After spending many a month near the bottom of the plethora of books and DVDs stacked precariously high on my desk, Silverstone Shadows has been set free – free for me to cast my reviewing eyes upon.
Why the delay? Well, my inquisitive reader, it’s a case of too many items too little time. Plus, if I’m totally honest, the quick leaf through I gave it upon arrival did little to whet my appetite as it looked like it was nothing more than a scrapbook of pictures.
Perhaps I was missing something? Maybe some of the pages had fallen out? Oh no, it appears that is all there is to Silverstone Shadows: an unpublished set of pictures from within the paddock and pits of the British Grands Prix between 1985 and 1997.
And to be honest, you can probably see why most of these pictures have never seen the light of day before. They’re largely out of focus, blurry, and well, to be frank, largely boring to look at – think less Darren Heath and more Darren Day.
On the basis of what’s made it into the book, author Bryan Apps must have photographed every square inch of the paddock on the days when he attended the British Grands Prix – as guest of Ken Tyrrell – for there are plenty of shots of transporters, leading figures and many, many, pictures of cars proceeding down the pit lane.
Frustratingly, his attendance coincided with some spectacular wins for Nigel Mansell, and one each by Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert, and yet, because he only witnessed the Friday practice sessions, this is a book that’s devoid of any drama or excitement and completely fails to live up to the book’s subtitle “closer to the action.”
Some may suggest that the amateur nature of the pictures is part of the appeal, and that it offers a realistic insight into how things were in Formula 1 before the corporate tentacles of PR enveloped it. But I for one don’t buy that for a second.
It seems to me that Silverstone Shadows is nothing more than an attempt to capitalise on a set of bog-standard pictures that would normally end up on Flickr. As a coffee table book it’s just about passable – which is my not-so subtle way of indicating its superficial approach to the subject. Avoid.
|Hardcover: 144 pages||ISBN: 978-0857040626|
|Publisher: Halsgrove (4 Oct 2010)||Price: £19.99|
|Silverstone Shadows is available to buy at Amazon and local stockists or, in case of difficulty, from Halsgrove Direct on 01823 653777.|