Many people perceive the job of a chauffeur in L.A. as glamorous and exciting. As, Max, the jaded, somewhat misanthropic young man in these stories set in 1978 says, "They don't know s**t. ... Maybe it's different now, but I doubt it. When I did it, it was airport pick-ups and drop-offs, catnapping in LAX terminals or the front seat, hanging around the car-barn waiting for a ride, idling in underground garage gas-chambers at some awards show, enduring the boring old Gomers who want to tell you what it was like to drive Jack Dempsey or Betty Grable or some other corpse nobody remembers, and long nights in parking lots behind some restaurant, arena, or concert hall. Very glamorous." If you're looking for beginnings, middles, and ends, don't bother. A driver lives a life of starts and stops, episodes and vignettes, with very few happy endings. Take a ride through Los Angeles with Max in the days of posers, power-brokers, Peruvian "pep rallies," and big-hair bands. (Adult language)
Covering the hilly north-west part of the county from the Cheshire border to the valley of the River Trent south of Newcastle-under-Lyme, this volume treats parishes that lie mostly on the North Staffordshire coalfield and where both coal and ironstone mining and iron making became important, especially in the nineteenth century. A rich archive has been used to illustrate the origins of this industrial activity in the Middle Ages, when the area was characterised by scattered settlements with an important manorial complex and a grand fourteenth-century church at Audley, a hunting lodge for the Stafford lords at Madeley, a small borough at Betley, and at Keele and Trentham religious houses which became landed estates with mansion houses after the Dissolution. In the nineteenth century Trentham gained fame for its spectacular gardens created by the immensely rich dukes of Sutherland, and Keele rose to prominence in 1950 as the site of Britain's first campus university. After coalmining ceased in the twentieth century several villages and mining hamlets acquired large housing estates, which in Trentham parish have been taken into Stoke-on-Trent. Many residents are now commuters, who take advantage of the M6 motorway and its link road to the Potteries cutting through this corner of the county. Nigel Tringham is County Editor for VCH Stafforshire and lecturer in history at the University of Keele.