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Frost on my Moustache: The Arctic Exploits of a Lord and a Loafer [Paperback]

Tim Moore
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 9 2001
Guided by the fastidious journals of an eminent Victorian adventurer by the name of Lord Dufferin, Time Moore sets off to prove his mettle in the most stunningly inhospitable place on Earth-the Arctic. Armed only with his searing wit, wicked humor, and seasickness pills, our pale suburbanite-wracked by second thoughts of tactical retreat-confronts mind-numbing cold, blood-thirsty polar bears, a convoy of born-again Vikings, and, perhaps most chilling of all, herring porridge. When he is not humiliating himself through displays of ignorance and incompetence, Moore casts a sharp eye on the local flora and fauna, immersing readers in the splendors and wonders of this treacherously beautiful region.

A deliciously and inexhaustibly funny book, Frost on My Moustache deserves to be placed alongside those by Evelyn Waugh, Eric Newby, and Bill Bryson.

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From Amazon

In the 1850s, a wealthy British philanthropist by the name of Lord Dufferin sailed his yacht into the Arctic Circle and wrote the bestselling travelogue Letters from High Latitudes. In the 1990s, British writer Tim Moore decided to follow Dufferin's steps--by boat, plane, and bike. This retracing of Dufferin's travels across Iceland, into Norway, and to Spitzbergen (prompted when Moore reads the Lord's 19th-century memoir) is told in a lively, self-deprecating style and starts out brimming with funny anecdotes and interesting tidbits, particularly about Iceland, a report-happy land where the government commissions studies about "the effects of centrifugal force at roundabouts" and where "53 percent of the Icelanders believe in elves."

