Guide to Oxford takes an irreverant tone with one of England's
most revered cities. Following on the heels of the highly successful
Cheeky Guide to Brighton, its Oxford sibling manages to combine
the virtues of a useful guide and an amusing read. In pulling off
this feat, it should appeal especially to day-trippers and students.
The Guide includes sections on the University, shopping,
food, nightlife and accommodation but it also extends to "Subversive
Oxford" (information on underground organisations) and "Sex" (reviews
of the two sex shops on Cowley Road). The chapters are easy to navigate
but the lack of an index makes pinpointing particular entries difficult.
Cartoons and photos are scattered throughout the book as well as
several "spotters guides". The text itself is highly readable, bordering
on chatty, and swings wildly from the informative to the surreal.
I only noticed a couple of outright mistakes (and the odd typo):
Queen's Lane probably isn't a good place to go clothes shopping
(Queen St might be a better bet) and the Ultimate Picture Palace,
already insulted by a rather harsh entry, is further injured by
an incorrect phone number (it should be 245288). The Daily Information
web-site gets a one-line entry, but omitting any mention of the
sheet ("a brightly coloured A2 broadsheet, packed with listings,
adverts and reviews: an indispensable source of information, displayed
at over 500 locations all over the city" is my suggestion for the
second edition) is almost unforgiveable.
But gripes aside, the Cheeky Guide is well-researched, humorous
and attractively designed. It's appearance goes some way to pricking
Oxford's hubris, but it's this very quality which may stop it becoming
a phenomenom along the lines of the Brighton guide.