A Poke in the Eye
(With a Sharp Stick)
The original Secret Policeman’s Ball in 1976 revolutionized thinking about charity fundraising. Published to celebrate Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary, this illustrated collection includes scripts of the funniest moments from the 12 major shows, which have featured comedians including Python members, Peter Cook and Rowan Atkinson as well as stars such as Eddie Izzard, Dylan Moran and Victoria Wood.
The Times: Great Letters
A Century of Notable Correspondence
Siegfried Sassoon decrying ‘political errors and insincerities’ in 1917; leg-theory in cricket; John Betjeman speaking up for threatened churches; the eccentricities of quartermasters’ vocabulary and syntax; and Theresa May on the first ascent of the Matterhorn... Covering a vast range of topics with erudition, opinion and a very British wit, this anthology of over 300 letters demonstrates why The Times letters page is renowned as a forum of debate, whether the topic be the future of education or dyed kippers.
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Unpublished Letters to the Daily Telegraph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.
¿Cómo te Llamas?
Everyday Llamas you Might Know
Artist Kristin Llamas has been drawing black-and-white likenesses of her namesake animal for years. Playing on the Spanish for 'what's your name?', she presents sixty characterful portraits of the South American beasts, along with their monikers and personal notes.
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.
Charles Schulz: Peanuts - 3 Books
Charles M Schulz's wry depiction of childhood in suburban America, Peanuts grew to become one of the best-loved comic strips in history. These volumes chart the early trials and tribulations of characters such as sweet-natured Linus and his indefatigable sister Lucy, laconic beagle Snoopy, and, of course, 'Good Ol' Charlie Brown'. The three titles included in this set are: Peanuts 1950–1952 (Read more...) Peanuts 1953–1954 (Read more...) Peanuts 1955–1956 (Read more...)
Heath Robinson's Home Front
How to Make Do and Mend in Style
As hostilities got under way in 1939, Cecil Hunt and Heath Robinson collaborated on their own manual of practical instruction for those eager to do their bit on the home front. From Air Raid Protection on how to camouflage a house to growing your own food and personal protection (reinforced air-raid pyjamas) there’s advice on being prepared for the worst but, ‘As the devil said to Noah, It’s bound to clear up’.
Winnie Ille Pu
A Latin Version of AA Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh
Hungarian physician and polymath Alexander Lenard made this translation of Winnie-the-Pooh while working as a tutor of English and Latin. An instant bestseller, it has continued to delight readers young and old for six decades, as they revisit the adventures of Christopherus Robinus around Silva Centum Jugerum (Hundred Acre Wood) in the company of Porcellus (Piglet), Ior (Eeyore), Bubo (Owl) and the rest – not forgetting, of course, the horribilis heffalumpus.
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.
Heath Robinson's Golf
Classic Cartoons and Ingenius Contraptions
Heath Robinson’s genius for creating absurd machines to execute unnecessary functions is well suited to the world of golf as the telescopic putter, moveable bunker and curled niblick in these cartoons prove. This collection of his drawings making fun of the royal and ancient game is a reproduction of a volume entitled Humours of Golf, first published in 1923, and retains the original introduction by celebrated golf writer and commentator Bernard Darwin.
Heath Robinson's Great War
The Satirical Cartoons
Best known for his humorous cartoons featuring over-elaborate contraptions, William Heath Robinson published drawings in magazines satirizing the First World War throughout the conflict, among the most popular being his series ‘Inventions Rejected by the Inventions Board’ which included the ingenious ‘Hot-bottler for Warming Highlanders’ Legs after a Night in the Trenches’. This volume reproduces three collections of the best of this work, originally published during the war: Some Frightful War Pictures, Hunlikely! and The Saintly Hun.
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'.
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.
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.
I Wish I Hadn't Said That
Many of the funniest jokes are unintentional – slips of the tongue or typographic errors. This book delves into the worlds of sports commentary, classified advertising, church bulletins and, of course, Prince Philip to present more than 3,000 faux pas, from the 1631 Bible that proclaimed ‘Thou shalt commit adultery’ to a US newspaper informing its readers that ‘Homicide victims rarely talk to the police.’
An Illustrated Dictionary for Beer Lovers
From Aging to Altbier, Hefeweizen to Hops, and Skunky to Stout, this humorous dictionary defines terms associated with beer (a word that was first recorded by ancient Egyptian scribes). Written and illustrated in typically witty style by the aptly named Mark Brewer, the entries cover the many different varieties of lagers, ales and stouts, technical brewing jargon and beer lovers' slang.
A Collection of Round Robins
The letters folded inside Christmas cards can say more about the writers than they would like, revealing the lives they want rather than those they have. The correspondents satirized here include the teen blogger and the hypochondriac, the newlyweds married in a field of cows and the ex-MP completely lacking in self-awareness. ‘Any similarity to persons living or dead is entirely to be expected.’ Slightly off-mint.
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.
