By John Lloyd & John Mitchinson
Advancer Banter may seem like a departure from previous QI books, but in fact it's based on exactly the same principles that underlie both the books and the TV show - that anything is interesting if looked at closely enough, for long enough or from the right angle.
Most books of quotations aren't very interesting. They repeat what is already in other books of the same type and they include quotations because they are `important' or `famous'. Also, like most books these days, they tend to be written in a tearing hurry. This book took ten years to compile.
At QI, we love quotations. If you listen carefully, you'll see that we use them on the TV show all the time. Good quotes are the best bits of the best minds, the permanent record of the funniest, truest and most memorable things anyone has ever said. Over the past decade, we've amassed a huge database of them. Advanced Banter is an edited, annotated collection of our favourites - about 4,000 quotes from 1,000 authors and covering 400 subjects.
QI is more than just a programme: it's an attempt to search out (and share) interestingness in all its forms. Our long-term plan - and it's one reason why we are working our way through the alphabet - is one day to produce the Encyclopedia Eccentrica, an authoritative reference tome with no dull bits. So, Advanced Banter is QI's first reference book. To us, finding out something interesting about lettuce or Greenland is exactly the same as uncovering a brilliant quotation about artichokes or greed. You have to bulldoze through a lot of desert to turn up one diamond.
As for how you use the book, all we'll say is that you can't have a conversation on your own. Banter is not a solitary activity. Quotations are ready-to-wear, high-class banter and come in handy all the time: best man's speeches, client presentations, school essays, family dinners, nights in the pub, bar mitzvahs, funerals, first dates...
Spice up your small talk instantly.
Here are some we both love:
Never put anything on paper, my boy, and never trust a man with a small black moustache.
I don't think I'll get married again. I'll just find a woman I don't like and give her a house.
To get something done, a committee should consist of no more than three people, two of whom are absent.
The most difficult book I have ever read was a manual on the use of iron mangles by A.J. Thompson.
Erotica is using a feather, pornography is using the whole chicken.
The question actors most often get asked is how they can bear saying the same things over and over again, night after night, but God knows the answer to that is, don't we all anyway? Might as well get paid for it...
RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN
I only have two acting styles: with and without a horse.
People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one.
LEO J BURKE
A man can sleep around, but if a woman makes 19 or 20 mistakes she's a tramp.
The trouble with eating Italian food is that 5 or 6 days later you're hungry again.
What would this country be, without this great land of ours?
You can pretend to be serious; you can't pretend to be witty.
All anybody needs to know about prizes is that Mozart never won one.
Never raise your hand to your children - it leaves your mid-section unprotected.
Sometimes I think we're alone. Sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the thought is staggering.
R BUCKMINSTER FULLER
We tell ourselves that God is dead, when what we mean is God is Dad, and we wish him dead.
One may see the small value God has for riches by the people He gives them to.
A man's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another drink.
We are born. We eat sweet potatoes. Then we die
EASTER ISLAND PROVERB