There is no better way to escape, than with characters who want to escape. By the time I’d snorted through the pages here I’d almost booked the tickets. Mexico!  Magarita’s salty rim beckoned, daquiris extra icy and enough Dos Equis to kill a donkey.

Easing us through the drug hazed bacchanalia of Joseph Ridgwell’s Burrito Deluxe is a simple back story which anchors all his motives. There’s Stupid the talking cat, crazy friends, love to end and his even crazier partner in all things dodgy, Ronnie. Life for him and Joe has reached that point of no return. Fed up with the fucked up and monotonous trap of life in the city, they need out and will do all they can to achieve it. Though what answers lie in the “thin embroidery of foam cascading across our feet as we walked across dark sand”. Will they find the ‘Lost Elation’, that feeling better than any drug on the planet.

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cover art by Jose Arroyo

The lines blur between reality and fiction. As a writer, this is what Joseph Ridgwell does so well. Exaggeration, so far fetched it becomes real. Like a twisted autobiography, Joe narrates the best bits of his adventures and tells them with truth, lies and style. The humour in the face of drama is pure delight. No bodily function is left ignored. It’s also filled with enough shags and rhyming slang to keep you satiated, to keep it real, to keep it London. Exotic to me but old grass is greener and wins every time and an iguana awaits.

I made so many expressions reading this book that I could’ve won a gurning competition. Strangers wanted to know what I was reading  “Burrito Deluxe of course” Joseph Ridgwell is the new beat in this beaten generation. Ronnie and Joe my favourite freaks. I read some of the funniest breakups, stuff ups and heartfelt conversations. The craziest with the man with the Bowiesque eyes. His banter, questionable morals and energy is infectious. Ronnie is a gangster super hero, 007 with a joint. Joe, his grasshopper. Whenever Ronnie turns up, it’s white knuckle time, adrenalin inking through every chapter. Their adventures beat faster than a paranoid heart.

This is what travel books should be like. These are the adventures we all should seek, maybe not exactly like Joe’s cause at times the word ‘nasty’ would flash in bright lights as I swung smirking in my imaginary hammock. As an adventure dream guide it is perfect. Super smart dialogue, effortless and mucho romantic. Lord Byron’s gentle winds, climes and skies loom close by the sun kissed bare and salty skin of the people Joe meets. This story made me smile large through the sheer cockiness of it’s protagonist, and his infectious lust for life. Joseph is an enigma, his novel’s soundtrack a beautiful timeless cheesy groove with perfect balance. How well do you really know your friends? How far do you follow? Is the grass really greener? Their Carlos Casteneda brush with psychedelics reveals almost a supernatural allure, an awakening. Their altered states on the beach of the dead is brilliant, with it’s rolling horses, the force of nature, the shifting sands, questioning the minuscule part in existence we play.

Technology fatigue is a real syndrome, we should do more sitting back in a breeze and read books like these then stare into screens distracted by facebook notifications. Get your copy here and read more about Joseph Ridgwell via his blog

3 comments

  1. I am on a Summer mission, read Pete’s new book, read Tim Winton’s last novel, that I have been meaning to read for two years, read Joe’s new novel. Get fit and start surfing again, rage against the machine, any machine, write shit.

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