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He Died With a Felafel in His Hand Paperback – 6 Oct 1997

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; Television tie-in edition edition (6 Oct. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006388574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006388579
  • Package Dimensions: 19.4 x 13 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

‘This is the grunge version of Melrose – the characters move speedily from one bed to another in Birmingham’s share-house hell… Not recommended for landlords’, Kathy Bil, Editor, Rolling Stone

‘You’ll read it with horrified amusement and, if you’ve ever shared a flat, the occasional wince of recollection’, Terry Pratchett

From the Back Cover

‘A rat died in the living room at King Street and we didn’t know. There was at least six inches of compacted rubbish between our feet and the floor. Old Ratty must have crawled in there and died of pleasure. A visitor uncovered him while groping around for a beer.’

So you think your flatmates are from Hell? Never clean up after themselves? Sometimes forget to flush the toilet? But did they ever run up a £20,000 credit scam from home? Ever blow up a perfectly innocent milk van? Or bring a stampede of corrupt police through your door?

John Birmingham’s did. And he secretly took notes on all of them. 89 flatmates later, this is his very funny horror story.

“You’ll read it with horrified amusement and if you’ve ever shared a flat, the occasional wince of recollection.”
TERRY PRATCHETT

“This is the grunge version of Melrose – the characters move as speedily from one bed to another… Yet the props here are beanbags, bongs and unpaid bills. Not recommended for landlords.”
ROLLING STONE

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
These are the random notes of an australian who has a massive number of house mates over the years, and has kept notes on them all. This is not a book for the squeamish, but if you like black humour, you will find many laugh out loud moments. Some examples to tempt you (or put you off!)
The room mate who lives in a tent in the lounge
The various squats and their living conditions
The titular room mate who literally died with a felafel in his hand
The goths next door and when their stereo got shot
The brown sofa, that ubiquitous item of late 20th century house shares
I loved this book, and so has everyone I lent it to.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very funny and certainly reminds me some of my house shares long ago...
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Format: Paperback
I first picked up this book a few years back on one of the many occasions I was locked out of my house I found myself in the tiny local library seeking shelter from the rain and Uni lecturers. I was seduced into removing it from a shelf of dull looking educational literature and novels you have to be over 75 to read. The gorgeously grotesque cover was enough to lull me into a false sense of security thinking I would only spend a few minutes reading it while waiting for my flatmates to arrive. How wrong I was this book is amazingly funny material and John Birmingham is a legend!! If there was a literary god of humour he would no doubt be..... Australian, and be full of 'life experiences' I kept turning the pages and before I knew what time it was I was being chucked out by a librarian (never thought I'd actually say those words). However it was incredibly difficult to get hold of a copy at the time, then in my quest to make it my own discovered a sequel 'Tasmanian Babes Fiasco' Again Fantastic!! Even better than the original!! I'm eagerly awaiting my copy of 'Weapons of Choice' & Dopetown. I know they won't disappoint. Can't praise enough!!! BUY! BUY! BUY!
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Format: Audio Cassette
The title of this book may be deceptive. This is not a murder, nor a horror story. It is a humorous, fast paced collection of student living stories. John Birmingham lived in a number of student houses in various Australian cities with a fantastic variety of people, most of whom had interesting and some might say frightening idiosyncrasies, which makes for some hilarious stories. Birmingham cleverly captures the mood of student houses where a bunch of young, poor, different and supposedly intelligent people have come together to live under one roof. Inevitably there are differences of opinion, some problems with hygiene and people who can't/don't pay the rent. The book also illustrates the lengths to which students will go to entertain themselves when they are sick of daytime television. Watch out especially for the tale of the cocktail party held by the pretty Tasmanian girls up the road, and the days of preparation that go into having one hell of an evening. A really good read for anyone that likes a good laugh.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having had my share of share houses this book caught my eye.
At first the book was a little interesting and I thought it had potential. However it is not very well written, it skips around in time and the stories just seem repetitive after a while.
Drugs, drinking and more drugs.
There are a couple of funny moments, but mostly it's just the same - "Yay we took loads of drugs, acted like twats and someone had a bad trip so I left the house". Maybe I'm being a little harsh as I had high expectations on the variety of the stories but it definetly wasn't for me.
If you read Mr Nice (I haven't seen the movie so can't compare) and liked it, you will probably like this book. If you thought Mr Nice was a tool, you probably won't like this book either.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first felt inclined to read this book after an article appeared on the BBC website regarding terrible flatmates, and this was quoted. After being mislead from reviews on this fine website that it would lead to laughter I duly purchased it and proceeded not to laugh for the remaining 214 pages, actually I lie, I only read 203 pages and then gave up.

It's difficult to comprehend the meetings between John Birmingham and Flamingo publisher but I'd fathom it went something like this: "So Mr Birmingham, I heard you've got a great idea for a book?", "Absolutely, you know how we all end up sharing flats or houses at some point or another, I thought I'd share some of those stories" , "Sounds good, give me some examples John", "O, they're all basically the same, I move into a degenerate house with a bunch of juvenile, drug taking bawbags, I describe how decrepit the place is, something unhygienic, dodgy and predictable happens and I then move out, wash, rinse, repeat" the publisher gives a puzzled look "Ok, but won't it get a bit repetitive and annoying?", "O no, don't worry, it'll be chronologically incomprehensible, I'll use the word 'cones' a great deal to sound cool, it'll also be randomly inter dispersed with other folks identically tedious tales, but in a different font or in a grey box so as to confuse the reader." "Brilliant"

I gave this book 2 stars because I'm sure there are worse books out there, I mean I haven't read Mein Kampf, but I'm sure it's pretty bad. My main issues with this book is that it's very repetitive, poorly edited and I ended up disliking all the characters.
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