Today I’m thrilled to be joining the blog tour organised by Red Door Press and Helen Lewis of Literally PR for The Becket List. Thank you for a copy of the book, my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.
An A to Z of First World Problems is… just that. The Becket List is a not entirely serious compendium of ‘First World Problems’ – the sort of stuff that drives us round the bend on a daily basis. How is it that atonal music, bus stations, cling-film and coat-hangers can bugger us up so comprehensively? Or passport control people, modern poetry, or just about anything you’ll find in a typical hotel bedroom? Embracing both the inanimate – from allen keys to rawlplugs – and the animated (well, in some cases) – from your fellow-travellers to every third-rate waiter who ever walked the earth – this book is essential for your sanity. As such, this comprehensive A to Z provides a signal service to humanity.
A collection of entries about many of the things in life that, whilst essentially trivial, day after day contrive to b*gger you up. In the greater scheme of things they don’t matter a damn, but in the context of advanced civilisation they take on a huge significance. The book is a both an important resource for future social historians and a call to action. It’s also, mostly, really rather silly.
In a year full of major anxiety with a global pandemic, this book gave this reader some light relief. Instead of worrying about the ‘big problems’, Henry Becket looks at a wide of variety of people and objects that incur his wrath. Topics covered range from Gatwick Airport to Dry January, from Showers that are impossible to work to Hashtags.
This is a book that can be dipped in and out of, or read in one sitting. In the current climate of zoom meetings, keeping a copy on your desk to read whilst waiting for the host to let you in is my recommendation.
I didn’t agree with all the issues (personally as a non smoker, pubs are much improved by the smoking ban) but did find myself agreeing with many, especially trying to find light switches and use showers in hotel accommodation. For readers of a certain age, you may find yourself worrying that this book will turn you into the Victor Meldrew of 2020 (watch the BBC TV series One Foot in the Grave to understand this reference).
Here’s the ‘about the author’:
Henry Becket was one of that curious breed, a Choral Exhibitioner at Cambridge, where he read… books. And magazines. He then spent decades nurturing what a head hunter once described as an iffy CV – as a Westminster speechwriter, lobbyist, wine merchant, copywriter, ad agency supremo (industry-speak for MD), and writer/director of innumerable eminently forgettable TV commercials in an awful lot of languages. He is lucky enough to have an impressively large family, and is also pretty obsessed with sailing, skiing, claret, churches and hillwalking, among other things. Oh, and the foibles of the world around him. Obvs.
Check out https://thebecketlist.com
British cartoonist known for black humour. His cartoons appear on greeting cards, and he has a regular cartoon strip in Private Eye entitled Yobs that has been published since the late 1980s. He co-wrote the Round the Bend children’s television series, which ran from 1989 to 1991, and was also involved with Hangar 17, which ran from 1992 to 1994. With Marc Riley he was also involved with the comic Oink! and his work has appeared in numerous publications since the 1980s.