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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We are no longer One Book Too Few
At last, a collection of the musings of one of the greatest living Englishmen (albeit, now a dead one). Peter Amadeus Cook, as John Cleese referred to him. Since Peter's death there has been the odd book about him here and there. Harry Thompson's excellent Biog and Something Like Fire the collection of memories of friends and colleagues edited by Cook's last wife Lin...
Published on 9 Oct. 2002

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More For Dedicated Comedy Fans
Peter Cook was someone that anyone with any interest in comedy will have heard of. His partnership with Dudley Moore on Not Only But Also included the classic Pete and Dud sketches, which later evolved into the more foul mouthed Derek and Clive, and he was rightly celebrated for his work with Beyond the Fringe.

This book is not a biography (although each...
Published on 15 Jun. 2007 by I Read, Therefore I Blog


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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We are no longer One Book Too Few, 9 Oct. 2002
By A Customer
At last, a collection of the musings of one of the greatest living Englishmen (albeit, now a dead one). Peter Amadeus Cook, as John Cleese referred to him. Since Peter's death there has been the odd book about him here and there. Harry Thompson's excellent Biog and Something Like Fire the collection of memories of friends and colleagues edited by Cook's last wife Lin being chief among them. This however is the nitty gritty, the dog's doo-dahs or perhaps more aptly, the bee's knees (as many of Cook's wildly inventive stream of consciousness tales included that very insect).
Here are culled examples - though not as the name suggests 'The Complete' - Peter Cook creative outpoorings, from his early reviews through to the Clive Anderson special with assorted pieces of writing in between, not quite what you might call journalism but mini works of genius every one.
Peter is dead, E.L. Wisty never managed to dominate the world but we can still help make a difference if every household had a copy of this book. Sit it in your loo and read a sketch per visit, put it by your bedside (it may help get rid of film starlets bothering you in their nocturnal lusts), just buy the book dammit, read it, injest it, spoil yourself in its healthy outlook on the ridiculous world we live in and give thanks for Peter Cook.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 400 plus pages of comic genius Peter Cook!!!, 29 Oct. 2003
By 
Jason Parkes "We're all Frankies'" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Tragically I was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook (Paperback)
This collection is superb- transcripts of various pieces/sketches etc that Cook made over several decades. From the classic Beyond the Fringe (& preceding work, though sadly not the short ghost story that is mentioned in the introduction)through to the collaborations with the late Dudley Moore (Not Only But Also, Pete & Dud, Derek & Clive)alongside work for Private Eye ("The Seductive Brethren")& the more recent, if no less great, pieces for/with Clive Anderson & Chris Morris. There's so much here, & you don't have to offer pious reverence to the initial audio/visual sources (especially if these don't exist, or have been binned, as much of Cook's early work)- this is a great book you can dip into. Derek & Clive does smack a bit of Pinter! This collection is a brilliant reminder of a great comic, & proof that Cook didn't blow it or anything like that...Ideally this should be read alongside Lin Cook's biography of him & the brilliant Bedazzled also!!! Peter Cook was punk rock before punk rock, he was a genius who'd achieved pretty much everything by his 30s...as Stephen Fry says on the cover "The funniest man who ever drew breath". Plus, it's great to read (where else?) on the toilet!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More For Dedicated Comedy Fans, 15 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Tragically I was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook (Paperback)
Peter Cook was someone that anyone with any interest in comedy will have heard of. His partnership with Dudley Moore on Not Only But Also included the classic Pete and Dud sketches, which later evolved into the more foul mouthed Derek and Clive, and he was rightly celebrated for his work with Beyond the Fringe.

This book is not a biography (although each chapter is prefaced by some information about Cook and his work at the time) but a collection of what William Cook considers to be the best of Peter's work. There are certainly some classic sketches in there (including 'The Worst Job in the World', which involves Jayne Mansfield and the removal of lobsters and a Pete and Dud sketch retelling their harassment by beautiful actresses), but William Cook also includes articles and transcripts of Peter's work from a variety of sources.

Personally, I didn't enjoy reading the sketches so much as I enjoyed the articles. This is mainly because I think Cook's humour works best in the delivery and Cook's was so unique that reading his work seems a very poor substitute. In addition though (and at the risk of being branded a heretic), I think that there's a certain 'sameyness' to Cook's sketches - albeit sameyness of a surreal nature. You know what you're going to get from a sketch, which kind of robs it of its magic. That aside, I did enjoy reading his articles, particularly his sports articles (and this comes from the fact that (a) I don't support his teams and (b) I have very little interest in sport). Cook was certainly more prolific than I had imagined, and I also hadn't realised that he'd worked with both the 'godfathers' of comedy (e.g. Miller and Bennett) and also some of the current comedy titans such as Chris Morris and Clive Andersen.

Although William Cook takes the approach that Peter Cook's work speaks for itself, I would nevertheless have enjoyed just a little more insight into what he was trying to do and why it had the effect that it did. Whilst he does acknowledge the furore of the foul language and brutal imagery within the Derek and Clive performances, there's very little of what Peter and Dudley themselves thought of them.

William Cook does not approach his subject with rose-tinted glasses - he does acknowledge Peter's failures as a writer and he makes a point of saying that some sketches could not be included specifically because they either did not work or only worked in a aural medium. This is to be commended and I do think that he's picked out some of the best of Peter Cook's work.

