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Jackson, Rob (editor) – The Pasty Anthology



The Pasty Anthology (edited by Rob Jackson)

A note to the American readers who have never watched any tv shows or read anything from the UK: pasties look like calzones, but with (I’m guessing here) fruits and cheeses inside.  They look to be a bit much for a breakfast food, assuming that’s all they are, but what do I know?  This is an anthology, with all of the stories theoretically dealing with pasties.  First up is  a story by Steve Butler which relates a conversation between two friends.  One of them is going to get a pasty, the other has been told by his girlfriend that he has to lose some weight so goes off to get something healthier.  Without giving anything away, it has an excellent ending.  Next up is a piece by Francesca Cassavetti about… chewing gum.  Nope, no pasties in that one.  It’s still a great story, dealing with being told as a child that swallowed gum always stays in your stomach and eventually kills you.  Jim Medway is next with a unique perspective, as he has a week in the life of a pasty clerk told through the faces of the recurring customers.  The next piece by Dave Hughes deals with an obsessive young man, making his pasty and having everything planned out just so, only to have it all ruined by gravity.  Our hero Rob Jackson has the central piece in the comic, dealing with the Greggs and their role in inventing and then improving pasties over the years.  As I have no idea how much of this is historical I’m just going to leave it alone, but it’s an excellent story either way.  Next is… hey, who put a text piece in here?  There’s a three page story by Anthony Mercer called Devil in a Blue Tabard and, as a sucker for the hard-boiled stuff, I loved it.  It’s all about a pasty shop, a missing young woman, a grimy detective and a very shiny worker.  Dave Hughes has another piece next, this time dealing with a pasty festival, a pasty eating contest and the effect this contest has on the wife of one of the contestants.  Finally there’s another text piece, this time by Matt Badham, dealing with the Japanese equivalent of the pasty (sort of), the natto.   It took me a second after reading this to get the catch of the story, and it’s wonderful in an anthology like this, so there’s no way I’m going to ruin it.  Good stuff all around, which is more than you can ask for from anthologies.   I think it should also come with a free pasty so we can get an idea of exactly what they’re like, but I have no idea how that would work in the real world.  No price, but I’m guessing it’s around $4.