Band on the Bus

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Oct 2017

Member Reviews

Ahhh! Back in the good old days when us young'ins were wild and free! I think most of us of a certain age will read this book with great nostalgia of our own roamin' days! We hitched all over the US, Canada, Mexico. Hiked and hitched all over Europe and Asia! So many good memories of places and people; so many experiences- good and bad. These lucky ducks did it better than most of us! Good for them! Great story; fun read!
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I enjoyed the story of the group of friends, the Philanderers,  on their trip. The book definitely felt like a trip back in time that they were all together. It was heavy with all the descriptions and that could have been trimmed down. I think the author really wanted the reader to "feel" what all of them felt in those years of traveling together and the ups and downs of travel at that time. I enjoyed all the different places they went from the US to Australia to was an amazing journey.
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Band on the Bus tells the tale of a group of friends from England in 1969 who outfitted a double decker bus and traveled all around the world.  The story itself is very entertaining, but the book goes into WAY too much detail about extraneous items and issues that take away from the base story.  Take out about 150 pages and a lot of details about various mechanical issues, etc. with the bus, and the book would be a lot stronger.  My favorite part of the book was the descriptions of the places the group visited and the people they encountered on their way.  This type of trip couldn’t happen today, and I enjoyed reading about their adventures.  Thanks to Trafalgar Square Publishing  and NetGalley for this ARC.  All opinions are my own.
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In October of 1969 some young men from England set off to travel the world in a double decker bus. How charming is that? Certainly as charming as the cover itself which is quite a lot. And a great idea too, something that wouldn't be possible today probably. They acquired sponsors along the way and promoted products and sang folk songs to earn their way. The journey took 34 months and really did span the globe. I love travelogues and this one sounded great and ended up being just good, which is still something. Took me a while to get through, mainly due to time constraints, since this was a quick and easy read. The account as told by the band's informal leader is lighthearted, but it didn't have that distinct British humorous angle to it one might expect and, at times, sounded too much like an itinerary, lists instead of observations. The latter is understandable, since the guys really did do a lot of things and met a lot of individuals in a lot of different locales. But...but...I read travelogues for the sheer pleasure of vicarious travels and to learn more about different cultures and places and this one often didn't quite get there busying itself with the minutiae and logistics . It does inspire a certain wanderlust, though, so in a way it did work. The concept and the fact that it actually took place is pretty awesome. The story of it is a light diverting read. Thanks Netgalley.
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It isn't meant to be history, but in many ways it is -- the world that The Philanderers traveled in no longer exists and their trip would not be possible. I love that the book begins in New York but I immediately found myself bewildered - the landmarks they came across on arrival aren't landmarks that still exist. Their airline doesn't exist -- but Idlewild was already JFK.

I think this book is too long, there's a lot of unnecessary detail that could/should have been culled as it takes away from the story, but the story itself is very good. I enjoyed their travels, it's way to see a world that ended as I was a child/before I was born. 

A good read and I'd recommend it, but I think it could have been better.
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I had never heard of "The Philanderers," a group of nine friends from England who accepted a dare in a pub to travel the world in a red double-decker bus. Their journey began in 1969 and ended in 1972. Quite frankly, I am overwhelmed with facts, figures, friends and places after reading this almost 400 page book. Chief Philanderer Richard King authored this tome, culled from his own memories as well as the diaries, letters and writings of some of his fellow Philanderers. 

Together they purchased an old red British double-decker bus and outfitted it with bunk beds (upstairs) with kitchen and seating downstairs. The only thing it didn't have was a toilet (because no one wanted to clean it)! It was truly mind boggling and impressive to read about all the machinations that took place in order to achieve this trip. For instance, they had no money. Richard King was the mastermind in coming up with ways to finance the trip. He worked tirelessly to secure sponsorships for the trip in exchange for promoting British and other products in their travels. They would secure signage from these products to their bus as well as perform as a folk musical act in stores, on television shows and radio spots. They also would scout for gigs they could randomly make spare change from while going from town to country. They literally lived hand to mouth and were financially hanging by a thread much of the time, but through their sheer tenacity and resourcefulness would triumph through some sort of work, the kindness of people they met along the way, or temporary support from family at home. 

The guys would play Irish bawdy folk songs wearing bowler hats and it was a bit of a gimmick, especially when it was an outdoor thing and they could use the British double-decker bus as a backdrop. The bus traveled across oceans and ferries, was challenged by too low underpasses, the need for certain permits, and the many mechanical breakdowns of the bus itself. Luckily, one of the band members was quite handy with diagnosing and making his own bus repairs. In addition to monetary, mechanical and permit issues, there were also needs for all kinds of paperwork to navigate the various countries (like when they stayed in Australia for such a long time that they had to get new Australian bus plates). There were always issues of where they could park the bus and they often stayed in campgrounds.

One of the curious elements of reading this book was the wonder of some of the places they were visiting. They traveled through Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan! What a different world it was back then that they could do that. They also were workhorses travelling the whole of the United States, from New York to California and even Canada...fulfilling a contract to perform. It is truly amazing to fathom the journey this bus and its members went on...a once in a lifetime experience.

I was overwhelmed three quarters into the book by the sheer breadth of information discussed. It became too tedious. Perhaps the book could have been edited down a bit more so as not to weary the reader. Sometimes less is more.
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