballads because they recount stirring times, ballads because the prose is rhythmic and sometimes rhymes. The tread of the iambic varies from a stedying tragic foot to jingling of a lyrical, even a music-hall flavour.
Footloose and fancy-free, these. And what they entend is an evolcation of the heroic and the magic among ordinary people, in ordinary lives that are themselves a mixture of pathos and bathos, wit and facetiousness, whose imperfect loveable brio cannot ever be kept from bubbling, in good or bad taste, over.