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The Timewaster Letters Paperback – 22 Sep 2005
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Absolutely hilarious, this is the one book I'll be buying for all my friends this Christmas (The Bookseller)
It's pure comedy platinum and the book I've laughed to more than any other (Shortlist)
So funny it will make you sick (Time Out)
For several years, Robin Cooper has been plaguing department stores, hotels, associations, fan clubs and a certain children's book publisher with his letters. So who is Robin Cooper?See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
Well worth £6.
In conclusion: a great book, really funny. However I think that the original serialisation was probably better because reading letter after letter in one, two or indeed three sittings could become a little tiresome. Perhaps Mr Cooper could send some of his publishing profits off to the victims of the Battle of Hastings?
I laughed so hard I almost cried. I got odd looks on the bus, but I didn't care. Some of this book is just hilarious - e.g. in particular the scarecrows made of beef - and then the fact that these were actually meant to be made of "beel". But nearly every page was brilliant. As a publisher myself, the letters to and from publishers and the madcap children's book ideas particularly appealed.
There are other similar books, from the US - these aren't as funny, and the one I read seemed to be a lot more repetitive and far less interesting. This is the one you should buy - now.
Robin Cooper is, in fact, Robert Popper, creator of the truly wonderful comedy series Look Around You (amongst other things) and his distinctive brand of humour is evident here. The Timewaster Letters is, of course, no more than the prank phonecall committed to paper ("Is your fridge running? Yes? Well you'd better chase after it then!"), a more developed form of knocking on someone's door and running away, and many will consider it childish, peurile and a cheap laugh at best. Indeed it's a little hit or miss - sometimes the humour IS just silly and often the target of Mr Cooper's correspondances simply reply with a brief, polite request to stop writing to them. Overall it's not unlike David Thorne's The Internet is a Playground (which Timewaster predates by quite a few years).
However, many of the episodes ARE funny - very funny - (at least to me) and a few had me literally crying with laughter (much to the irritation of my wife - don't read it on a train).
So, do be careful before buying this as it's very much a matter of taste.
I'm not sure how Robin Cooper gets his ideas for potential products but his proposals were brilliant - a book for children on the bedtime activities of William Stanley Jr, a venus fly trap for birds - how these companies didn't send someone around to have this guy locked up is beyond me. Their replies are all very measured and calm, but you just know the recipient was slightly concerned about Robin. Robin pulls every stunt off with style.
I challenge you to buy this book and not laugh, especially if you've written a letter to a big company, been fobbed off and wanted to get your own back.