Frost on my Moustache: The Arctic Exploits of a Lord and a Loafer Paperback – Feb 9 2001
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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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Top Customer Reviews
Moore spent most of his nine-week adventure in Iceland. I am planning a two-week trip to Iceland this summer, although I did spend an entire day in Reykjavík in the summer of 2013, so the references to the capital city were still fresh. What I found most interesting though was Moore's cycle trek across the country. Roads suddenly disappeared and he was left bouncing his tires over rough lava, worrying about getting a flat. His observations about the perils of the outdoors sounded both serious as well as downright hilarious:
"What heightened the senses was the complete absence of warning signs, fences or barriers. In Iceland, a healthy respect for the nation's geological and climactic  extremes is taken for granted. If they went around trying to signpost every danger the nation would be bankrupted. 'Warning--enormous hidden hole in ground', 'Danger--no shops or petrol or any living thing for miles and miles--oh yeah, and you just fell into a geyser'. That's what Iceland is about--confronting the elements, and man's puniness beside them.Read more ›
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.
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!
Most recent customer reviews
... 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 morePublished on April 15 2003 by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on May 9 2002 by Kevin Smith
To be considered more than just a good book, any travelogue has to show more than simply intelligence, humour or stylish writing. Read morePublished on July 15 2001
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 morePublished on July 1 2001 by Julianne Beach
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 morePublished on April 29 2001 by Reading Machine
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. Read morePublished on April 26 2001 by Linda Linguvic
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 morePublished on May 24 2000 by Amazon Customer
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 morePublished on May 10 2000 by saskatoonguy
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 morePublished on April 23 2000 by Adam Keeble