An odyssey through 2,000 years of filth and fury where the nights were black, the world was your outside toilet and everything tasted faintly of leeks.
In 1989, Tim Moore moved into the last house in Chiswick with an outside toilet. Intrigued by a subsequent encounter with an elderly former resident, and shamed into confessing the phobic haste with which he demolished this facility, he finds himself inspired to travel back to the land before now, experiencing the horny-handed hardships and homespun pleasures enjoyed and endured by Moores gone by.
The journey takes him into the world of historical re-enactment, sitting at the bare and grubby feet of retromaniacs who have seen their future in the past. Living on bramble leaves, Johnny cake and porridge, Moore travels from the Iron Age to the Steam Age. He shares straw beds and daft hats with period obsessives driven by socio-historical curiosity, disillusionment with the pampered fecklessness of the modern world, or a simple nostalgia for campfires, flatulence and brutality.
Along the way he meets living historians for whom authenticity means pulling their own teeth out, and those who stride back through time with a Nokia and a packet of fags stuffed down their codpiece.