While Moore continues to unleash an often funny ramble about his northern excursion, something happens mid-book around the time he learns he's lost a work-related lawsuit back in England: perhaps Moore's mind is disintegrating in the polar blasts or he's lost his will to sustain an audience, but the writer's style becomes more manic, his recorded observations are frequently peppered with the base and crude, and his obsession changes from the travels of Lord Dufferin to the fate of one of Dufferin's colleagues, Wilson. The same writing voice that keeps one amused through the first half of the book starts to annoy by the end, as Moore stops providing much relevant info, and instead goes on at great lengths about the price of hot dogs, his nights of drinking and frequent bouts of nausea. Too disgusting in parts to warrant a recommendation to those easily shocked, this jumbled travelogue is nevertheless an often entertaining look into Tim Moore's personal Arctic madness. --Melissa Rossi --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Deciding to re-create the 1850s Icelandic and Scandinavian travels of English Lord Dufferin, Moore sets out to learn about Dufferin, his time, and his motivation by visiting his home and descendants. Moore's description of his stay at the ancestral manor reveals a fascinating lifestyle known to few. As the author travels, he continues to share his very personal reactions to people, places, local history, and situations. While most of his travel is undertaken on a variety of ships, no shipping company is liable to use any of his descriptions in advertising. Moore's writing seems fashioned after a combination of Dave Barry's glib, exaggerated style and Billy Connelly's mental gymnastics. Obviously brilliant, clever, and thoroughly comedic, Moore shares his adventures both in detailed reality and in delusional mind trips. Sounding a little like the supremely talented John Cleese, Richard Greenwood reads it all beautifully. This Monty Python approach is fun for adults, who won't take it too seriously or even try to follow it closely. Expensive, but entertaining, the program contains profanity, hygiene humor, drinking, and sexual innuendo. Not recommended for school libraries or collections used predominately by children. Carolyn Alexander, Brigadoon Lib., Salinas, CA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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We were met at Belfast International Airport by Lady Dufferin's archivist, Lola Armstrong. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Whinging and Cringing After Dufferin June 19 2003
By Ivy
It says everything about this book, really, that the title comes from an intensely colloquial joke that is too obscene to repeat here. Frost on My Moustache is a travel humor book that focuses far more on humor and cursing than it does on the travel. But what it lacks in actual information it more than makes up for in laughter - the kind of oh-god-just-let-me-take-another-breath laughter that can lead to hospitalization, insanity, and inexplicable joy. However, Moore - and his book - aren't for everyone.
Moore is very colloquially British - he uses lots of pop culture references that will not be obvious to most Americans (or Europeans or Australians or...). He's also very much like a certain kind of aging college student: perpetually intoxicated, foul-mouthed, inclined to rant and whine. But despite it all, he's lots of fun, and while you might not like him, you'll love reading about his travels.
The word that most often gets used in Tim Moore book reviews is "Bryson." The comparisons between Tim Moore and Bill Bryson are apparently unavoidable. And, to a certain extent, they hold true: both writers are very funny, both are extremely tightfisted, both spend an awful lot of time complaining. But Moore is not Bryson. At most, he could be described as an embryo Bryson - he hasn't yet learned the secrets of a wide appeal, a cultivated air, or a dignified approach to life. Moore curses, he wails, he throws regular temper tantrums, he's sulky and lazy and fixated. And he eats a lot of hot dogs. Don't expect thoughtful cultural exposition, insightful observations, or descriptions of the local cuisine from him.
But I promise you: if you pick up Frost on My Moustache, you will experience frequent bouts of all-out hysteria. This book is well worth buying and reading, not once, but again and again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mmm, disgustingly good Sept. 8 2001
By simon i
According to Amazon, this book is "Too disgusting in parts to warrant a recommendation..." Surely a bad taste tribute to be emblazoned across the front cover of future editions.
Ostensibly, this chronicles the attempt by Tim Moore to recreate an arctic journey undertaken by the young Lord Dufferin around 150 years ago. Pleasingly, the story soon degenerates into a personal grudge match between Dufferin - Victorian aristocrat, explorer and imperialist - and his present day counterpart Moore - the shaggy-haired proletarian loafer. In 'new' Britain, where 'modernisation' is all pervasive, the age of empire and its attendant values seem increasingly bizarre and inexplicable. The charm of this book is its attempt to link the present with a seemingly ridiculous and discarded past.
'Frost on my moustache' is a glorious misadventure to place alongside Eric Newby's 'a short walk in the Hindu Kush'. The comedy works for two reasons. Firstly, while gleefully ridiculing both Lord Dufferin and everything Nordic, our protagonist gains much sympathy by unflinchingly detailing his own personal failings and idiosyncracies. Secondly, as the travelogue proceeds and the mishaps mount, across a chasm of 150 years, Moore identifies increasingly with Dufferin's despondent valet Wilson. Magically, by the end of the book, the Lord and his entourage seem a lot less remote and absurd, and, by following in their tracks, the Loafer has experienced a magnificently disastrous adventure in the grand British tradition. Tim Moore is Shackleton or Scott for underachieving can't-get-out-of-bed Britain.
Read it and be crippled with laughter in public places. There is also the joy of discovering the meaning of the title... now that IS disgusting!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps it's just because I'm British but... July 15 2001
To be considered more than just a good book, any travelogue has to show more than simply intelligence, humour or stylish writing. It requires a good theme - the writer needs to have an original and clearly defined purpose. In all of these criterion (and more presumably)Moore has surpassed all of my own expectations that I had before I bought it. The humour is, in places very English, but that should not deter anyone else from reading it. The only real reason why Tim can't be regarded as an equal to Bill Bryson is because unlike Bill, who has lived in Britain and America for vast periods of time, Moore only knows life in Britain. This alone is probably enough to put lots of Americans, Canadians, Australians etc. off but the fact that many people cant understand the jokes must be very frustrating. Personally, I understood it all but that's firstly because of where I'm from and secondly because I'm a cynic and enjoy reading books where the writer is self-depreciating. The book is informative and witty but something tells me that an attempt at another travel book might prove foolish on his part. He would need at least as good a theme and would need to sustain his humour over an even longer period. Read this one though - it's good.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Modern-day Arctic exploits of a British curmudgeon April 26 2001
Subtitled, "The Arctic Exploits of a Lord and Loafer," this seemed right up my alley because I just can't resist books about the frozen north. The author, Tim Moore, is an Englishman, and he makes sure that the reader doesn't forget it. His trip is patterned on that of a British aristocrat, Lord Dufferin, who sailed his yacht to from Iceland to Norway and eventually to the town of Spitzbergen near the Arctic Circle in 1856. Moore uses a copy of the travelogue that Dufferin wrote at the time for reference, and did some additional research by paying a visit to Dufferin's royal descendents for more background information.
All this makes for an interesting premise, especially since the author is well acquainted with Iceland since his wife is Icelandic and he is able to provide some interesting insights and observations about that place. He can't exactly replicate Lord Dufferin's travels though. After all, Tim Moore doesn't have his own ship and is making his pilgrimage alone. And so he books passage on a number of commercial Norwegian vessels to get where he wants to go. Also, instead of transversing Iceland with a team of horses, he opts for a bicycle.
The whole book is intended to be humorous as the self-effacing hero sets out on his travels. Perhaps it is humorous to a British audience. But, as an American, I missed all of the jokes and even though I read some passages several times, I still was not able to understand some of the incidents he described. This surprised me because I have no trouble with Charles Dickens. But his modern-day witticisms were completely lost on me and I soon found myself getting annoyed. Mr. Moore presents himself as an out-of-shape curmudgeon and proud of it.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to like this book, but...
... I could only suffer through 17 pages before putting it down for good. The prose seemed deliberately obfuscated and gossipy, and the way it was presented was so far from... Read more
Published on April 15 2003 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky Nordic Travelogue
Wonderful, quirky, moaning travelogue. Tim goes around Iceland and parts of Norway. Tim Moore does not travel well. He does not like some of the places he travels to. Read more
Published on May 9 2002 by Kevin Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars seasick and frozen
I love travel books and so picked this up to do my vicarious summer vacation. I thought his observations about Iceland were wonderful, and made it seem somewhere reasonable to... Read more
Published on July 1 2001 by Julianne Beach
5.0 out of 5 stars Very British, very funny
I actually read Frost on my Mustache about six months back, and have since lost count of the number of friends I've loaned it out to. Read more
Published on April 29 2001 by Reading Machine
4.0 out of 5 stars Very amusing
I'm torn between 5 stars and 4 stars for this book, but I tend to be a tough grader. This book is very humorous. A delightful read. Buy it for vacation. Read more
Published on May 24 2000 by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars The components of this book didn't quite gel
This book had the ingredients of a great travel book. First, the author is very witty at times. Second, he chose Iceland, which is one of Europe's more intriguing nations, and the... Read more
Published on May 10 2000 by saskatoonguy
5.0 out of 5 stars Funniest book: ever.
Even thinking of Moore's Mr Slee anecdote has me laughing as I type. He is a stylish, witty writer and the comparisons to Bill Bryson are more than fair. Read more
Published on April 23 2000 by Adam Keeble
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely hilarious!
This is one of the funniest books I've read in years. I'm not normally a lover of travel writing, but I couldn't put this down and was sorry when I got to the end. Read more
Published on March 13 2000 by Julia
5.0 out of 5 stars Its funny, very funny
Tim Moore has written one of the best travel books I've read in the last five years. His humour is contagious and one finds oneself urging him on as he battles across the northern... Read more
Published on Feb. 14 2000 by I. Hunter
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