I don't think that this is a book that can (or should) be read through in one sitting. It's more something to dip in and out of and whilst there is certainly nothing wrong with that, people hoping for some insight into what Peter Cook was all about, may find that his work does nothing to solve the mystery.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really amusing, 18 Oct. 2008
This review is from: Tragically I was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook (Paperback)
The only bad thing I have to say about this collection of Peter Cook's work is that the cover describes it as the complete Peter Cook, and well it's not, it's would be truer to call it the best of Peter Cook. And it really is that, it's got most of the classic scripts from the Tarzan sketch to Pete n Dud. The part that I really enjoyed to the point where I was chuckling away is the latter part of the book, it would seem that Peter Cook got funnier and funnier as time passed, watch out for Sven and his fishes expecially funny given as it was from a radio phone in.

It's definatly worth a read if you have a sense of humour, if you don't I would like to recommend 'Starting to Paint With Acrilycs' by John Raynes which is not funny in the slightest.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny..., 25 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Tragically I was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook (Paperback)
There can be no arguing against the glaringly obvious fact that Peter Cook was bloody funny. Funny. Ve'y, ve'y funny. Like every single innovative humourist, not all his creations make one guffaw till vomitus projectus. But, the stuff in this block of glued together leaves is largely brilliantly funny -- ranging from the crass, to the urbanely witty. All those who say otherwise are petty little contrarians.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good collection of scripts, an OK potted biography, 14 May 2004
By 
Nigel Collier (Hull) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Tragically I was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook (Paperback)
Let me put my impressions of this book into context first:
I love Derek and Clive, Pete and Dud and the latter Cook material such as the Sven phone calls, the Why Bother material with Chris Morris and the Clive Anderson interviews.
I don't like the earlier Fringe and EL Wisty stuff which I find formulaic, repetitive and I just don't see the humour.
So I half enjoyed this book; it's basically a collection of scripts and writings spanning Peter's varied career, right from the stuff he did at University and later at the Secret Policeman's Ball with John Bird, Jonathan Miller, Alan Bennett et al through to the stuff he did towards the end of his life, like the 12 Days of Christmas on radio and the Clive Anderson show in TV, with his long partnership with Dudley Moore and his founding of Private Eye in the middle.
A good cross section of Peter Cook's work is covered, so there should be something in there for everyone - the Clive Anderson/Chris Morris/Sven stuff are, I think, some of Peter Cook's very best and funniest performances and they're not so easy to come by.
Each chapter of Peter's career and writings is introduced with a short biographical passage giving the reader a little background on Peter's life at the time. It covers his relationships with the various people he worked with, his motivations, the influence he's had on other comedians etc. I found it interesting but I suspect it might not satisfy die hard Peter Cook fans who want more in depth insights into the man. It covers things like why he opened a satire club, his own reflections on how he used his comedy to victimise Dudley Moore, etc.
It's OK. The biographical stuff I can take or leave, but some of the scripts are fantastic and show just how clever Cook was - he comes across almost like a Miles Davis of comedy - exploring and pushing the boundaries of his art and often not even knowing himself where he might go next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Derek & Clive, 10 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Tragically I was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook (Paperback)
Not only some well known sketches, but also letters to the daily mail and transcripts of off the cuff interviews. my favourite is the confession of being admitted to the Henry Ford Clinic (tougher than Betty, you have to build a car before they let you out). Its been a good dip-in book the past month or so. So get it if you were a fan.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, nostalgic, but not really "complete", 9 Feb. 2003
By 
T. D. Welsh (Basingstoke, Hampshire UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
It is typical of Peter Cook that he should be simultaneously neglected and overrated. Most people, even in Britain, probably remember little or nothing of him - but those who do form the most idolatrous of fan-clubs. The Stephen Fry quote on this book's cover, "The funniest man who ever drew breath" is a typical example. Cook's tragedy was that his humour was most effective by far in a roomful of people; slightly diluted on the stage, it lost something more on TV, and I could not help but notice that I ploughed my way through this 400-page book with frequent smiles but only an occasional laugh. His attempts to break into films were actually embarrassing, as a viewing of the original "Bedazzled" will confirm.
As William Cook points out in his perceptive Introduction, "Cook was a miniaturist. His speciality was a conversation of only several minutes duration. His quick-fire creativity didn't lend itself to longer, more structured genres". Consequently, his best work was done in cooperation with others. For instance, although Cook wrote about two-thirds of the script for "Beyond the Fringe", the result would not have been nearly as entertaining without the contributions of Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller and Dudley Moore. Like a powerful spirit, Cook's wit was potent - but perhaps best when diluted even slightly.
This book is a fine collection of Cook's work, together with a good deal of information about his life. It is, however, far from "complete", although approaching this goal more closely in the later years when Cook's output was much reduced. It makes a great companion to Harry Thompson's biography of the great man.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book taught me to swim!, 6 Oct. 2003
By A Customer
It's not every humor collection that will teach you to swim, but Mr. Cook wasn't your typical humor writer. Perhaps because he wasn't a humor writer at all, but a comic genius unlike any before or since, this book of his scripts and miscellaneous jottings offers more than just its share of belly laughs.
Were it not for the late Mr. Cook, there would be no Reeves and Mortimer, no Monty Python, no aquatic ballet...
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For Fans Only, 25 Sept. 2003
This review is from: Tragically I was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook (Paperback)
This book is probably for fans only, and a better starting place would be Harry Thompson's excellent biography. It is a really good feeling to read the scripts I've already heard or seen performed, but I imagine someone new to Peter would be left wondering what all the fuss is about. Get this after you've got some of his video or audio recordings.
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Tragically I was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook
Tragically I was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook by Peter Cook (Paperback - 3 July 2003)
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