2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Second-Class Male: A Book of Misguided Letters (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you have a lot of time on your hands, and an enjoyment of mild practical jokes, writing a string of spoof letters to a wide range of targets, from Superdrug and Specsavers to The Prince of Wales and the Pope, may seem like an appealing idea to while away your evenings.
Whether reading these letters is quite such an enjoyable way to waste time is less certain.
The letters themselves are rather repetetive, the first paragraph almost invariably contains the same information and usually the joke involves some form of deliberate misunderstanding or silly proposal that Stan Madeley develops for a paragraph or two. A typical example would be the two letters to the British Trombome Society ("Hail Fellow Trombonists !") and the British Flute Society extolling to each the virtues of the rival organisation. To be honest, these do become slightly "samey" and are a surprisingly slow read.
The odd letter, for example the one to WH Smith about selling Playboy-branded children's stationery, are more hard hitting, but most are unashamedly pointless.
More entertaining are the replies, which are often fine examples of attempts by ordinary citizens to react with sanity in the face of what must have seemed bizarre provocation. The two replies from The Prince of Wales' office are stunning examples of the political art. Of course, it is possible that the replies are as bogus as the letters themselves, and, in fact that Stan Madeley isn't really a Richard Madeley looklalike at all, or even that he isn't a cabaret chisel thrower. It is when you start to consider such grey areas that the whole celebrity/"spoof" genre seems to become a bit pointless.