The typical encyclopaedia is written without an authorial voice or angle. For example, you can read dozens of entries by the same contributor in Britannica, without discovering anything about his secret lover in Bolton or what he had for breakfast that morning. For followers of FR Leavis, this may be fine. But for many of us, this is not enough, and the eminent Dr Fegg's book fills a big gap in the market. Dr Fegg's aim was not only to cover his expenses while on the run, but also to educate pre-adolescent children in the essentials of life, as well as proving that he had almost nothing to do with the Bournemouth Axe Murders. Some people got the wrong idea. In its original 1974 version, it was called THE NASTY BOOK FOR BOYS AND GIRLS. But after many complaints about it being an inappropriate birthday present, and several inquests, and only two Old Bailey trials, the title was changed to the present name. In the 31 years since its publication, I have tried to live my life according to Feggist principles, barely washing from week to week, and gradually whittling away the stock of relatives. The mandatory life sentences have been a bit of bummer, but you can't have everything. I wish I'd been able to put into practice Dr Fegg's advice about crossing the Andes by frog. It was, of course, Dr Fegg who ended all chances of a Rutles reunion, and since the disappearance of Ron Nasty, Dr Fegg has had to lie very low indeed. Some say he is in South America. Others say the Himalayas. His only link now to the outside world is Mike Palin, who was only half-responsible for the Skegness Impaling. It is alleged that Mike goes to see him every now and then, under the guise of a new series for the BBC, in order to channel some of the proceeds from the enormously successful (in an in-between-Holy-Grail-and-Tomkinson sort of way) encyclopaedia. I somehow doubt it. But I enjoyed this book tremendously.
15 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?