Moore, Tim 1964-
MOORE, Tim 1964-
PERSONAL: Born 1964; married; children: three.
ADDRESSES: Home—West London, England. Agent— c/o Author Mail, St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.
Frost on My Moustache: The Arctic Exploits of a Lord and a Loafer, Abacus (London, England), 1999, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.
The Grand Tour: The European Adventure of a Continental Drifter, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2001, published as Continental Drifter: Taking the Low Road with the First Grand Tourist, Abacus (London, England), 2001.
French Revolutions, Yellow Jersey (London, England), 2001, published as French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Do Not Pass "Go": From the Old Kent Road to Mayfair, Yellow Jersey (London, England), 2002.
Spanish Steps: One Man and His Ass on the Pilgrimage Way to Santiago, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 2004, published as Travels with My Donkey: One Man and His Ass on the Pilgrimage Way to Santiago, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, including London Daily Telegraph, Observer, and Sunday Times.
SIDELIGHTS: British travel writer Tim Moore has created unique strategies for approaching his journeys before writing down accounts of his experiences in his books. His first book, Frost on My Moustache: The Arctic Exploits of a Lord and a Loafer, relates how Moore tried to follow the same course traveled by Victorian aristocrat Lord Dufferin in 1856. Dufferin, along with his wife and crew, set out on his yacht toward the Arctic archipelago of Spitzbergen, visiting Iceland and Norway as they went, before returning home to Scotland. He recorded his adventures in his autobiographical Letters from High Latitudes, a copy of which fell into Moore's hands.
Moore made the trip some 140 years later, but without benefit of Dufferin's fancy yacht. Instead, Moore traveled by cargo ship and plane, bike, bus, motor boat, cruise ship, and rubber dinghy. He began in Ireland after meeting the current Lady Dufferin. Dufferin had crossed part of Iceland on horseback; Moore rode a bike.
In his book Moore pokes mild fun at those he meets, as well as at himself. He recalls his three days in the Shetlands that they "marked the lowest point of my short career as an adventurer. I was going south when I should have been going north, back in Britain drinking Tartan in breezeblock pubs when I should have been standing, proud and alone, at the foot of Jan Mayen's volcano." Moore writes of his misery, brought about by seasickness, encounters with whales and polar bears, both dead and alive, frigid weather, and homemade alcohol.
Booklist critic David Pitt compared Moore's travelogue to the work of Bill Bryson and Tim Cahill, calling it "literary travel writing with a heavy dose of wit." A Publishers Weekly contributor made the comparison to Cahill, too, and also to Dave Barry, noting that Moore "presents himself as the ever-complaining curmudgeon." And Geographical writer Melanie Train felt that "despite Moore's incompetence compared to the almost almighty Dufferin, this book provides an excellent overview of the countries and places the two adventurers visit." Train declared Frost on My Moustache "a laugh-a-minute, unputdownable book."
Moore documents his retracing of the trip of another traveler in The Grand Tour: The European Adventure of a Continental Drifter. Thomas Coryate established the "Grand Tour" when centuries earlier he traveled from London to Venice and back, visiting forty-five cities along the way. Although the tour came to be an adventure enjoyed by the monied classes, Coryate had no income and a limited budget. In making his way across Europe, he begged, borrowed, and stole, and he documented his adventures in Coryate's Crudities. Moore did not fare much better. He started out wearing an old velvet suit and driving a pink Rolls-Royce. He took with him a smelly nylon tent. He feasted on fast food and endlessly sought out public toilets, usually finding them in a McDonald's restaurant. Chris Martin, writing in another Geographical article, noted that "Coryate meets a tragic end. Moore simply grows weary of what turns out to be hard and lonely traveling. Nonetheless, there are some genuine and hilarious adventures along the way."
French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France is a chronicle of the inexperienced and unprepared Moore's attempt to cycle the 2000 Tour de France course. Booklist reviewer David Pitt called the book "not so much a travelogue as a travel situation comedy. Like the protagonist of a sitcom, things just keep happening to Moore." Moore writes of his and others' use of performance-enhancing drugs and of a history of doping in cycling, including the use of cocaine flakes that are dropped onto the tongues of cyclists as they ride by. Moore cheated by beginning six weeks before the official start, then eliminated the first four hundred miles of the 2,256-mile circuit. He bypassed steep climbs and walked others. But his endurance increased, and he successfully ascended the Cols de Galibier and Izoard in the Alps. Moore completed 1,863 miles by the time he reached Paris. A Kirkus Reviews critic said that the narrative is carried by Moore's history of the Tour, writing that "from Paul Kimmage's race laundry tips to Bernard Hinault's champagne-filled water bottles, interesting detail abounds."
Do Not Pass "Go": From the Old Kent Road to Mayfair is Moore's travelogue based on the real estate found on the game board of the British version of Monopoly. The game was created in 1936 by a company manager from Leeds who knew very little about London. At the time, London was the most populated city on Earth, with nine million people, and Moore questions the reasoning behind choosing some of the sites for the game. Other sites are good choices, according to the author, including the Café de Paris, a nightclub located on Coventry Street purported to be the meeting place of the Prince of Wales and Wallis Simpson. "But frankly," he says, "it's as good a way as any to explore London, and there are fascinating stories for every single street."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Moore, Tim, Frost on My Moustache: The Arctic Exploits of a Lord and a Loafer, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.
Moore, Tim, Do Not Pass "Go": From the Old Kent Road to Mayfair, Yellow Jersey (London, England), 2002.
Booklist, December 1, 1999, David Pitt, review of Frost on My Moustache: The Arctic Exploits of a Lord and a Loafer, p. 682; May 1, 2002, David Pitt, review of French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France, p. 1499.
Bookseller, August 2, 2002, review of Do Not Pass "Go": From the Old Kent Road to Mayfair, p. 31.
Geographical, April, 1999, Melanie Train, review of Frost on My Moustache, p. 67; March, 2001, Chris Martin, review of Continental Drifter: Taking the Low Road with the First Grand Tourist, p. 92.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2002, review of French Revolutions, p. 549.
Library Journal, February 1, 2000, John Kenny, review of Frost on My Moustache, p. 108; August, 2001, Stephanie Papa, review of The Grand Tour: The European Adventure of a Continental Drifter,
New Statesman, July 16, 2001, Henry Sheen, review of French Revolutions, p. 57.
Publishers Weekly, December 20, 1999, review of Frost on My Moustache, p. 68; June 18, 2001, review of The Grand Tour, p. 76.
Times Literary Supplement, May 7, 1999, John Spurling, review of Frost on My Moustache, p. 27.
Shetland Times Ltd. Online,http://www.shetlandtoday.co.uk/ (April, 1999), review of Frost on My Moustache.*