Saturday, April 05, 2008


Buttons to You

Recently the Guardian covered the new sequel to last year's charming Bollocks to Alton Towers: Uncommonly British Days Out -- which has now been released in the US! -- and the sequel's title is, naturally.... More Bollocks to Alton Towers.
The authors have devised a droll tone of voice which never tips into facetiousness, partly because they know what they're doing, and partly because of the genuine affection and wonder they feel for such places as the Clarks Shoe Museum, the Hundred Acre Wood, the Yelverton Paperweight Centre and the 40-odd other offbeat attractions that they describe.

....Writing about the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising ("somewhere along the way you may, quite reasonably, ask yourself, 'why have I been staring at a thirty-year-old packet of Polos for nearly two minutes?'"), they acknowledge the power of the past's trivia to arrest us. "The older you are, the longer it takes you to get round the museum. You stroll through the collection, quietly engaged, until you reach the bit where you were about five years old, at which point you slow to a complete stop, gasp and crawl the remaining decades at a snail's pace, the doors to the less frequented corners of your mind blown wide open and flapping in the breeze."

British media will once again have to twist themselves into knots to deal with the book's title, as co-author Jason Hazeley reported back in 2006:
The real depth of our stupidity wasn't apparent until we started the round of radio and TV interviews. "Obviously, we can't say the title on air" sounded as familiar as "hello" after the nth time. The spoken word doesn't do asterisks.... Elsewhere on the airwaves, the part of Bollocks was taken by its understudies Buzzcocks, Cobblers, Pillocks and Beep Beep. BBC Radio Kent opted for the truly odd Buttons To Alton Towers. The most visible rabbit in the headlights, by some stretch, was ITV comfort zone This Morning. Citing its Orwellian "compliance guidelines", it wouldn't even mention Alton Towers. A production assistant was let loose on the dust jacket with masking tape and, when it appeared on screen, we'd apparently written a book called To.

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