The Spectator Book of Wit, Humour and Mischief
By Marcus Berkmann
Approaching its 200th birthday in the rudest of health, the Spectator is known for the quality of its writing and the deep eccentricity of some of its writers. Given the freedom to say what they want, they take that freedom and more, and the result is original, provocative, often very funny, sometimes plain wrong. From Jeffrey Bernard's reports from the Soho frontline and Auberon Waugh fulminating about hamburger gases in the early 1990s, we encounter in turn the wild stream of consciousness of Deborah Ross's restaurant reviews, the pinpoint etiquette advice of Mary Killen, Rod Liddle's frothing but elegantly sculpted outrage and the magazine's secret weapon, low life adventurer Jeremy Clarke. This bumper selection, which also includes eminent diarists, mad letter-writers and Boris Johnson, amounts to a masterclass in comic writing, lovingly compiled and edited by Marcus Berkmann, who still can't believe he wrote a monthly pop column for the magazine for twenty-eight years without being fired.
Set Phasers to Stun
By Marcus Berkmann
Forty-seven years after NBC killed it off, Star Trek celebrates its half-century in a state of rude health. Boldly going where several other people have been before, Marcus Berkmann tells the story of this sturdy science fiction vehicle from its first five-year mission (rudely curtailed to three), through the dark years of the 1970s, the triumphant film series and The Next Generation, to the current 'reboot' films, with a younger cast taking on the characters of Kirk, Spock, McCoy and co.With wit, insight and a huge pile of DVDs, he seeks to answer all the important questions. Why did Kirk's shirt always get torn when he had a fist fight? What's the most number of times Uhura said 'Hailing frequencies open, sir' in a single episode? (Seven.) And what's the worst imaginable insult in Klingon? (Your mother has a smooth forehead.)
The Prime Minister's Ironing Board and Other State Secrets
By Adam Macqueen
Stored in Whitehall's archives are everything from blood-chilling warnings of imminent nuclear attack to comical details of daily life in the corridors of power. Concerned notes from ministers on the subject of the Heir to the Throne's potential brainwashing by Welsh terrorists are shelved alongside worries about housemaids 'on the wobble' at Chequers.Detailed and surprising plans for royal funerals sit beside reports on suspected spies in the showbiz world and bawdy poetry about the monkeys on the Rock of Gibraltar. And Mary Whitehouse's complaints about the sex education syllabus nestle next to thank-you notes from prisoner 13260/62, also known as Nelson Mandela.Adam Macqueen, author of the highly acclaimed bestseller Private Eye: The First 50 Years, has searched high and low to present us with some of the most unlikely revelations since the Official secrets act was inaugurated one hundred years ago. Not only about Mrs Thatcher's ironing board, but Ted Heath's car, Harold Macmillan's bedroom carpet, Imelda Marcos and her son Bong Bong's trip to Buckingham Palace and President Eisenhower's particular problem with Winston Churchill's trousers.
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk
By David Sedaris
This collection of sharply observed animal-themed tales is a delight, told with David Sedaris's trademark blend of hilarity and goodnaturedness. Though the characters may not be human, the situations in these stories bear an uncanny resemblance to the insanity of our own everyday interactions.In 'The Toad, the Turtle, and the Duck', three strangers commiserate about animal bureaucracy while waiting in a complaint line. In 'Hello Kitty', a cynical feline struggles to sit through his prison-mandated AA meetings. In 'The Squirrel and the Chipmunk', a pair of star-crossed lovers is separated by prejudiced family members.
How To Drive A Tank
By Frank Coles
Call yourself a man? You do? Do you even know what a real man is? Are you a six foot one Adonis who wears all the latest fashions, moisturises regularly, visits spas for pleasure and never does anything wrong? Or do you drink twenty pints every Friday night, guzzle a kebab on the way home and then fart yourself to sleep?It's time to stop being the man everyone expects you to be and be the one you want to be. And while you're at it, why not discover the practical skills a real man should have: from hot-wiring a car to hiding a dead body, how to disappear without trace in less than 24 hours, to unarmed combat. Add in tips on love, sex, money and fatherhood and you have a book tells you everything you need to know about being a man. Fast-paced and funny this is the ultimate bible for the modern man.
