Man vs Bookshelf

Man vs Bookshelf: Sirens

This entry is part 91 of 104 in the series Man vs Bookshelf

Cast your mind back. Before the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. Before the Hundred Years War marked its 78th year. Before Rome Fell.

Cast your mind back and back and back until you reach 2011.

A new TV show has just hit Channel Four. It is called Sirens.

Starring Robb Stark before he was Robb Stark, Phonejacker after he was Phonejacker, the girl from Misfits who got her breasts out then turned into an old woman, and the main character.

It opens with said main character, a paramedic, arriving at a road collision.

Here he finds a man in the wreckage with a hole in his body and, against protocol and all the rules, he places his hand within that man’s chest and massages the heart until it began beating again.

It was the most disgusting thing I had seen happen on telly until that man put his head through a spike in the first season of Daredevil.

Honestly, it makes me feel ill recalling it now.

Not good.

But the horror abated, and what followed this opening sequence was one of the freshest, most exciting TV shows I can remember seeing.

It was funny; it was hard-hitting, and it threw you right into the lives of the paramedics. Something we rarely get to see.

Nothing was sugar coated. It was real issues. Not only were we treated to the lives of paramedics at work, but also we see the main character’s fractured relationship with his parents, Robb Stark being viciously beaten in a homophobic attack and Phonejacker getting an STI.

It was six episodes of fantastic TV, culminating with the main character standing on an ambulance to declare something about something.

We laughed, we cried, we cheered.

We waited with bated breath for news of the renewal of the show.

Then, out of nowhere, it was cancelled.

They say it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, but, had Sirens never hit the screens I would have found something else to fill the time, and I would feel fine now.

As it is, there is a gaping hole in my heart where the second series of this beautiful show should be.

Seven years later, I cannot move on. Will never move on.

If you hadn’t given us Inbetweeners, Channel Four, I would hate you. Hate you for cancelling this TV magic while crap like Don’t Tell the Bride gets season after season after season.

Having looked it up, Don’t Tell The Bride started on BBC Three but don’t think that gets C4 off the hook.

So I wish the show had never been, but of course, there were benefits.

The writer of the blog on which C4 based the show, for example, made enough money from the show to pay off his debts, and I imagine it increased sales of the book compilation of the blog, too.

Certainly, that’s the only reason I have it.

Even if I never read it before this challenge.

The question is… should you?

I could sit here and compare the book to the TV show, but that wouldn’t be fair.

I prefer the show, but the show is fiction. It has taken the idea of the blogs and turned it into an exciting narrative, so good no sane man or woman would ever cancel it.

Sirens the blog is all fact, and there will always be limitations to that.

Having said that, he’s a great writer. The blogs are concise and well put together. He does manage to weave both an interesting narrative and a lot of funny jokes around the story he’s telling.

And he is helped by the fact that this is an interesting field — a look within the life of a paramedic working in East London.

So it is fascinating to read about repeat customers – the drunks that will call ambulances time after time. And to hear of all the calls that are for nothing that is remotely an emergency as well as listening to how he handles both the cases that are emergencies and what he does when terrible things happen to him.

For example when a man who is HIV positive spits blood into his mouth.


So while this is not a book I would read again, I think it was a fascinating look into an important field I knew little about, written by someone with a natural flair for writing that keeps his blogs from ever becoming drab, or dragging.

It is well worth a read, and if readability and interest of subject matter don’t do it for you, remember that the writer is still a paramedic working for the NHS, so there is no doubt… he needs the money.

Next Time

Next up we’ll be looking at the first in a run of Stephen King’s novels, and it’s the first one he had published – Carrie

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International worst-selling author Mark Ayre has been writing since before he could pick up a pen (somehow). An author of mystery and suspense novels including the James Perry Series of mysteries.

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