Bluntly telling it like it is as only gay comedian, chat show host and now agony uncle Graham Norton can, with wit and wisdom. Ask Graham is a collection of letters and responses from Norton’s column in the very middle class and conservative Daily Telegraph. If you’re looking for a gentle agony aunt who sensitively guides you to the solutions to life’s problems without judgement, turn back now. Not that he is ever mean to the genuinely vulnerable; he saves his mocking for the clearly stupid and those who’ve made diamond encrusted mountains out of simple, mundane molehills.
I used to be a boghandler, that’s ‘bookseller’ in Danish. If there are enough diamonds in the world to give everyone a cupful, why are they so expensive? Did you know Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, married Oscar Wilde’s first girlfriend? There’s a joke in there somewhere, I know it.
As Chast’s parents aged, she recognised the need to care for them, and she did, until they died. Graphic novel memoir Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? details her uncensored journey with humour and poignancy, examining her changing relationships with them along the way.
Other than the seriously offensive smell of Hyperbole and Half‘s pages (I think it’s all that colourful ink) and that odd yellow triangle on the top of Brosh’s cartoon head (what is that, anyway? A hat, a blonde ponytail?), this is a self-aware blog-to-book memoir describing some of the absurdities and poignancy of everyday life.
Much of what we see in the YA shelves is dour, grimy and deadly. Why is that? Where can we find the lighter side of young adult fiction? Which authors should we look to for a satisfying happy ending or a good belly laugh?
Science fiction and fantasy have a long history of both comic writing and essentially light-hearted adventures. However, more and more it seems authors want to take themselves seriously, focusing more on the darker elements of story telling. Is genre too po-faced outside the work of certain specifically ‘comedy’ writers? Why do so many writers steer clear of trying to be funny?
Get ready to laugh your f*cking arse off. Actually “Sexy and I Know it” is the perfect soundtrack for this one. Brace yourself.
Cat and Mouse
An unconscious 30-year-old man was brought in to us by ambulance. His girlfriend had found him lying naked on the floor of his bathroom and called 999. Upon examination, he was found to have a large lump on his forehead and, strangely, several scratches on his scrotum. The lump was obviously from a fall of some kind, but we couldn’t work out the cause of the scratches until he’d woken up. He said he had been cleaning his bathtub while naked, kneeling on the floor beside the tub. His cat, apparently transfixed by the rhythmic swaying of his scrotum, lunged forward, sinking its claws into this deliciously pendulous target. The man wasn’t sure what had happened next, but clearly he’d jerked forward to protect his package and cracked his skull on the edge of the bath.
Chilli-filled vagina, unchoreographed slapstick, some harmless bestiality, many an ESA (Embarrassing Sexual Accident), fat nurse gets comeuppance, battered woman not actually battered… by a human – nothing is what it appears. You can’t make this shit up.
Dear Elvis Presley,
I’m so sorry for laughing and judging you based on how I believed you’d died. Living with Hirschsprung’s disease had to be awful, always worrying, always in discomfort. People assuming you were fat when the distended abdomen was a sign you were seriously ill.
Begging your forgiveness,