The 100 Words That Make The English
By Tony Thorne
Englishness is an ancient and powerful concept, but no one seems sure exactly what it means in the twenty-first century. In exploring our national identity, Tony Thorne has compiled a fascinating compendium of the hundred words and phrases that have become the cornerstones of modern English, and have been used - sometimes deliberately, but often inadvertently - to stake out our common ground, to define what makes us essentially English, and thus different from those beastly foreigners who lurk just off our shores.
By Harry Pearson
Ten years in the making, Dribble! is an A-Z of credulity-twanging facts and stories about what Pele once memorably dubbed 'my bloody job'. It includes definitive explanations of everyday phrases such as 'the magic of the cup' and 'low centre of gravity'; a complete guide to becoming a terrace character and an in-depth account of how Roy Keane's pyjamas got him a smack on the nose . . . It also addresses hitherto ignored aspects of the beautiful game, including its longstanding relationship with Country and Western. Johnny Cash dubbed himself 'The Man in Black' in homage to his idol, referee Arthur Ellis and wrote what is arguably the greatest song ever written about the life of an assistant referee - 'I Walk the Line'.
Red Carpets And Other Banana Skins
By Rupert Everett
''Hilariously honest. . . a kind of rake's progress' Daily MailAn element of drama has always attended Rupert Everett, even before he swept to fame with his outstanding performance in 'Another Country'. He has spent his life surrounded by extraordinary people, and witnessed extraordinary events. He was in Moscow during the fall of communism; in Berlin the night the wall came down; and in downtown Manhattan on September 11th. By the age of 17 he was friends with Andy Warhol and Bianca Jagger, and since then he has been up close and personal with some of the most famous women in the world: Julia Roberts, Madonna, Sharon Stone and Donatella Versace. Whether sweeping the floor for the Royal Shakespeare Company or co-starring with Faye Dunaway and an orang-utan in 'Dunstan Checks In' (they both took ages to get ready), Rupert Everett always brings as much energy and talent to his life as he does to his career. A superb raconteur and a keen observer of human folly (especially his own), Rupert Everett turns his life into a captivating story of love, fame, glamour, gossip and drama.Praise for Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins'He has an almost fanatical loyalty to the concept of enjoyment, to the detriment, it might be argued, of his art, though to the great enrichment of his being; and for Rupert, as he makes clear in this continuously brilliant memoir, the best theatrical autobiography since Noël Coward's Present Indicative, acting is being...a superb and unexpectedly inspiring achievement' Simon Callow, Guardian'Lush, profoundly reflective, and thoroughly satisfying...a heady triumph of observation and reverie' Independent'What makes this autobiography a (novelistic) masterpiece is the way he is acutely aware of the melancholia and pain that are the other side of hedonism's coin' Daily Telegraph
By Rich Hall
I stopped off at the Peace Gardens - a memorial straddling the US-Canadian border commemorating 'Lasting Peace Between America and Canada', as if there had ever been a problem. Show me a garden commemorating Peace Between America and, say, Iraq and I'll be impressed. America is like a beauty contestant. It's gorgeous, until it opens its mouth.'From the similarities between US gun laws and British drinking hours, to what cryptic crosswords really tell us about the British psyche, American in London Rich Hall casts a keen eye on the lunatic contradictions and weird marvels of his native and adoptive homelands.'Full of acute left-field reflections on America and Americans, plus some marvellously irreverent sketches ...wise, witty and strangely true' GUARDIAN
A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again
By David Foster Wallace
A collection of insightful and uproariously funny non-fiction by the bestselling author of INFINITE JEST - one of the most acclaimed and adventurous writers of our time. A SUPPOSEDLY FUN THING... brings together Wallace's musings on a wide range of topics, from his early days as a nationally ranked tennis player to his trip on a commercial cruiseliner. In each of these essays, Wallace's observations are as keen as they are funny. Filled with hilarious details and invigorating analyses, these essays brilliantly expose the fault line in American culture - and once again reveal David Foster Wallace's extraordinary talent and gargantuan intellect.