Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2014 September 24 • Wednesday

Books of this sort are usually disappointing but I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan is great.

P. G. Wodehouse apparently used to make a point of putting one really good bit on every page of his comic novels, sticking pages that needed one to the wall of his study until he'd come up with the right laugh to add. The authors of this book appear to have used the same idea but strived for something really funny in every paragraph. They've also made hilarious use of footnotes.

As Alan tells his life story, at times directly contradicting what we know to be true from watching Knowing Me, Knowing You and I'm Alan Partridge, his genius for rationalization and doublethink become as impressive as the authors' wit. Consider this sentence from late in the book: "I wish things had turned out differently but I'm glad they didn't". It's patently absurd but also not far off from how I feel sometimes.

Best of all is how a comic idea gets developed over the course of a page or two, starting funny but ending up making you laugh out loud. The several paragraphs covering the death of Alan's mother make a good example, concluding with this observation about visiting her grave.

I don't go down to the cemetery at all these days unless I happen to be passing. In which case I'll take flowers. The beauty of her headstone is that it's located on the main thoroughfare through the graveyard. So if I'm pushed for time I can open my passenger-side window and throw the flowers out without stopping. That might sound crass, but in many ways it's a tribute to Mum because she was a real stickler for punctuality. Not that the flowers always land in the right place. Quite often they end up on the grave of Dan 'loving and loyal husband' Faversham. Occasionally other mourners will see this happening and frown. I can only assume they think I'm a predatory gay with a fetish for the dead. And I know that would have made Mum chuckle.

The whole book is great reading. The last bit of evidence I'll quote comes from the end: "So, dear reader, our time together is over. All that remains is this short epilogue. And anyone who thinks it's designed solely to haul me over the minimum word-count specified by my publisher is very, very, very, very, very, very wrong".