World of Peyton
Drawing his first cartoon in a German PoW camp, Mike Peyton started selling his pictures after the war, contributing to a range of magazines, including New Scientist and Yachting Monthly, and earning his reputation as the world's leading yachting cartoonist. From boating mishaps to the yacht club bar, this retrospective includes the best of his work from his 70-year career poking fun at the sailing fraternity.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
The Old Man and the Knee
How to Be a Golden Oldie
‘I’d like to get one thing straight. I am not old. I know what old is, and I’m not it.’ This light-hearted guide to retirement discusses the amusing and exasperating points of ageing, from what to do with your spare time and coping with the changing attitudes and manners of younger generations to worrying about declining physical fitness and the perils of social media.
I Don't Believe It!
Original Complaints of Tunbridge Wells
The British used to be better at complaining, as this sequel to the bestselling Outraged of Tunbridge Wells demonstrates. Before the internet debased the subtle art of invective, newspaper readers would take up their pens to inform editors of their disgust and outrage, perfectly balancing insouciance with sarcasm. The letters collected here appeared in Kent newspapers between Georgian times and the Second World War, and range from the pedantic and humorous to the poignant and political.
'You're nearly old enough to be dead, aren't you, Grandma?' 'If teachers keep asking you questions, does that mean they don't know much?' Compiled by former school inspector Gervase Phinn, this collection of children's disarming observations and impossible-to-answer questions proves Phinn’s point that 'on the whole' children are an amazing source of amusement and wonder.
The New Dictionary of Things There Should Be Words For
What should we call 'something that looks like minced beef but isn't'? Minsk, of course! 'Luxuriant nostril hairs'? Utrillas! Three decades after Douglas Adams and QI creator John Lloyd compiled The Meaning of Liff, here is a new collection of more than 900 familiar things that have hitherto remained unnamed, an oversight now corrected by recycling the appellations of places near and far.
The Banned List
A Manifesto Against Jargon and Cliche
John Rentoul's polemical essay, which highlights annoyingly pretentious and hackneyed phrases, might make uncomfortable reading for those who exhibit a tendency to issue cast-iron guarantees while pulling out all the stops and proactively strategizing going forward. This is followed by the full 'banned list' of such objectionable locutions, which Rentoul has diligently compiled to save his fellow writers from annoying their readers.
The Secret Diaries of Almost Everyone
Since 2006 the 'My Week' column in The Times has parodied days in the lives of such luminaries as David Cameron, Prince Harry, Vladimir Putin – and Jeremy Clarkson ('Wednesday... brainstorming new ways to be mean about the Germans'). The author has personally selected this collection and given the entries new introductions to place them in their political or social context.
The Customer's Always Wrong
Stupid Things Shoppers Say
Will cinemas pause films while you pop to the toilet? Can you get a refund after cutting the legs off new jeans? Is pouring butter into your computer a good idea? This book contains some of the most bizarre queries and complaints that staff have faced from the kind of customer who spends two frustrating days 'rewinding' a DVD or is upset when an omelette smells of eggs.
Lost at Sea
The Jon Ronson Mysteries
Investigative journalist Jon Ronson is drawn to quirky and unusual stories and manages to write with humour while treating his subjects seriously. This collection of his writings from the Guardian, GQ and other publications covers a diverse range of topics from Church of England Alpha courses to psychics and alien investigators.
The Enlightened Imbiber's Guide to Alcohol
The authors, both drinks journalists with years of imbibing experience, advise us to ‘Drink Less. Drink Better’. In lavishly illustrated chapters on beer and cider, wine, each of the spirits, aperitifs and digestifs, they offer recommendations of their chosen few, along with the history and culture of each type of drink, its legends, ‘heroes’ (Humphrey Bogart and gin, Vincent van Gogh and absinthe) and movie stardom (Whisky Galore, The Big Lebowski), and recipes for its finest cocktails.
Raise Your Game
How to Speak Fluent Sport
Specialist language is an intrinsic part of all sport, whether it is understanding an idiosyncratic scoring system or being able to correctly apply the terms peculiar to the technique or equipment of a game. Illustrated with more than 60 cartoons, this humorous look at the eccentricities of 50 popular sports explains how they are played and provides a lexicon of the terminology of each.
The School at the Top of the Dale
New teacher Tom doubts he'll ever feel welcome in Risingdale, a sleepy, close-knit village in the Yorkshire Dales. Faced with pupils who know more about livestock than arithmetic, a feisty landowner's daughter and a duplicitous jewellery thief, his first term proves to be a baptism of fire.
Prince of Pranks
Kicking off with Bart Simpson taking over as Principal of Springfield Elementary School, these 18 comic strip exploits include Bart’s overnight success as a thriller writer, mishaps with Professor Dorkenheimer’s Embigulator Ray and Angry Dad having a bad car day. Off-mint. Age 6+
A Gentleman's Bedside Book
This compendium will surely provide ‘entertainment for the last 15 minutes of the day’ whatever your inclination: mathematicians can drift off to half a page of pi; motorists might mug up on the Luton, Croydon and Belgravia methods of washing a car; there’s a handy list of people you are not allowed to marry (CofE rules); and for literary types there are the rude bits from Samuel Pepys.
