Pugh's New Year's Resolutions by Jonathan Pugh
|Pugh's New Year's Resolutions by Jonathan Pugh|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A fine collection of arch stand-alone comic images, making a decent gift book for all of us reluctant to embrace change.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: November 2016|
|Publisher: Short Books Ltd|
|External links: Author's website|
If there's one thing that's for certain, it's that the world is changing. We're dating online, we're communicating in ways that make email seem redundant, and when we're shopping we just tell a website where and when it can be delivered, and how much leeway they have to swap our wishes for whatever it is they do bring us. But those changes are also supposed to be affecting us – we're supposed to use a smart watch to tell us if we're moving or not, we have to keep up with the latest fads, and we're supposed to prick our ears up and take note when the proverbial 'they' change their minds about what we're supposed to eat.
This book is in honour of all those who stick two fingers up to that idea, and can settle down with a pint of beer and a good book and not worry about whether we're eating the right kind of good salt or not. Not for us the leafy diet that almost makes it more sense for the rabbit to join us at the dining table, as we're eating from the same bowl. Not for us botox, or bee venom facelifts – in these pages the latter is the aim of someone sitting in their back garden waiting for a natural, free delivery. No, for us hot yoga doesn't involve first crawling into the Aga, and a lightweight happiness isn't to be found at the end of an Internet search accompanied by too much cake, for we're above all that boll----.
Yes, these cartoons have very easy targets, but that doesn't mean they're not clever. The artistic line is very loose, free and easy, befitting their creation overnight for the daily newspaper that first published them. At their simplest, Pugh deflects the point of his comment on to an animal – the dog given exercise via Wii Fit and not walkies, the indignant snail given a parking fine sticker. The richer style will show a more unusual and unexpected result of this kind of faddish lifestyle being prominent, so a hamster of all things worries about his fitness levels when reading exercise is good for the libido; a mouse avoids the cheese in the trap not for the obvious reasons, but out of concern for the salt it contains; and of course the cover has people waiting for the cue to start their companionable exercise – sprinting to their spirit counter.
In keeping with this kind of book being only bought around Christmas, it's been lumbered with the New Year tag. But if we have 'Dry January', or whatever it's supposed to be, this cover image is the crack of February. But women still suffer the ironing in the summer, and tech luddites still check their old-fashioned dial phones copious times each day. So I wouldn't particularly call this a seasonal volume – certainly with its high hit rate it has a bearing on all the calendar. I long ago resolved never to have a New Year's resolution, but I can see people promising myself they'll buy this for their friends.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Stuff Brits Like by Fraser McAlpine is still high up on our list of gift books that make us laugh at (and think about) stereotypes year round.
You can read more book reviews or buy Pugh's New Year's Resolutions by Jonathan Pugh at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.