Monty Python’s Big Red Book, by Monty Python 7.75
“For me perhaps the finest book written int he English language since Bleak House” – F.R. Lewis (in ‘Talking about Middlemarch’, 1958)
‘Monty Python’s Big Red Book’ is neither red nor is it big. In fact, it’s not brown either, no matter what the credits say. The book also claims to be a hardcover even though it’s a softcover. Buyers beware: this is pure rubbish, and it serves only to increase its sale price twofold. Sadly, it took me a few weeks to realize that I had been tricked.
By then it was too late to return it to the bookshop.
But the book makes up for it, starting on the left foot with a foreword from none other than Reginald Bosanquet of Independent Television News Limited (followed by a dissociation by the ITN people). And a few notes of disappointment from Colonel “Sandy” Volestrangler, Richard Baker of the BBC, BBC management, BBC Radio and BBC2.
And this after numerous (completely unrelated) quotes on the back cover of the book. So, when I finally decided that I could spare a few moments to peruse it, I knew that this fine read was likely going to be more satisfying than my morning BM. Although, it’s hard to distinguish one from the other seeing as I tend to do both at the same time.
This not-so-big and not-so-red book has a little bit for everyone, including The Arts page, The Sports Page, The Children’s Page, The Naughty Pages (which I won’t describe because it would be too salacious for your tender ears), an Australian Page (which has been printed upside down to better accommodate Aussies) and The Goats’ Page.
Not enough for you?
There are essays, including one on why accountancy is not boring (I nodded off while reading it), The World Encyclopedia of Carnal Knowledge (it was briefer than expected), a report on the Piranha Brothers and a feature on the Greatest Upper Class Twit Race in the World. And there’s fiction, such as a new version of “The Importance of Being Earnest’.
For those who don’t like reading other people’s fiction but can’t write, there’s even a Do-it-yourself Story section. And for people who can’t read much, there’s a photoplay. And for people who can’t read at all, there’s Terry Gilliam’s art. If “art” it is. Truly, the Pythons tried their best to make this book accessible to all manners of audience.
All the better to make an extra pound or two.
For a quick distraction, there are also sheet music for “Spam” and for “Bing Tiddle Tiddle Bong”, the requisite crossword puzzle, magazine adverts and even some newspaper personals (although some of these are a tad sketchy; trust me, I wouldn’t write in to any of them!). There’s even advice from Madame Palm and a political insert by the Silly Party.
And so much more. More than you could ever imagine. Or want, even.
I love this book – even more than my other book. It’s flatter, thinner, lighter, well-bound, pretty, more colourful, more silent and it smells nice. If I had to marry a book, ‘Monty Python’s Big Red Book’ would be the one for me. Now and forever. In sickness and in health, in good times and bad, in joy as well as in sorrow. Til death do us part.
What’s more, my copy is a limited edition, the first of 294,999 copies in print (From what I can tell, it was originally supposed to be 24,999, but it was scratched off in pen and changed. Many times. But it’s still number one!). It must be a popular book. So get your own copy of ‘Monty Python’s Big Red Book’ while you still can, so that you don’t feel left out.
You’ll be damned glad that you did. Your self-esteem and social status depend on it.
Nota bene: Since I haven’t yet received my endorsement cheque, I have tapered my enthusiasm somewhat. When I receive the agreed upon monies, I will revisit this blurb to give the book a more fitting review (It’s even better than I’ve let on, you know. Oh, if only you knew…). The end. For now.