I Think, Therefore I Draw
Understanding Philosophy Through Cartoons
The best cartoonists’ simple drawings and witty captions often engage with profound questions, as two philosophers demonstrate here. In succinct and entertaining discussions they analyse over 60 examples of cartoons that respond to issues such as identity, existentialism, the cosmological argument for the existence of God and ethical intuition.
The Complete Peanuts by Charles M Schulz 1953–1954
Schulz continues to develop his cast of characters. Charlie Brown lurches from one existential crisis to another, Lucy's tendency to bossiness takes on a life of its own, the perpetually filthy Pigpen takes a bath and is clean for one frame, and Linus acquires his security blanket.
The Complete Peanuts by Charles M Schulz 1950–1952
As Schulz established and honed his newly imagined universe, some of his characterizations and drawings began to differ slightly from these early strips. Charlie Brown displays an aptitude for pranks, Lucy, Linus and Schroeder are depicted as infants, and Snoopy makes his debut as a puppy.
David Sedaris Diaries
A Visual Compendium
The American humourist, essayist and author of Santaland Diaries, David Sedaris writes the Foreword to this selection of illustrations from his diaries: photographs, packaging, reproductions and montages – a ‘cabinet of curiosities’ and a sourcebook for Sedaris’ work.
The Complete Peanuts by Charles M Schulz 1955–1956
Snoopy’s behaviour becomes increasingly eccentric, Lucy's unrequited crush on Schroeder develops, and Linus’ penchant for philosophical musings is revealed. Charlie Brown, continuing his unstoppable quest for mediocrity, suffers his first humiliation on the baseball pitch. Off-mint.
The Ultimate Christmas Cracker
For 50 Christmases, the historian John Julius Norwich compiled scrapbooks of amusing clippings for family and friends. This selection features Groucho Marx, Shirley Temple, Margaret Thatcher and a warning to Women’s Institute members not to bring firearms into the BBC.
You Talkin' to Me?
Rhetoric from Aristotle to Trump and Beyond...
When we use language to persuade people in many everyday situations we still employ lines of argument that Aristotle categorized as ‘ethos’, ‘logos’ and ‘pathos’. As Sam Leith introduces the art of rhetoric, he traces its history since the Ancient Greeks, providing accessible explanations of its techniques and terminology and profiling ‘champions of rhetoric’ including Cicero and Abraham Lincoln.
The New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons
With over 3,000 cartoons, the two volumes of the Encyclopedia cover almost a century of cartoons from the pages of The New Yorker and progress alphabetically across the magazine’s recurring themes: volume one dealing with Accounts to Knitting; volume two picking up the thread at Labor vs Management and ending with Zorro. Bob Mankoff, the former cartoon editor, has made this selection and introduces some of the New Yorker’s favoured topics, including Dentistry, Google, King Kong and Lighthouses. Slip-cased.
Heath Robinson's Second World War
As a ‘humorous artist’, W Heath Robinson (1872–1944) revelled in the possibilities offered by the home front and the fight against Hitler. This collection of his wartime cartoons and contraptions includes the exploits of his ‘Sixth Column’ of patriotic civilians; illustrations for RF Patterson’s parody Mein Rant; and ingenious devices for foiling the enemy, such as the apparatus for injecting flu germs into Field-Marshal Goering and the Melted Butter Tank Stopper.
Who Am I, Again?
In this memoir, Lenny Henry recalls his upbringing in Dudley as one of seven children, and how as a 16-year-old factory apprentice he successfully auditioned for his first TV appearance on New Faces. He also reveals his struggles with the racism of 1970s Britain, and its entertainment industry. At every stage, he confesses, he asked himself, ‘Am I good enough?’ Looking back, he concludes with words of advice to aspiring comedians.
Simpsons Comics Jam-Packed Jamboree
Featuring a familiar cast of characters from the dysfunctional family members to Milhouse, Chief Wiggum and Hank Scorpio, this collection of twelve Simpsons comics includes storylines such as Marge becoming a court judge, Dr Nick getting involved in the mob, and a family trip to the jungles of Central America. Slightly off-mint.
The Definitive Peter Cook and Dudley Moore
Regarded by some as British comedy’s greatest double act, Pete & Dud produced a huge oeuvre of material during their decades working together. Dozens of transcribed sketches and scenes have been carefully selected here, arranged by production from untelevised Beyond the Fringe sketches that were hugely successful at Royal Variety Performances to radical, taboo-busting Derek and Clive LPs. Off-mint.
'Twas the Fight Before Christmas
With a list of chores, a missing internet delivery and squabbling relatives, Christmas Eve for the Jones family is fraught with stress, but everyone works together when Santa gets stuck in the chimney. Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees survey the chaos in this parody of the classic poem.