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A perfectly-formed compendium of clutter
on 26 November 2002
A lovely little book that seeks to fill the holes in the national knowledge by dispensing with tedious things like rational argument and structure and instead spouting a stream of well-informed but highly random waffle. And it's wonderful: a cornucopia of trivia, a smorgasbord of stuff. But in a very, very good way.
These are 160 pages pebble dashed with facts, figures, ruminations, clarifications and charts - far, far too many to list here, and anyway it would a precious shame to spoil the consistent serendipity of a whole new page full of things you didn't know and never thought to ask.
A smattering of examples: all the Bond films, complete with names of baddie, girl and motor. How to fold a sari. Which Presidents are on which US banknotes. A potted history of the London Underground. Some Churchillian speech patterns. The deaths of some Burmese Kings.
It's maddeningly addictive, so much so that after a few days spent liberally flicking through you'll notice some worrying changes within yourself. You will start to take an unhealthy interest in such matter as the correct name for cloud formations, the Welsh for 'I love you' and the collective nouns for fowl. You'll be continually fighting the urge to bombard your flatmates / colleagues / newsagent with myriad lists, little-knownances and Queer Things. You may even start to become a Dinner Party Bore, the sort of notable who always knows everything about everything and doesn't mind telling you about it, all night. But, as previously mentioned, in a very good way.
And here's the really good news: because each entry only takes up about half a page, it's very easy indeed to concentrate on. We are the Internet Generation, after all, and we have fostered a healthy lust for highly entertaining, bite sized irreverence. Schott's Original Miscellany is, therefore, entirely and utterly our Sort Of Thing.
Buy one for yourself and another one for each of your friends. They'll thank you for it. Schott's Original Miscellany is a book designed for the toilet but destined to be discussed for years... until the next one comes out.