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Guy Browning: Never Push When It Says Pull

This is the follow-up to the previously reviewed Never Hit a Jellyfish with a Spade, and follows the same format as its predecessor: It is a collection of Browning’s How to… columns from the Grauny’s Weekend magazine. Hence, if you don’t like the columns, you won’t like this book. And there’s also a fairly high chance that you’re not human.

Never push… is one of the few books I’ve read in a long time that’s genuinely laugh-out-loud funny which, whilst good for me, is perhaps not such a good thing if you happen to live with me – unless, of course, you like the sound of apparently inexplicable hysterical laughter at random moments, and public book readings from some seemingly crazed idiot. This is why it’s so crucial that you buy this book now, before anyone else you know gets their sitcky mitts on a copy – it loses all humour when read aloud by someone who can’t stifle their continuous giggling.

It is a truly excellent book, absolutely first class standard, thanks to Browning’s wonderful sense of wit. It also happens to be perfect for reading now and again in odd moments, because each ‘How to…’ is only 500 words or so long, and so only takes a couple of minutes to enjoy. Though stemming the laughter can take longer. But, in terms of reviewing the book, it’s difficult to know whether you‘ll like it, because I don’t know you and your sense of humour. Having said that, the vast majority of people I’ve inflicted my copy on have loved it. But, as a service to you, dear reader, here’s an extract so you can decide for yourself whether it’s your kind of thang…

How to… use a lift

Calling a lift is easy. Simply press the button and wait. And then press the button again. Many lifts work on the pressure you exert on the call button, so hitting it a hundred times will make it arrive a lot faster. Before you get into the lift, it’s as well to check whether it’s going up or down. There’s nothing more embarrassing than saying confidently to a packed lift ‘Ground floor please’ and then feeling the lift rocketing upwards.

Getting into a crowded lift is like entering a mini party. Everyone’s already settled in there and when the doors open they all look at you as if to say, ‘You’re not coming in here.’ Just take a big breath, step in and then say something to break the ice such as, ‘You’re probably wondering why I called you all here.’ This difficult entry moment explains why even when the lift is the size of your living room and there’s only one small lady in it, the tendency is to wait for the next one. If the same lady is in the next one, it could be her job to operate the lift, so just get in and stop being so silly.

In a crowded lift it’s very bad manners ever to face anybody head on. You should always try and be at least 90 degrees to your neighbours so that an aerial view would look as if you were all finding your way around a particularly tight maze. Never talk to someone in a lift unless you know which button they’ve pressed and you can tailor your conversation to the exact second. Restrict yourself to saying ‘Morning’. In a lift it’s acceptable to say this at any time of night or day, because you’re in your own little world without daylight. The other word everyone wants to say in a lift, especially when the little bell pings, is ‘lingerie’. Don’t say this unless you’re with people you know and love or you’re absolutely positive the other person is getting out.

You’re allowed to look at a stranger in a lift a maximum of once, then you must look elsewhere for the duration of your trip. That’s why it’s a relief when everyone gets out and leaves you alone in the lift. You’re then free to pull faces in the mirror, say ‘lingerie’ loudly and pass wind extravagantly. Often at this moment you’ll discover that the little lady is still in the lift with you.

Being in a lift means invading someone else’s body space. This can be quite exciting when two people are attracted to each other. Passions often ignite in lifts and are sometimes even consummated. This can be awkward for the other passengers, even at 90 degrees.

I’d highly recommend the little handy-sized number that is Never Push…, because I enjoyed it loads. Thanks, Guy!

Update: Minor formatting corrections

This post was filed under: Book Club.

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Comments and responses

Comment from si

    15.05, 13/01/2006

i love this book – it relly makes me laugh, as much as the first one. i’m enjoying reading it, and cant wait for a sequel…hint, hint…

Comment from si (again)

    15.07, 13/01/2006

i dont acyually have a website – the n/a was for non-applicable

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    19.50, 13/01/2006

No problem, I’ve fixed the website confusion for you!

I’m fairly sure there will be a sequel – after all, he’s still writing the columns, and since the collections have been best-sellers, it would seem silly not to publish more!

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