For a fun gift idea, David reviews Guy Rundle and Dexter Rightwad’s latest offering.
Amongst the presents under the tree last Christmas were several thoughtfully selected books. One of these, when unwrapped, turned out to be 50 People Who Stuffed up Australia from my canine friends, although I suspect they may have had human assistance.
As I considered this ‘slimish’ paperback’s arresting cover, the choice of fonts and image, I more fully appreciated my four-legged family members’ accompanying card and its reference to ‘warnings of coarse and strong language’. Clearly, Monty and Ebony thought Guy Rundle and Dexter Rightwad’s latest offering would appeal immensely to their ‘master’. The solitary cover image of a black plastic garbage bag sporting a large ‘50’ and an accompanying cloud of flies, a visual device carried through the entire 224 pages, effectively conveys the authors’ healthy irreverence and sense of the ridiculous concerning their 50 chosen ‘victims’. One’s immediate and natural response is to fly to the contents page to ensure that your name is not featured there, then peruse the eclectic list who do appear and wonder why they stopped at 50 when one can readily expand such a pantheon of luminaries.
From colonial governors such as Lachlan Macquarie to prime ministers, Gough Whitlam, Julia Gillard, John Howard, from entertainers and playwrights, Barry Humphries and David Williamson, to authors, David Marr, Manning Clark and the media, Andrew Bolt, Paddy McGuinness, Gerald Stone, from rock stars, Nick Cave, to tycoon, Gina Rinehart. In a broad sweep of Australian history, starting with Capt. James Cook and Bennelong, no calling or career appears to be off-limits to the authors’ acerbic assessment and lampooning. Arranged alphabetically rather than chronologically, perhaps another small example of the pervading healthy contempt for convention, a sample quote may well help to convey the flavour of this book. Chapter three is devoted to Bob Brown, described as an ‘activist’, rather than a pollie. “He has the demeanour of a praying mantis who somehow managed to get hold of a David Jones charge card and acquired a marked-down blue suit. The hands go worrying against each other, like said insect fussing its way through a particularly stressful meeting of the Third Leaf Down...”
It’s also one of those marvellous books for busy people, or those cursed with a very short concentration span. Each self-contained chapter is only a few pages; never more than twelve, so the reader can dip in and out, at random, depending on mood and opportunity.
A delicious and refreshing read; you’ll learn as you laugh!
50 People Who Stuffed Up Australia
Guy Rundle and Dexter Rightwad
RRP: $26.95 – Buy on Booktopia for $21.50
Prices displayed are correct at time of publication. Prices are subject to change at short notice. In these circumstances, the price listed on the YOURLifeChoices website may not be correct. In the event that a price conflict between the YOURLifeChoices website and Booktopia website does occur, Booktopia website prices will override prices listed in the newsletter.
Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free
- Receive our daily enewsletter
- Enter competitions
- Comment on articles