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The Giro Playboy

Michael Smith

The Giro Playboy by Michael Smith is an utterly charming miniature picaresque and a portrait of a life blissfully unmoored, and a twenty-first century beat classic in the making.

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For a while I lived in a seaside resort, in a bargain bedsit next to the King of Portugal’s old mansion retreat, in ‘The Beverly Hills of the Georgian Era’ – nowadays it’s a faded bohemia of trannies and longhair public school bongo players and midget scousers gouching in telephone boxes next to the methadone clinic – I would get up at Z o’clock and wander around restlessly in flip flops, on my giro holiday, smiling at the beautiful scenery, feeling useless, wondering what my role could be in this world, that boring beautiful ocean just stretching before me everyday, as I pondered what to do . . .

The Giro Playboy recounts the (mis)adventures of a delusional drifter and his wanderings from the north-east to London (where the streets are paved with gold), and on to Brighton and the badlands of Essex. Along the way he falls in love, drinks a lot of beer, eats too many sweets, ponders the meaning of life on the dole, and gets admitted to hospital for a painful condition – all the time measuring his life in cigarettes.


Michael Smith is a writer, film-maker and broadcaster. He is the author of two works of fiction, The Giro Playboy and Shorty Loves Wing Wong, and has written features for the Guardian, the Observer, the Idler and Dazed and Confused, amongst others.He has made a number of short films for BBC 2’s The Culture Show. His short film Lost in…

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