Through It All I've Always Laughed
(An Autobiography of Myself)
Well known from the Radio 4 comedy, Steve Delaney's cult character, Count Arthur Strong, is an ageing entertainer from Doncaster with a deluded sense of his own importance and a talent for mangling words. This memoir, presented as a typewritten script with the great man's own handwritten annotations, is a satire of British show business autobiographies, with stories of childhood struggles, national service, early theatrical breaks and celebrity anecdotes accompanied by the author’s nonsensical thoughts and opinions. Off-mint.
The author of eleven novels such as Headlong and the Booker-longlisted Skios, and many plays including Noises Off, Michael Frayn is also a prolific newspaper columnist. Dating from 1962 to 1994, this selection of his pieces deploys his characteristic wit, razor-sharp observation and offbeat comedy on a range of topics from bureaucratic absurdity to pretentious productions of Shakespeare. They are arranged in alphabetical order ‘because I couldn’t think of any more rational system’. Slightly off-mint.
Sign Language 2
More Travels in Unfortunate English
In these days when everyone carries a camera with them on their phone, few opportunities are missed by eagle-eyed tourists to record humorously mangled translations, unwitting ironies and double entendres on public signs, menus, shop fronts and foreign grocery products. Among the gems in this collection are the impressive premises of Penang's 'Chiap Tatt Enterprise' and the luxury coach run by Barcelona's 'Chavi Tours'.
Off to the Vet
The YouTube adventures of Simon's Cat, which first appeared in 2008, have attracted millions of viewers and the hapless cat's exploits have since extended to newspaper cartoon strips, books and even a game. Identifying feline foibles that will chime with cat owners everywhere, this collection includes the colour story 'Off to the Vet' as well as other cartoons in the signature black-and-white style.
Stop the World, I Want to Get Off...
Unpublished Letters to the Daily Telegraph
‘Sir, It has all been a terrible mistake. We thought we were voting to leave Eurovision.’ In a year dominated by the EU Referendum, the Telegraph’s letter-writers were in full spate – and not just on the momentous vote. Here, in sections such a ‘The Use and Abuse of Language’, ‘Box Gogglers’ and ‘Royal Blushes’ are readers’ opinions – frankly stated – on everything from family life to ‘Benito Trump’.
Thirty-Six Short Entertainments
Beginning with flatpack ‘Instructions for Assembling Your Pocket Playhouse’, Michael Frayn’s miniature sketches relish the absurdities of modern life. Here we find a telephone prayer answering service (‘Your prayer has been placed in a queue’); flirting academics in the Working Group on Gender Stereotyping in Indefinite Pronouns; and the nail-biting national semi-finals of the UK TV Watching Championship. Slightly off-mint.
The Pantomime Book
The Only Known Collection of Pantomime Jokes and Sketches in Captivity
After a first chapter of one liners, Paul Harris presents the scripts of more than 40 pantomime sketches and gags and introduces them with notes on history (some of them are very old, but still evolving), theatrical anecdotes and tips on props and performance.
Beast Friends Forever
Animal Lovers in Rhyme
From the perfumed courtship tactics of Babette the Skunk to happily married Rose the Grisly, whose snoring keeps her adoring fellow sleep-deprived, but mellow, these tales are often hilarious, but never too risqué. Juana and Anna, although they cruise the bars in search of likely male iguanas, are only looking for true love. This wonderful collection of friends and lovers is illustrated in manic style by Ronald Searle.
Edward Lear's Nonsense Birds
Coming to life in just a few, seemingly effortless lines and the occasional wash of colour, Edward Lear’s nonsense birds have personality, attitude and, quite often, very human traits. Drawing on the British Library collections, this book presents birds from several of Lear’s original nonsense books, and includes stories, limericks, birds for learning colours and birds for learning the alphabet.
Something in the Cellar...
Wonderful World of Wine
Surveying wine and its devotees in pen and ink, these drawings were created for a variety of publications in the 1970s and early 1980s by the great satirical cartoonist, Ronald Searle (1920–2011). Along with 'The World of Wine' series covering wine ceremonies worldwide, from the fraught Annual Ceremony of Accepting the Kremlin Rouge in the USSR to Spain's joyful Festival of Hoofing the Rioja, are various lunatic methods for opening a bottle of wine and other wine-related mishaps.
