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Book review: The 100 Most Pointless Things in the World by Alexander Armstrong & Richard Osman

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It’s probably pointless to point out... but the whole point of this pointedly pointless new book is that it’s pointless!

Christmas is coming and it’s time to start having fun, courtesy of mine hosts extraordinaire Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman, fresh from their hot seats on the hugely popular BBC 1 series Pointless.

The two funny men have downed their question sheets and put their heads together to bring us an eclectic collection of 100 irritating, infuriating, bizarre and magnificently pointless things that have been sent to try us all.

And it seems the world is full of pointlessness whether that’s rail replacement bus services, chip forks, war, wind chimes, people who put cushions on beds or people who read the bit they write about a book on Amazon.

Just what is the purpose, they ask, of toaster settings, December 27-30, being fourteen, poems that don’t rhyme, wearable blankets, disposable razor research and Baby on Board stickers.

And who hasn’t felt exasperated by the sheer pointlessness of customer feedback, the stupidity of ‘Keep Calm’ spin-offs and the futility of ‘double checking’?

As for the one penny coin, its utter, remorseless lack of usefulness gets a pasting from the dynamic duo’s own special brand of sardonic wit and wisdom. It turns out these annoying little coins are only legal tender up to 20p. ‘If you pay for something with twenty-one 1p pieces, you are contravening the Coinage Act 1971.’

We’ve all seen those ‘things hanging from rear-view mirrors’ and paused to wonder at the point of wiggly-hipped Elvises, mini boxing-gloves, furry dice, skulls and ‘red plastic things that look like chilli peppers.’

And that universal pet hate – over-complicated hotel showers – also gets the Pointless treatment. ‘I was in a hotel recently and the shower had four different dials. Four? A Challenger tank only has three!’

Armstrong and Osman can’t fail to touch our funny nerve with their irreverent and laugh-out-loud take on the pointlessness of modern life with all its excessive and over-baked triviality. And if you want to join in the entertainment, they have included a series of typically Pointless home quiz questions with the answers usefully provided at the back of the book.

The 100 Most Pointless Things in the World is the perfect Christmas gift book, ideal for loo reading, filling in aimless hours or to keep boredom at bay when pointless guests descend.

(Coronet, hardback, £14.99)

 

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