Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks: The Essential Alan Coren, ed Giles and Victoria Coren
Sunday 21 June 2009
The cuckoo clock was invented solely to give tourists something solid to remember Switzerland by, wrote Alan Coren, since the country's national products of snow and chocolate both melt. Here, readers have something solid to remember Alan Coren by in this engaging collection thoughtfully edited by his children – in fact, it is possible to see those thought processes, as the introduction comprises a dialogue of decision-making between the siblings about the contents of the compilation. Sections are affectionately introduced by Melvyn Bragg, Victoria Wood, Clive James, AA Gill and Stephen Fry. But it is Coren's voice that shines through most forcefully.
It was an inspirational teacher who encouraged this son of a hairdresser and a plumber to join the local library, paving the way to Oxford, the authorship of more than 20 books, the editorship of Punch, and his prolific career in comic writing, captured here.
It isn't only snow and chocolate that melt away, but lives, too. The warmth and wit of these pieces stand the test of time.
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food