Ladies of Letters
Take a Cheeky Peek at Irene and Vera's Private Correspondence
Based on the BBC Radio Four comedy series, which was adapted for TV, Irene and Vera are ladies of a certain age, both widowed and with errant offspring. They reveal details of their lives and families through their highly entertaining – though often acerbic and sometimes downright vitriolic – correspondence.
How to Look After Your Human
A Dog's Guide
Dog owners often seem to arrange their lives around their beloved pets and this manual shows how to train them to maximum canine advantage. Written from the point of view of Maggie Mayhem, a border terrier whose significant humans are Kim Sears and tennis-playing husband Andy Murray, the colourfully illustrated book offers amusing advice on such topics as exercise and socialization, grooming and hygiene. Age 7+
Postcard From The Past
The postcard shows charming views of the Yorkshire Dales, but the sender writes, 'Huge hordes of wild sheep, cows and rabbits ready to attack at any time'; and on the back of four views of Weymouth, one word: 'Murder'. Tom Jackson describes this book of holiday postcards, with captions taken from their messages, as 'a collection of very short and cryptic stories set in that drowned Atlantis of the sixties and seventies'.
Must I Repeat Myself...?
Unpublished Letters to The Daily Telegraph
In this tenth annual edition of Telegraph readers’ letters, Alexa and gender-neutral lavatories join the perennial concerns with good English, cricket and the march of time. Hollingshead, as the departing editor, pays tribute to the letter-writers’ ‘wit, erudition and occasional downright lunacy’ and adds a best of the last decade chapter, including the priceless ‘Sir, It has all been a terrible mistake. We thought we were voting to leave Eurovision’. Slightly off-mint.
Did Anyone Else See That Coming...?
Unpublished Letters to the Daily Telegraph
‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends’... The redoubtable readers and letter-writers of the Daily Telegraph confront the era of Trump, Twitter and Brexit in this ninth compilation of wit, opinion and getting the facts right: from Forston in Dorset, a reader asks, ‘How can I distinguish fake reports about fake news from real reports about fake news? Slightly off-mint.
Funny Way To Be A Hero
TV producer John Fisher first published his exploration of the great 20th-century comedians in 1973, tracing the tradition from music-hall pioneers such as Dan Leno and Max Miller through to the radio comics and the last of the breed in Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper and Ken Dodd. This completely revised and expanded 40th anniversary edition profiles over 30 of the giants of British entertainment and contains over 350 illustrations.
Wallace & Gromit
The Complete Cracking Contraptions Manual
How do the Techno Trousers work? How did Wallace rebuild Preston the Cyber Dog? All is revealed in this two-volumes-in-one manual, with descriptions of how each of Wallace and Gromit's fantastic inventions works, cutaway diagrams and photographs of the machines in action. There are details of 40 contraptions, from the Bed Launcher to Wallace's A35 van, plus cutaways of his house and Invention cellar. Age 9+
Notes From the Sofa
Award-winning author Raymond Briggs looks back over 70 years with characteristic humour in this illustrated compilation of thoughts, ideas and memories from his column in The Oldie. He recalls the lack of facilities at his spinster aunts’ house during the Second World War, bemoans the irritating ubiquity of football and muses on a game of Shoe a Little Horse, the ‘stuff’ he’s accumulated in his lifetime and the changing nature of rude words.
Oor Wullie & The Broons Through the Ages
Explore the Evolution of Oor Wullie and The Broons!
First published in the Sunday Post in 1936, strip cartoons ‘The Broons’ and ‘Oor Wullie’ are a Scottish institution, providing the nation with the gentle humour of the archetypal mischievous boy and a typical squabbling but supportive family. Demonstrating how the characters and storylines have adapted to the times, this compendium selects the best examples from over 80 years of the cartoons. Off-mint.
How to Keep a Werewolf
And Other Exotic Pets Which May or May Not a) Exist or b) Eat You
Investigating the world of cryptids from the point of view of a prospective pet-owner, this humorous illustrated guidebook outlines the characteristics of a variety of mythological, legendary and fictional beasts from lake monsters and yetis to chupacabras and unicorns.
From Hopeless Hounds to Tyrannical Tortoises: Animal Letters to The Telegraph
Having mined the archives of readers’ letters ‘like a chaffinch in search of the juiciest worms’, Iain Hollingshead presents a hugely entertaining selection that illustrates the British love and respect for animals, whether tame or wild, mammal, bird or amphibian, and the occasional stick insect. Violent dislike is reserved for flying insects, and the Scottish midge in particular. Slightly off-mint.