Review: Turn Left - The Unofficial & Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who Road Signs / Author: Andy X Cable / Publisher: Miwk Publishing / Release date: 25th March
Andy X Cable used to work in Tesco, can’t grow cress and once had a collection of Doctor Who-related items that got him into a lot of trouble, but not before three million people had visited the website where he posted it. Now Miwk Publishing have turned his replacement collection into a book.
You might be forgiven for thinking that a volume listing every road sign in the country with a vaguely Doctor Who-related name might be somewhat thin, both in terms of volume and of interest, but nothing could be further from the truth. Turn Left is brimful of surprises, the detailing of the road signs themselves nothing more than a backdrop, both to a rather pertinent, occasionally scathing, often loving and always on-the-money critique of the series itself, and to the story of Andy X Cable’s life – a story that is both amusing (the level of humour in the book, far from being one-note, is actually rather sophisticated much of the time), and oddly moving, too. In fact, Turn Left almost functions as an antithesis to Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch, with fanaticism and family life existing hand in glove, and even informing one another to the extent that neither would be of value without the other. It’s a book that ultimately disproves the notion that Doctor Who fans are broadly both rather humourless and lacking in self-awareness... except, of course, that that’s the story that Turn Left tells in order to prove this point. It’s a fabulous conceit and beautifully achieved.
Turn Left is also illustrated throughout with some exceptionally amusing, fairly mischievous and rather child-like (if wickedly accurate) line drawings, all from the pen of Mr Cable himself. And it’s a book that, unless you are one of those aforementioned humourless fans, you really won’t want to be left behind by.
When I first heard about this book, I had a feeling that I might like it, that it might appeal to my own, slightly leftfield, sense of humour. I was wrong. Turn Left exceeds every expectation I had. I absolutely adore it.