`The League of Gentlemen's Book of Precious Things' is an entertainingly eclectic anthology, which brings together the singularly individual choices of Messrs Dyson, Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith (assembled under `Dyson's Choices', `Gatiss' Greatest', `Pemberton's Picks' & `Reece's Pieces') whilst being, at the same time, a communal compendium reflecting the unique collective sensibility of The League of Gentlemen and their extraordinary wide ranging influences and inspirations.
The collection is a fascinating one and the material is a mixture of the intelligent, the ribald, the theatrical, the bizarre, the dramatic, the accessible and the obscure. A love of language, the macabre, the gothic and a touch of the melancholic are unifying factors linking many of the choices. The range of sources show The League's respect for and love of writers who have forged their own vision & articulated a distinctive individuality.
The `precious things' found within the pages range from the Coen Brothers to Noel Coward by way of `Exorcist III' and 1970s BBC documentaries, from Robert Aickman to Victoria Wood, `Doctor Who' to Rumpelstiltskin, `Porridge' to `Dead Babies' and many things in between.
Surely the four Gents were somehow destined to collaborate , so attuned along the same creative wavelength as they seem to be - was it just fate that they all happened to watch a bonfire night screening of `Carry on Screaming' on BBC1 in 1976?
Although maybe not as an essential `must have' for fans as `A Local Book for Local People', `Scripts and That' or the brilliant books by Jeremy and Mark, `Book of Precious Things' is nevertheless a very interesting and worthwhile addition to The League's literary works.
It puts you onto their wavelength, placing their own leap of collective creativity into context. The wide variety of material & influences contained within the anthology helps you to understand their own originality and uniqueness.
It certainly inspired me to seek out several of the pieces featured within its pages - which is what any decent anthology should do.
In itself `The League of Gentlemen's Book of Precious Things' is an uniquely expansive and original literary/tv/comedy collection as you'd hope to find, as extraordinary as The League of Gentlemen themselves.